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View Diary: Supreme Court could rule as early as Monday on Montana-related review of Citizens United (98 comments)

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  •  I think you are saying that it is reasonable to (0+ / 0-)

    assume that, if I pay $100,000 to run an ad saying "vote for  Joe Smith," that Joe Smith has consented to that and has promised me that, in exchange for my running that ad, he will vote a specific way on a specific bill -- an act that would clearly be criminal.  

    The SCOTUS wasn't willing to make that assumption that my spending $100,000 to run an ads supporting you necessarily meant you had committed a crime.

    •  Stupid activist SCOTUS wants to legislate (0+ / 0-)

      Why should they rule that x or y is a crime?
      Congress writes the laws not SCOTUS. Congress needs to be able to write laws regulating money in politics. Money has a corrupting, distorting influence on elections and public officials, to nobody's surprise.
      The individual has no free speech right to yell fire in a threater and no corporation has the right to contaminate the elections with unlimited, untracable money.

      These mentally deficient GOP justices should be removed.

    •  But that assumption is only part of the story (0+ / 0-)

      It's obviously true that organizations like the Campaign for Primary Accountability (attempting to defeat incumbents) are not trying for a quid pro quo.  It's far less clear that the Club For Growth has clean hands.

      And there's still a chicken-and-egg problem.  Emily's List stopped supporting pro-choice Republicans because they were ineffective within the party.  So is the Republican stance against abortion a cause or an effect of the fact that that's where the money is for them?

      -7.75 -4.67

      "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose."

      There are no Christians in foxholes.

      by Odysseus on Thu Jun 14, 2012 at 07:01:41 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I understand what you are saying (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Odysseus

        and I can see the argument that you think it looks bad sometimes.  And certainly, I think, the SCOTUS acknowledged that sometimes people think it looks bad.  

        I think their approach was that restricting speech -- especially some kind of prior restraint of POLITICAL speech, the most protected kind of speech, is a very serious thing.  And Congress can't do that without real evidence of actual lawbreaking.  If there's any standard of what that needs to be,  I think they are suggesting something like the evidence a prosecutor might use to bring a corruption case.  The felt that the fact that money can be part of corruption -- criminality -- was not a basis for assuming that, whenever money is spent, that necessarily means a crime might be committed.  

        In other words, I would think you can limit "speech" if it's part of a crime.   You cannot limit speech if you don't have actual evidence of a crime.  And you cannot limit speech because it is possible for it to be used as part of a crime.   And the part about independent expenditures not equaling corruption was saying that the fact that I run an ad supporting you is not evidence that you committed a crime.  

        •  I don't just think it looks bad. (0+ / 0-)

          I think it absolutely is bad.  But proving it, as you say, is a whole different story.  All of the elements of a crime of method, motive, and opportunity are present.  But taking that final step and proving that all three are present simultaneously is a high bar.

          I would prefer to drain that swamp.

          -7.75 -4.67

          "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose."

          There are no Christians in foxholes.

          by Odysseus on Thu Jun 14, 2012 at 07:40:31 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  I get what you are saying about criminality (0+ / 0-)

      but if physical talking-type speech can get restricted - time, place, manner, for all sorts of reasons why can't money-as-speech be restricted for reasons other than criminality or a crime actually having to be committed? For example, don't we as citizens or a country have an interest in ensuring that all of us have more or less equal/fair access to our politicians in the money/speech way and therefore that interest might say it's ok to restrict money/speech to X amount of dollars per donor or per candidate. Or, why cna't we recognise that human nature being what it is, and the nature of these crimes being so difficult to prove, it's in teh public interest that there be some restriction on money-speech? The current legislation has led to ridiculous things like superpacs using the candidate in ads but still passing the independence and non-coordination tests. There's something wrong with that.

      •  Because the first amendment. (0+ / 0-)
        if physical talking-type speech can get restricted - time, place, manner, for all sorts of reasons why can't money-as-speech be restricted for reasons other than criminality or a crime actually having to be committed?
        Because the first amendment guarantees free speech.

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