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It's anticipated that the Supreme Court of the United States will be handing down its long-awaited opinion in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission tomorrow morning.  

Because of the imminence of this decision, I wanted to take a moment today to link back to my two earlier stories on the case, to refresh your memories and so I can minimize the time on background tomorrow. (Also, to answer any questions you may have.)

A. So what's the case really about?

Meet Citizens United.  It's a Virginia-based conservative group -- legally, organized as a nonprofit corporation -- that in 2007 and 2008 wanted to tell Americans one simple message: Hillary Clinton is a bad person.  And so, much like Michael Moore but in reverse, they produced a 90-minute documentary titled "Hillary: The Movie," which informs the public of various commentators' views that:

"She’s driven by the power. She’s driven to get the power. That is the driving force in her life."

   "If she reverts to form, Hillary Clinton will likely be in the future what she has been in the past, which is a person, a woman, a politician of the left, and I don't think that's going to [be] good for the security of the United States."

   "I think we are at a very critical time in this country. I can tell you beyond a shadow of a doubt that uh, the Hillary Clinton that I know is not equipped, not qualified to be our commander in chief."

Indeed, the documentary features people saying every vile thing you'd expect about Hillary Clinton except one: no one explicitly says don't vote for her.

Citizen's United managed to get the film into a few theaters, is now selling it on DVD and via on-demand.  It wanted to advertise all this last January ... at which point, the Federal Election Commission said whoa.  Because you may recall there was a series of primary elections going on at the time, and a provision of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (BCRA, a/k/a "McCain-Feingold") forbids corporations and labor unions from using general treasury funds to finance communications that even mention a candidate for President or Congress within 30 days of a primary or 60 days of the general election.  And even as to communications outside such time windows, there are disclaimer and disclosure requirements.

B.  How did oral argument go?  Badly, from the FEC's perspective, both times.  The first time, Malcolm Stewart advanced a disturbing position for the FEC:

JUSTICE ALITO: You think that if -- if a book was published, a campaign biography that was the functional equivalent of express advocacy, that could be banned?

   MR. STEWART: I'm not saying it could be banned. I'm saying that Congress could prohibit the use of corporate treasury funds and could require a corporation to publish it using its PAC.

   JUSTICE ALITO: Well, most publishers are corporations. And a -- a publisher that is a corporation could be prohibited from selling a book?

   MR. STEWART: Well, of course, the statute contains its own media exemption or media --

   JUSTICE ALITO: I'm not asking what the statute says. The government's position is that the First Amendment allows the banning of a book if it's published by a corporation?

   MR. STEWART: Because the First Amendment refers both to freedom of speech and of the press, there would be a potential argument that media corporations, the institutional press, would have a greater First Amendment right. That question is obviously not presented here. The -- the other two things --

   JUSTICE KENNEDY: Well, suppose it were an advocacy organization that had a book. Your position is that under the Constitution, the advertising for this book or the sale for the book itself could be prohibited within the 60/90-day period -- the 60/30-day period?

   MR. STEWART: If the book contained the functional equivalent of express advocacy. That is, if it was subject to no reasonable interpretation --

   JUSTICE KENNEDY: And I suppose it could even -- is it the Kindle where you can read a book? I take it that's from a satellite. So the existing statute would probably prohibit that under your view?

   MR. STEWART: Well, the statute applies to cable, satellite, and broadcast communications. And the Court in McConnell has addressed the --

   JUSTICE KENNEDY: Just to make it clear, it's the government's position that under the statute, if this Kindle device where you can read a book which is campaign advocacy, within the 60/30-day period, if it comes from a satellite, it's under -- it can be prohibited under the Constitution and perhaps under this statute?

   MR. STEWART: It -- it can't be prohibited, but a corporation could be barred from using its general treasury funds to publish the book and could be required to use -- to raise funds to publish the book using its PAC.

   CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS: If it has one name, one use of the candidate's name, it would be covered, correct?

   MR. STEWART: That's correct.

   CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS: If it's a 500-page book, and at the end it says, and so vote for X, the government could ban that?

   MR. STEWART: Well, if it says vote for X, it would be express advocacy and it would be covered by the pre-existing Federal Election Campaign Act provisions.

The second time upon reargument in September:

That lineup has always put the focus, as the Court volunteered to take on new constitutional questions in the Citizens United case, on the Chief Justice and Justice Alito.  While both have been skeptical in the past about campaign finance laws, supporters of such laws had fashioned an array of arguments they hoped would lead Roberts and Alito to shy away from casting their votes to create a majority to free corporations to spend their own treasury money to influence federal elections.  None of those arguments seemed to appeal to either Roberts or Alito....

Stevens and Ginsburg continually pressed for a narrow ruling, perhaps allowing Citizens United free rein to distribute the "Hillary" movie and relaxing curbs on other non-profit corporations.  Stevens openly touted a brief filed by the National Rifle Association, which proposed — as an alternative to overruling the two precedents — that corportions that get their funding entirely from individual donors be exempted from the spending curbs.  Ginsburg used many of her questions and comments to argue strenuously for treating corporations differently from individuals in political expression.  She remarked: "A corporation, after all, is not endowed by its creator with inalienable rights."

Justice Breyer commented several times how important it was for the Court to defer to Congress’s judgment about what is necessary to insulate federal politics from wrongful influences.  What, he asked rhetorically, should the Court do about the reality that "people think that their Representatives are being bought"? Wasn’t that a sufficient interest to justify the restrictions, he wondered.  Breyer also questioned whether a ruling all.owing corporate political spending would give businesses more influence in politics than political parties have, because of limits on their campaign financing.

Though Justice Sotomayor had a question which will intrigue many here:

   Going back to the question of stare decisis, the one thing that is very interesting about this area of law for the last 100 years is the active involvement of both State and Federal legislatures in trying to find that balance between the interest of protecting in their views how the electoral process should proceed and the interests of the First Amendment.

   And so my question to you is, once we say they can't, except on the basis of a compelling government interest narrowly tailored, are we cutting off or would we be cutting off that future democratic process? Because what you are suggesting is that the courts who created corporations as persons, gave birth to corporations as persons, and there could be an argument made that that was the Court's error to start with, not Austin or McConnell, but the fact that the Court imbued a creature of State law with human characteristics.

C. So what's the Court likely to do?  Say something like what Justice Scalia said in dissent (with Justice Kennedy in the Austin case twenty years ago:

Perhaps the Michigan law before us here has an unqualifiedly noble objective - to "equalize" the political debate by preventing disproportionate expression of corporations' points of view. But governmental abridgment of liberty is always undertaken with the very best of announced objectives (dictators promise to bring order, not tyranny), and often with the very best of genuinely intended objectives (zealous policemen conduct unlawful searches in order to put dangerous felons behind bars). The premise of our Bill of Rights, however, is that there are some things - even some seemingly desirable things - that government cannot be trusted to do. The very first of these is establishing the restrictions upon speech that will assure "fair" political debate. The incumbent politician who says he welcomes full and fair debate is no more to be believed than the entrenched monopolist who says he welcomes full and fair competition. Perhaps the Michigan Legislature was genuinely trying to assure a "balanced" presentation of political views; on the other hand, perhaps it was trying to give unincorporated unions (a not insubstantial force in Michigan) political advantage over major employers. Or perhaps it was trying to assure a "balanced" presentation because it knows that with evenly balanced speech incumbent officeholders generally win. The fundamental approach of the First Amendment, I had always thought, was to assume the worst, and to rule the regulation of political speech "for fairness' sake" simply out of bounds.

I doubt that those who framed and adopted the First Amendment would agree that avoiding the New Corruption, that is, calibrating political speech to the degree of public opinion that supports it, is even a desirable objective, much less one that is important enough to qualify as a compelling state interest. Those Founders designed, of course, a system in which popular ideas would ultimately prevail; but also, through the First Amendment, a system in which true ideas could readily become popular. For the latter purpose, the calibration that the Court today endorses is precisely backwards: To the extent a valid proposition has scant public support, it should have wider rather than narrower public circulation. I am confident, in other words, that Jefferson and Madison would not have sat at these controls; but if they did, they would have turned them in the opposite direction.

D.  But corporations aren't people!  

Sure, but the First Amendment's freedom of speech clause isn't limited to people, though the assembly and petition clauses are.  (Other amendments are limited to "citizens," for what it's worth.)  One need not recognize corporations as "people" to respect their speech as "speech" which the First Amendment forbids Congress from interdicting without a compelling state interest.    

The AFL-CIO is a corporation. So's the ACLU. Both support Citizens United in this litigation.

E. And is this the end of the world?

Not necessarily, but there will be a real potential for corporate-funded advocacy to distort the current market for political speech.  And we'll talk about that as well as ways to balance against it.

What's not at issue, by the way, are direct corporate financial contributions to candidates for public office -- currently illegal under federal law, but legal in a good number of states.  That's another potential battle years down the road.

Questions?

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 10:50 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Recs, recs, recs? (157+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Colorado Luis, JekyllnHyde, Aexia, SteveLCo, sny, taylormattd, teacherken, Rimjob, KingOneEye, Coldblue Steele, Aspe4, Duncan Idaho, SallyCat, Newsie8200, bumblebums, concernedamerican, missLotus, conchita, understandinglife, Time Waits for no Woman, fumie, bustacap, high uintas, hhex65, grannyhelen, potatohead, GN1927, lizah, lcrp, side pocket, CanYouBeAngryAndStillDream, jcrit, Pozzo, boran2, Josiah Bartlett, howardpark, dakrle, jim bow, Dave Brown, Brecht, joanneleon, bloomer 101, sandblaster, 3goldens, Treg, jrooth, wmc418, Lying eyes, panicbean, citizenx, terrypinder, Dobber, reflectionsv37, bleeding blue, indiemcemopants, LABobsterofAnaheim, Ice Blue, AnotherMassachusettsLiberal, Jay Elias, pacotrey, leftynyc, Rogneid, JanF, Land of Enchantment, maryru, martini, elliott, pico, Sanuk, Keone Michaels, Pinko Elephant, edwardssl, dougymi, raincrow, gooderservice, sceptical observer, thenekkidtruth, crystal eyes, blueintheface, markthshark, Red Sox, dotsright, Femlaw, leema, ColoTim, DAO, gloriana, LillithMc, Jimdotz, DWG, Seneca Doane, millwood, Jack the R, M Sullivan, Spedwybabs, Terra Mystica, Empower Ink, MKinTN, mconvente, dyrrachium, Phil N DeBlanc, zerone, OleHippieChick, brooklynbadboy, Fe Bongolan, lineatus, Populista, sierrak9s, Jacques, joy sinha, dmhlt 66, GrouchoKossak, 1BQ, cybrestrike, smellybeast, archer070, dark daze, h bridges, velvet blasphemy, CamillesDad1, LibrErica, Daily Activist, zbbrox, soms, hyper, IreGyre, CityLightsLover, DaNang65, porchdog1961, Words In Action, littlezen, Alec82, marabout40, blueyescryinintherain, stunzeed, LeanneB, Crabby Abbey, RJP9999, polar bear, halef, Sean Parnell, Actbriniel, ozsea1, scarysota63, princesspat, Lorikeet, Wide Awake in KY, GrandmaMJ, dmw97, ViralDem, MinistryOfTruth, Archie2227, blue aardvark, RockyLabor, glower, Azazello, Siri

    Feel lost enough yet?  Hope is in sight:

    Show Dems in R-Leaning Districts Who Voted For Health Care, Against Stupak: We've Got Your Back

    by Adam B on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 09:24:17 AM PST

    •  As if the Corporate stranglehold wasn't tight now (27+ / 0-)

      it's about to get tighter.

      Thanks for the great analysis, Adam.

      Discouraging, but we can still hope for the best and fight for it

      "Politics isn't about big money or power games; it's about the improvement of people's lives" ~ The Late Sen. Paul Wellstone

      by MinistryOfTruth on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 09:47:07 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes (9+ / 0-)

        "a real potential for corporate-funded advocacy to distort the current market for political speech." As if they don't distort the political process enough already! Kind of hard to figure out what more distortion could occur.

        -8.75, -8.21 - on the far left of the spectrum...

        by pacotrey on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 09:51:17 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Tom Toles of the Washington Post (16+ / 0-)

          ... got it right about this landmark case.


          Tom Toles, Washington Post

          Remembering George Michael, Dec. 25th - A riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma

          by JekyllnHyde on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 10:31:34 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  think basically unlimited (7+ / 0-)

          think unimited resource basically.  Why would a politician worry about us, and ur measily pennies when he/she can just whore themselves to a corp or two and have themselves financed for lives.

          Think, Senator XXX sponsored by Monsato and Exxon mobil.

          (regarding the bank mess) They want to cure the patient but not deal with the disease.

          by dark daze on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 10:40:04 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Exactly (0+ / 0-)

            It has caused the destruction of our county, and attitude that politicians don't need us, they only need wealthy donors and corporations. The state limit is $10,000!

            Stop Rob "The Job Outsourcer" Portman. Jennifer Brunner for Senate http://www.jenniferbrunner.com/

            by anastasia p on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 01:13:29 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  umm... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            devtrash

            they still need your vote. Don't like what they're doing, don't vote for them. If enough people don't like what they're doing, they don't get re-elected. And if enough people do like them - well, that's how our system of government works, people you don't agree with get to make their case and try to persuade voters too. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose.

            Sean Parnell
            President
            Center for Competitive Politics
            http://twitter.com/...

            Congress shall make no law...

            by Sean Parnell on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 01:37:00 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  That whole "voting" thing (0+ / 0-)

              works a lot better when people have accurate information.

            •  Some of us are "more equal" than others (0+ / 0-)

              In real estate it's location.
              In politics it's money.
              That's why campaign spending limits are in effect - to prevent the rich from buying their way into power.
              If a small minority of people can use the mechanism of a business structure to get around those limits and gain power and influence disproportionate to their numbers, our "system of government" no longer works the way you describe.
              You run with $10 and I'll run with $10 Million.
              Who has a better opportunity to "make their case"?

              •  You, obviously (0+ / 0-)

                But if I can only raise $10 and you can raise $10 million, what does that say about our ability to persuade people to support our campaigns?

                If that's the relative spending difference, it probably means I'm some wacked-out reprobate suggesting that we colonize Mars with surplus Oompa Loompas and pay for it with a tax on rude comments, to be collected by the tooth fairy.

                What you utterly fail to grasp is that there is more than enough money for candidates who aren't crazy or just a terrible fit for the office they're running for, and who can plausibly explain to the voters why they should be elected. Unfortunately limits on contributions prevent many of these campaigns from getting off the ground, because they don't have the connections to raise lots of small contributions.

                Consider Gene McCarthy - he was able to knock Johnson out of the race in '68 largely because a handful of very wealthy liberals gave him a lot of money, 6-figure checks, in order to build his campaign. Can't happen nowadays, though.

                Oh, just because someone has a greater capacity to exercise a right doesn't mean they have more of a right than you. Otherwise the New York Times would have more First Amendment rights than (and under the theories offered here, would be infringing on the rights of) the News Guard of my hometown in Oregon.

                The First Amendment doesn't exist to ensure that everyone speaks equally. It's to ensure that the government doesn't interfere with anyone's right to speak or not speak as they please. An important distinction.

                Sean Parnell
                President
                Center for Competitive Politics
                http://twitter.com/...

                Congress shall make no law...

                by Sean Parnell on Wed Jan 13, 2010 at 06:12:29 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

          •  Corporate Shell Allows People to Grab Power (0+ / 0-)

            By this, I mean that the true wrong being done is to give certain people more rights, more ability to use their money to "speak" than others.

            If you run or own a controlling interest in a corporation, you get two bites (or two million bites) more at the political apple than I do.

            (Anyone here been spending $1 Million a day to support health care reform.  Why not?)

            It is this aspect of treating corporations as a seperate "person" that directly conflicts with our form of government.  You can escape the restrictions on humans by bundling and funneling your efforts at political influence through your corporation.  

            As an individual human, I cannot.  

            Of all the shares issued by publically traded corporations, are the vast bulk owned by more than 5% of the American public?  

            I've seen assertions that it's less than 5%.

            So those folk get to use an artifical entity, a huge and powerful sockpuppet, to make sure their interests are given higher priority than ours (the remaining 95%.) Look anywhere on the policital horizon of today and tell me that's not exactly what you see.

            I don't care if that artificial entity is a monarchy, a papacy, a politburo or a system that gives any business structure the rights of a "person" - it is the people behind all of those that gain disproportionate power.

            If the SCOTUS strikes down this law because it believes it violates the US Constitution, the US Constitution will need to be changed, that is if we want to keep the Constitution as more than a quaint relic to remind us that for one brief shining moment a seed of freedom and democracy once bloomed hereabouts.

      •  How about a constitutional amendment? (5+ / 0-)

        How about an amendment specifically declaring that corporations are not covered by the first amendment protections afforded to individuals?

        Seems like that might be a good campaign to organize around state-by-state...

        Thanks for bird-dogging this Adam!

        There is no planet B

        by Minerva on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 09:51:27 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  What we need is a Constitutional Amendment... (15+ / 0-)

        ...that states explicitly that corporations are NOT persons. The legal shenanigans that resulted in that view were never really legit, but they are now entrenched. The law needs to make it clear that speech is a right granted to people.

        Corporations have completely different interests than people. Their charters state that their interests are to increase shareholder value. That mission can be completely contrary to the interests of actual persons. For instance, a corporation's interest might be served by electing a representative who advocates policies that the community opposes. Or worse, a corporation's interest may be to save production costs by making a product that is demonstrably harmful.

        Some Supreme Court decisions argue that money is speech. But money/speech is also votes. And corporations should not have votes.


          • Beck, Hannity, O'Reilly FREAK SHOW Stickers •••

        by KingOneEye on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 10:01:59 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  The primary interest of many, many people (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Sean Parnell

          is increasing their own value.  So I'm not sure I see the ends of corps v. their human owners as terribly different.

          Mom, the mall is a way for the corporate fatcats to imprison you into a life of servitude. I've got some stuff you should read.

          by burrow owl on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 10:05:58 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Corporations can be multi-national (6+ / 0-)

          also.   Do we really want China influencing our electoral process, for example?    We only allow legal U.S. citizens the right to vote after age 18.  I see this as a huge national security issue as well as a corruption of our democratic electoral process.

          •  People can also be multi-national. (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Adam B, silence, DAO, Sean Parnell

            Should we ban speech by non-citizens?

            Mom, the mall is a way for the corporate fatcats to imprison you into a life of servitude. I've got some stuff you should read.

            by burrow owl on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 10:29:07 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Depends on your definition of (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              kevin k

              "Speech".   We don't allow non-citizens the right to vote.  Your question is a good one though.  Where do we draw the line?   I tend to prefer Justice Sotomayor's quote in the diary.

              Because what you are suggesting is that the courts who created corporations as persons, gave birth to corporations as persons, and there could be an argument made that that was the Court's error to start with, not Austin or McConnell, but the fact that the Court imbued a creature of State law with human characteristics.

              How do we want to define corporate personhood?

            •  Dammit burrow owl... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              PsychoSavannah

              We had this discussion on my own diary about this only a day or two ago.

              This is not about banning "someone's" right to free speech. In the eyes of these SC justices corporations may be "individuals" but you and I and all of us understand that is a false assumption.

              This is about not having a political process become even more of a corporate subsidized shell game.

              You're arguing against your own interests here as well as out collective interest as a nation.

              Again, the framing of the debate as if it's about banning "someone's" right to free speech is erroneous and you damn well know it.

              "Vale again. Be well, and hopes that it stops raining in history." -Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos, EZLN

              by Comradio on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 11:18:39 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  "Dammit" s/b "damn it." (0+ / 0-)

                Mom, the mall is a way for the corporate fatcats to imprison you into a life of servitude. I've got some stuff you should read.

                by burrow owl on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 11:23:32 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Oh, so appreciated... (0+ / 0-)
                  I mean, using the internet on a cell phone is enjoyable enough as it is, but having you to spell check my apple's predictive text just makes it that much more wonderful.

                  Thanks for the wonderful rebuttal!

                  "Vale again. Be well, and hopes that it stops raining in history." -Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos, EZLN

                  by Comradio on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 11:36:42 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

              •  I thought this was about the Constitution. NT (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Sean Parnell, Actbriniel

                Show Dems in R-Leaning Districts Who Voted For Health Care, Against Stupak: We've Got Your Back

                by Adam B on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 11:24:36 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  I would argue... (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  DAO

                  This is more about whether an individual's right to campaigning free speech extends to conglomerated interests.

                  Whether the "original intent" would have approved of our election processes being commandeered by interests with narrow goals over the interests of the people.

                  "Vale again. Be well, and hopes that it stops raining in history." -Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos, EZLN

                  by Comradio on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 11:40:12 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  who defines the sides? (0+ / 0-)

                    In law, who defines which side is "interests with narrow goals" and which side is the "interests of the people," or however you break them out?

                    Because I know a number of people who will tell you that unions and environmentalists represent "narrow interests" while their own free-market perspective represents the common good.

                    Fortunately the first amendment doesn't allow government to pick and chose who gets to speak based on whomever they determine is and is not acting "in the public interest."

                    Sean Parnell
                    President
                    Center for Competitive Politics
                    http://twitter.com/...

                    Congress shall make no law...

                    by Sean Parnell on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 01:48:51 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

          •  Corporations are not citizens (4+ / 0-)

            And especially, they are not US citizens.

            Citicorp is largely controlled by the Saudi Royal family -- via ownership shares. Citicorp's CEO is from India. Do we want companies like this to be able to spend untold bucks that eventually control policy?

            Do we want the defense companies controlling politicians more than they do now?

            Do we want companies that moved their HQ's off shore to avoid taxes to have unlimited right to influence out political dialog? Halliburton is an example, their HQ is in Dubai.

            Do we want Rupert Murdoch to be able to contribute to political campaigns?

            Sotomayor asked the right question. And for me, the answer is, corporations are not citizens, and they are not people.

            We do not allow foreign people to contribute to electoral campaigns. Why would we let foreign companies?

            And all companies are foreign, there is no way to prevent any company from being owned by an entity that buys up its shares.

            This is a huge problem, folks.

        •  Not All corporations are the same.... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ScottDog

          I started a business in my garage 21 years ago. Sometime around my fifth year I was advised by my accountant that I should incorporate for liability and tax purposes. I have never had more than 25 employees. I have no shareholders and am the sole owner of my corporation.

          Shouldn't I have the right to spend my corporations money as I see fit? What about my rights?

          Not all corporations are big bad public entities, millions of them are just like me.

          •  No, you shoudn't. (0+ / 0-)

            Your corporation is a synthetic entity that has only those privileges explicitly granted to it by law.

            You are a natural born human with natural and inherent rights.

            Just because you are the sole owner of the corporation does not eliminate the difference.

            8/29 changed everything Your political compass Economic Left/Right: -6.13 Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -8.10

            by wsexson on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 09:13:24 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  money is not votes (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ScottDog

          It's simply a key ingredient to enable speech.

          Our system of government really doesn't permit the blocking of anyone's speech because it might be contrary to the "public interest." If that weren't the case, exactly how long do you think union political speech would last under a Republican administration?

          The truth is, corporations do represent people and their interests - shareholders, workers, members, etc (unions are corporations as well, so are advocacy groups like the NRA and Sierra Club). The fact that you don't like the perspective of one set of people - profit maximization - and think it could lead to bad outcomes for the public is irrelevant to whether the first amendment protects their speech.

          Sean Parnell
          President
          Center for Competitive Politics
          http://twitter.com/...

          Congress shall make no law...

          by Sean Parnell on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 01:42:07 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Well, it already happened here (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        PsychoSavannah

        Massive corporate donations funded a Republican coup of our country government, which had 10 times the money of the opponents, funded by $30,000 and $40,000 and $50,000 donations from people like Key Bank and the Eaton Corp. They were successful in falsely persuading voters that our county government was hopelessly corrupt (laughable) and that a 200-year-old form of county government that works well most places had to be destroyed and replaced by something untried with no campaign finance restrictions, no mechanisms for accountability and no checks on an ultra-powerful county "boss." Now they — and our odious daily paper, the Cleveland Plainly Republican (Plain Dealer), which was in cahoots with them — are gloating about how local Democratic party and labor leaders "lost" their followers because voters overwhelming passed this horrendous measure — which hardly anyone understood but they were propagandized by an enormous tidal wave of money which couldn't be overcome by the $25 and $50 and $100 donations of regular people like me.

        Stop Rob "The Job Outsourcer" Portman. Jennifer Brunner for Senate http://www.jenniferbrunner.com/

        by anastasia p on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 01:12:40 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Corporations already have no problem (13+ / 0-)

      getting out their message via c4s, 527s, PACs, etc. I'm sure that campaign finance lawyers eagerly await billing clients for more campaign finance briefings.

      Why isn't this front paged?

    •  You could see this (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      pacotrey, ozsea1

      this coming the moment oral argument concluded.

      The bitter truth of deep inequality has been disguised by an era of cheap imported goods and the anyone-can-make-it celebrity myth - Polly Toynbee

      by fladem on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 09:59:58 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I Listened to the Oral Arguments in This Case - (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ozsea1

      JUSTICE (suck on it, Uncle Pat!) Sotomayor made a hell of an impression for her first case! And, yes, I too believe that over a century of precedent in this area will be over - turned.

      Dems, get some guts, or we'll KICK YER BUTTS!

      by CityLightsLover on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 10:03:03 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  You mean 20-year precedent, don't you? (0+ / 0-)

        The precedent at stake here is 20 years old, Austin v. Michigan in '90. And if we're standing on precedents here, it's probably worth noting that Austin was a departure from earlier precedent, Buckley v. Valeo in '76.

        Sean Parnell
        President
        Center for Competitive Politics
        http://twitter.com/...

        Congress shall make no law...

        by Sean Parnell on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 01:53:15 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I think CLL is talking about (0+ / 0-)

          the "corporations as people" typo that happened a long time ago.

          •  I'm not sure about that (0+ / 0-)

            CLL refers to the SC overturning a 100 year old precedent, whereas most of the angst here seems to be that the SC will rule in line with the "corporations are people" ruling.

            Also, I've heard plenty of people refer to this case potentially overturning the 100-year old "precedent" regarding bans on corporate contributions, driven largely by the so-called campaign finance "reform" community's deliberate misrepresentations on this issue. So I'd guess CLL is just repeating this line.

            Fact is, this case has nothing to do with corporate contributions to candidates, and probably even less with "corporate personhood," which seems to have become a rallying point for some people because "speech control and suppression" just doesn't do well with the public.

            Sean Parnell
            President
            Center for Competitive Politics
            http://twitter.com/...

            Congress shall make no law...

            by Sean Parnell on Wed Jan 13, 2010 at 05:43:15 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  MANY MANY (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JDPITALIA, PsychoSavannah, ozsea1

      Many are missing the big picture here. If the SCOTUS gives this a go ahead for corps to say and spend as they want, what it means is we, the voter and our money and donations MEAN virtually nothing.

      THe whores in congress will whore themselves even further to the corps because that is where the UNLIMITED amount of money will be.

      (regarding the bank mess) They want to cure the patient but not deal with the disease.

      by dark daze on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 10:38:27 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  asdf (0+ / 0-)

      I was all set to recommend this diary with a "Good job" comment. Something I rarely get to do here. But you had to ruin it in the end with the post Milton Friedman, corporatist-speak "marketplace of ideas" bullshit.

      Here's a clue. Political speech is not a "product" in a "market". Buckley vs Veleo was an atrocity. And money is not speech.

      •  post-Milton Friedman? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Sean Parnell, ScottDog

        Oliver Wendell Holmes, dissenting with Lewis Brandeis in Abrams v US (1919):

        Persecution for the expression of opinions seems to me perfectly logical. If you have no doubt of your premises or your power and want a certain result with all your heart you naturally express your wishes in law and sweep away all opposition. To allow opposition by speech seems to indicate that you think the speech impotent, as when a man says that he has squared the circle, or that you do not care whole heartedly for the result, or that you doubt either your power or your premises. But when men have realized that time has upset many fighting faiths, they may come to believe even more than they believe the very foundations of their own conduct that the ultimate good desired is better reached by free trade in ideas-that the best test of truth is the power of the thought to get itself accepted in the competition of the market, and that truth is the only ground upon which their wishes safely can be carried out. That at any rate is the theory of our Constitution. It is an experiment, as all life is an experiment. Every year if not every day we have to wager our salvation upon some prophecy based upon imperfect knowledge. While that experiment is part of our system I think that we should be eternally vigilant against attempts to check the expression of opinions that we loathe and believe to be fraught with death, unless they so imminently threaten immediate interference with the lawful and pressing purposes of the law that an immediate check is required to save the country.

        Show Dems in R-Leaning Districts Who Voted For Health Care, Against Stupak: We've Got Your Back

        by Adam B on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 11:27:48 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Simple rule: Don't trust anybody (in the media) (17+ / 0-)

    without the track record.  Whether it be a corporation or a White House press reporter - propaganda is a scourge.  

    I wish I could say more than "it's on the consumer" but it is.  The media is too lazy to fix itself.

  •  The Real Campaign Finance We Need (23+ / 0-)

    If the court goes the way we think it will it will be awful.

    Wish they could pass a simple law that you can only participate in an election that you can actually cast a vote in, and that corporations are unable to cast a vote so they have no participation in the process.

  •  I'm getting ready to launch boycots against (6+ / 0-)

    corporations that use profits from sales to pay for their political agendas where they differ from mine.  I will probably have far fewer places where I'll shop and patronize, but I consider that preferable to supporting positions that oppose my values.  

  •  Sotomayor is pretty nifty (14+ / 0-)

    And the more I hear her talk, the more I think that she's a great choice.

    •  She's mentioned corporate personhood before. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      alkalinesky, ozsea1

      I think she wants to go after it, but will have to wait for the freaks to die off before she has a chance.

    •  But let's not learn from that (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Bush Bites, Actbriniel

      or from this case, that it matters to elect Democrats. No, let's "send Washington a message".

      Sigh.

      No one here is talking about how we got the Court we have, that is on the verge of voting the way it is.

      It wasn't because some of us voted for Nader, or stayed at home because Al Gore wasn't sufficiently "progressive" for our tastes. Not at all.

      And, "lack of enthusiasm" in 2010 will not make it harder for a non-conservative nominee to be approved by a less Democratic Senate, not at all.

      No, we need to ignore the SUpreme Court appointments for life, and "send Washington a message" by hoping Coakley is defeated in Massachusetts, because the ideal "wake up call" for Democrats is to cede Teddy's seat.

      I wonder why all the "Obama=Bush, I voted for Nader in 2000 and would do it again, we need to be more like the teabagger" folks never mention the Supreme Court....

      Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too? -- Douglas Adams

      by RandomActsOfReason on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 10:25:51 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Barring footage of all those conservative (8+ / 0-)

    asshole judges at an underage orgy coming to light, there's really nothing we can do to stop this.

    Depressing, isn't it.

    Obama has AHIP and Pharma, why should he give a shit about you?

    by The Dead Man on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 09:36:05 AM PST

  •  if this is the ruling (0+ / 0-)
    what a crazy outcome, may be Constitutionally correct, but going to lead to a lot of noise and disinformation and confused voters.
    •  Maybe, maybe not. (9+ / 0-)

      As I suggested, plenty of states allow direct cash contributions to candidates by corporations, and I don't believe they're more corrupt or less liberal than the rest.  It is in the speech market -- where you can't place limits on the spending -- where distortion is more likely.

      Show Dems in R-Leaning Districts Who Voted For Health Care, Against Stupak: We've Got Your Back

      by Adam B on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 09:40:52 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  True (0+ / 0-)

        And let's be honest - corporations have the most direct line to public media and therefore the public perception, with or without any laws.

      •  But could it not further polarization (0+ / 0-)

        and the growing of corporate money around all issues along partisan dividing, even unnecessarily.

        I understand cases where corporate money can HELP liberal and democratic causes, particularly in states with institutional advantages for our side.

        But doesnt this increase the reliance on corporate and private money to solve civic problems - when we should be weening our government off?

        I'd be happy to be talked down Adam.  ;)

        Great post.

        "If the misery of the poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin." - Charles Darwin

        by ViralDem on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 10:05:25 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  not worried about the cash contributions at all (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        PsychoSavannah

        quite frankly. So much money flows above and below the table that such a worry is pretty silly IMO.

        I'm more concern about the explicit speech portion, i.e. advertisements, flyers, books, mailers, etc.

    •  If it's Constitutionally correct, (0+ / 0-)

      but really screwed up in your opinion, (even if you're right), the only courses open to you are the processes in Article V.

      Amendment or Convention... those are your choices.

      The easiest one, and the most likely to get approved (not much of a chance, but better than the others) is an Amendment defining "persons" or "people" as "members of the species Homo Sapiens or some such.

      But Scalia's right, in that when desirable public policy conflicts with the Constitution, the Constitution must win.

      --Shannon

      PS: There's a strong, but not conclusive, argument to be made that Congress can actually do this by statute, under its Article I power to define the jurisdiction of the Federal Courts. But that would certainly be litigated, and I'm not sure that SCOTUS would agree that that's what the provision means.

      "It is better to die on your feet than to live on your knees." -- Emiliano Zapata Salazar
      "Dissent is patriotic. Blind obedience is treason." --me

      by Leftie Gunner on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 01:07:10 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Blame Justice Kennedy (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LillithMc

    Scalia, Roberts, Alito and Thomas are lost causes. I wonder if a Liberal group would have brought a similar case in front of the court - I wonder if they'd have a different opinion...

    Politics is like playing Asteroids - You go far enough to the left and you end up on the right. Or vice-versa.

    by Jonze on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 09:39:45 AM PST

  •  this SUCKS (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bustacap, wsexson, Words In Action

    Here we are begging for health insurance crumbs, meanwhile corporate America is set to score a huge victory against the working class.

    What the fuck can we do about this?  

    Nothing.

    Sunshine on my shoulder...

    by pkbarbiedoll on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 09:43:08 AM PST

  •  And we're on the FEC's side here? (9+ / 0-)

    Count me out.  That's a horrible, Orwellian provision and it shouldn't just be struck down--it should be put through the wood chipper, and the ground where it stood should be salted, like in the Bible.

    Enrich your life with adverbs!

    by Rich in PA on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 09:43:13 AM PST

    •  It depends on who you're asking (8+ / 0-)

      I've made it pretty clear that I'm on the pro-speech side of this one, but I believe I'm in the minority within this community.

      Show Dems in R-Leaning Districts Who Voted For Health Care, Against Stupak: We've Got Your Back

      by Adam B on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 09:45:09 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Ummm... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bustacap, ozsea1

        as I see it, the problem here is that removing all restrictions on "Corporate Speech" will ultimately have a chilling effect on free speech for the vast majority of citizens who lack the deep, deep, pockets of the Corporate Ruling Class.

        What this ruling would seem to amount to is the perpetuation of the meme that "free" speech=money alone.

        I think it's time--no, well past time--to restore the Fairness Doctrine.

        Al Qeada is a faith-based initiative.

        by drewfromct on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 09:52:13 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  I'm kinda on the fence (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        pacotrey

        because it goes both ways.

        They can spend money and publish crap - but so can we.

        If I've got a choice of watching a documentary from Ken Burns or Michael Moore, or a movie by Spielberg with Martin Sheen and who knows what other great stars, or watching what the GOP leaning creatives (all one or two of them) have turned out - there's no contest.

        Don't forget that. We've got the big talent on our side. They don't.

        •  If it's a spending war (3+ / 0-)

          They will win.  Regardless of talent.  

          •  Not necessarily (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Sean Parnell

            you can spend tons and tons of money on stuff that nobody watches and that is an unmitigated disaster.

            Waterworld comes to mind... as do a ton of other movies that cost a fortune and sank out of sight quickly.

            You can also run tons of ads - but if the ads are stupid (many of McCain's ads come to mind) or people see through them (as many do nowadays) that money doesn't help you much.

            •  It's just the overwhelming factor (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              PsychoSavannah

              Lots of it might be stupid, but lots (see: Fox News) is incredibly effective.  Progressives just don't have the money.  In fact, the rich use the money they stole from the poor to then advocate against the poor in the popular media, so it's a double hit.  The odds are incredibly tilted.  We have a well financed system that's entrenching itself (the corporate oligarchy spanning the GOP and a significant portion of the Democrats) against an overwhelmed coalition of progressive organizations whose members are for the most part too poor to significantly contribute to the effort.

      •  You mean you think money is speech. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        drewfromct

        Point of clarification.

        Occam's Pacifier: Conservatives are people who blindly assume that the most simple-minded, self-serving answer is always the correct one.

        by Words In Action on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 10:12:00 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  no, in this case I think speech = speech (0+ / 0-)

          Because the case is about the ability to broadcast advertising.

          Show Dems in R-Leaning Districts Who Voted For Health Care, Against Stupak: We've Got Your Back

          by Adam B on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 10:15:39 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  right, but because some people can afford to (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            wsexson, PsychoSavannah, drewfromct

            broadcast while others can't, it comes down to survival of the richest, no?

            Occam's Pacifier: Conservatives are people who blindly assume that the most simple-minded, self-serving answer is always the correct one.

            by Words In Action on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 10:20:37 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Well, yeah. (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Actbriniel, dizzzave

              That the Constitution says that bullhorns can't be banned doesn't require the government to give everyone one.

              Show Dems in R-Leaning Districts Who Voted For Health Care, Against Stupak: We've Got Your Back

              by Adam B on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 10:21:33 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  True. Which is why the "public airwaves" concept (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                PsychoSavannah, drewfromct

                was so damn useful. Even if the public couldn't afford to broadcast content for the public welfare, the broadcasters were beholden to do so in exchange for access to the public airwaves.

                Occam's Pacifier: Conservatives are people who blindly assume that the most simple-minded, self-serving answer is always the correct one.

                by Words In Action on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 10:46:52 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Where is that concept (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  PsychoSavannah, Words In Action

                  Even if the public couldn't afford to broadcast content for the public welfare, the broadcasters were beholden to do so in exchange for access to the public airwaves.

                  today?

                  Aren't the airwaves still considered to be a part of the "commons"? Aren't broadcasters still required to obtain a license from the gov't., which ostensibly represents "We the People"? The airwaves belong to all of us, therefore we should all be allowed a share of equal access, no?

                  It's just common sense to take into account the chilling affect of big money and ownership concentration on freedom of speech. Was that not the foundation that the Fairness Doctrine was based on in the first place?

                  The negative effects on free speech and democracy by wealth concentration need to recognized and countered. One way would be to require licensed broadcasters to allow equal amounts of free airtime to every candidate on the ballot for the last 4-6 weeks prior to election day.

                  It's not free speech for those who cannot afford to purchase the broadcast rights.

                  Al Qeada is a faith-based initiative.

                  by drewfromct on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 12:44:21 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

      •  Yep. We are. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ScottDog

        I think it's sad, really.  I'm in the process of forming a non-profit corporation right now (to raise money for dog rescue); the only way that "the little guy" has to band together with like-minded fellows and engage in direct advocacy is to form a corporation.  There's nothing inherently wrong or anti-progressive in corporations.

        "He that would make his own liberty secure must guard even his enemy from oppression." -Thomas Paine

        by sierrak9s on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 10:35:58 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  That's ok, I'm pro speech too! (0+ / 0-)

        Infact, I'm SO pro speech, I want to make sure it's not unduly maligned by the assertion that an entity incapable of thoughts or emotions is capable of it!

        Thanks for the broad deregatory categorization of your those who would disagree with you as "anti-speech" though!

    •  Let's all go read... (0+ / 0-)

      ...the first amendment, and reflect on how it makes our country so great.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/...

      When we're done with that, let's reflect on the argument that most Americans are morons, and thus cannot be trusted to detect self-serving propaganda nor to punish it.  How do we keep from blowing ourselves up with this super-duper argument?

      Vote in haste, repent in leisure.

      by wrecktafire on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 10:14:53 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Handing corporate oligarchs even more power. (11+ / 0-)

    Seeing as how they effectively own this country already, what more can we do to give our corporate overlords even more power?

    Why, let them slander anyone standing up to them using all the wealth and power at their command, by means our our craven corporate media.

    Mission Accomplished!

  •  FEC shot an air ball (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    burrow owl, pacotrey, Rich in PA

    The FEC shot an air ball on this issue and if they had not it might have stayed dormant for a few more election cycles. The FEC was on very weak constitutional grounds and opened a can of worms.

    "let's talk about that"

    by VClib on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 09:46:10 AM PST

  •  Very nice work Adam (11+ / 0-)

    I suppose I'm one of the few supporters of Citizens United's side here, but you did an excellent job of summing up the case, in my layman's opinion.  Thanks.

    The urge to save humanity is almost always a false face for the urge to rule it. ~ H.L. Mencken

    by Jay Elias on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 09:48:40 AM PST

  •  Public Financing Isn't a Total Panacea (19+ / 0-)

    Having been involved in election campaigns for progressives, against better funded corporate interests going back a long ways, experience shows that there are ways to mitigate the issue of corporate money.

    The problem is that there is no way that just laying back and not being active, depending on somebody or other to provide a fix, will suffice.

    There is no way out of it that does not require discipline, focus and real commitment.  

    Grass roots organizing is in a terrible state.  It happens I have a pretty good grounding in how it got to be that way.  

    Technology really was at the bottom of it.  Technology could be at the core of the solution to the problems caused by it.

    If you really study all the arcane aspect of how politics works, you see that in the 1970s, the innovation that made the mini mainframe computer available as a small business asset reachable with a small business loan, combined with the fact that data processing graduates from college had been energized by the political ferment of that time.

    The importance of this, that a lot of people miss completely, is that expert systems that could be aided by automation, such as mailing lists, phone lists, and polling, TV commercials and other campaign tools, became more and more expensive.  

    It was this enlarging expense that corporate money supported in a feedback loop.  As elaboration became more expensive, corporate donors were asked for more money.  As they gave more money, they gained more influence.

    The grass roots system that had elected FDR, Truman, JFK and Johnson atrophied and became a lost art.

    Not hopeless!  Enter the Netroots only two election cycles ago.  Hundreds of millions raised.  

    The importance of this, a trend that has only just been born, is that there is a possible counter to corporate money and a technological innovation that can reverse the effect of the consultant driven era.

    The problem is to adopt more deliberative discipline.  This is a skill set that will evolve in time.  Just reading comments here since 2003 seems to me to indicate that there is some inevitable development.  There certainly is room to grow.

    There will be a push for campaign finance reform.  But there is so much more to political action than just what happens during a campaign season leading up to an election.  

    For one thing, the emphasis on GOTV needs to shift.  There is a whole paradigm waiting to be developed in moving from a focus on election day, to a focus on citizenship and leadership skills for the long term.

    If you study the right wing and the rise of people like Karl Rove or Ralph Reed, etc. you see a steady building of infrastructure that a lot of people didn't suspect existed until George Bush "came out of nowhere."

    Progressives are certainly capable of leadership skills and being studious about policy alternatives and developing infrastructure.  

    hope that the idiots who have no constructive and creative solutions but only look to tear down will not win the day.

    by Stuart Heady on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 09:49:14 AM PST

  •  is public disclosure part of this case? (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Newsie8200, Rogneid, ColoTim, soms

    There's been some consternation here to the effect that our state's relatively strong regulations on public disclosure of campaign contributions would be overturned.  Or am I conflating Citizens United with another case?

    grok the "edku" -- edscan's "revelation", 21 January 2009

    by N in Seattle on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 09:49:38 AM PST

  •  Yeah, I saw this one coming. (6+ / 0-)

    Bush's longest-lasting legacy will be the nut jobs he put on SCOTUS.

  •  I'm going to blame Rahm for this (8+ / 0-)

    for some unyet decided upon reason.

  •  Rewrite the law that "corporation" is not person. (7+ / 0-)

    This is all about corporate law, what is a corporation, with the bizarre fiction that business corporations (why US wrote the corporation law) are "people".

    Change the US corporation law to state that business corporations are for purposes of commerce and not citizenship. Corporations do not have a vote.

    •  As AdamB notes, that wouldn't make a difference. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Darmok, Actbriniel

      The First Amendment doesn't apply to persons only; rather, it restricts government power.  

      Mom, the mall is a way for the corporate fatcats to imprison you into a life of servitude. I've got some stuff you should read.

      by burrow owl on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 09:54:05 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Actually, it would. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        PsychoSavannah

        Here's my understanding:

        All corporations operating in the United States are founded on charters granted by state governments. (I'm not aware there's a federal charter process.)

        If a state government decided that it wanted to, it could require all corporations to include in their charters a statement that they would not use general treasury funds to advocate politically.

        A state could even, I guess, include a provision that corporations would be limited by the restrictions listed in Chapter X Title Y of the state's general statutes - and then a state could be as specific as they wanted to be. They could even reinstate the BACA provisions.

        Put that in the state constitution, and it would basically be untouchable, even by SCOTUS. Corporations are creations of the state: the citizens who form them are entirely dependent on the state for the protections they enjoy as a corporation. Arguing for the speech rights of a corporation that had been created with limited speech rights from the get-go would be like arguing for the right of men to bear children. That's not a right their creator endowed them with, and there isn't a lot the courts can do about it.

        Make this happen in Delaware or Missouri, and you've really got something, though it's much more likely to happen in California or New York.

    •  Personhood derived from SCOTUS (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bustacap, Bush Bites, Roger Fox, ozsea1

      The so-called "Railroad" case back in the 1800s that created the definition of a corporation as a person, actually first contributed the concept as only a margin comment.  

      SInce then it has grown into a body of law.  The case that is now before the Supreme Court arose because of the need for a Supreme Court determination on the issue.

      Now, we will see one.  

      hope that the idiots who have no constructive and creative solutions but only look to tear down will not win the day.

      by Stuart Heady on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 09:55:07 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  When can we get The Mitt Romney Movie released? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dlh77489

    He will be running. Can we start with his religion?

  •  Did 'Citizens United' used to maybe have (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cartwrightdale

    two more words as part of their name?  Or am I conflating them with another anti-Hillary group that was out there?

    Those who labour in the earth are the chosen people of God. - Thomas Jefferson

    by Ezekial 23 20 on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 09:56:48 AM PST

  •  ALITO: "I'm not asking what the statute says." (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bustacap

    Huh?

    There is a statute at issue here, no?

  •  Doesn't this effectively institutionalize Fox... (5+ / 0-)

    "News" and their function as a propaganda tool for the Republican party? Doesn't this seem as if it is going to pervert the system once and for all, completely, so that our elections are nothing more than another American Idol vote poll?

    This is bad Adam. Really, really bad. While I can understand arguing the merits of what the constitution limits or does not limit, Sotomayor is correct - the courts defined an abstract concept as something capable of having speech. Doing business is not speech. It simply isn't. A person, then, should be able to claim corporate limited liability without incorporating, right?

    This is bad, bad, bad news.

    Slap happy is a platform.

    by averageyoungman on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 09:58:18 AM PST

    •  It's a Political Party, as Other Outlets Hav Been (4+ / 0-)

      in the past, to the point of running their own candidates.

      It's worse than bad news, it's potentially the last news.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 09:59:37 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Well ... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      averageyoungman

      ... even outside of this case, I don't think you'd want too much regulation over the content of what media entities broadcast, do you?

      Show Dems in R-Leaning Districts Who Voted For Health Care, Against Stupak: We've Got Your Back

      by Adam B on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 10:05:28 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  It's not that part that concerns me (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        PsychoSavannah, ozsea1

        It's the race to some sort of depraved media singularity that seems to me to be inevitable.

        As it stands, outfits like Fox are on a fascist precipice - at least for me - that does damage to the democracy. Currently, they can be tempered somewhat. I draw the line at blatant lies. If they want to isolate themselves fine, but personally I don't see anything wrong with having a definition of "news" and regulating what entities can claim to be such.

        This is only one, tiny fraction of the larger problem this is going to create in my view, and although I appreciate your stand on it, I'm jut having a really difficult time seeing how in our culture this doesn't spell disaster for our democracy.

        Slap happy is a platform.

        by averageyoungman on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 10:15:09 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Framers Were Paranoid About the Potential for (8+ / 0-)

    aristocratic concentrations of wealth, and for a manufacturing and trade economy to create such concentrations.

    Alas they did nothing in constructing their system to protect against it.

    So no Mr. Scalia, you are wrong if not lying.

    Those Founders designed, of course, a system in which popular ideas would ultimately prevail;

    They in fact designed a system where PROFITABLE ideas will prevent most others from even being KNOWN.

    They didn't know they were designing it because they had no concept of 4-5 corporations providing 95% of the ideas shared by the general electorate.

    The framers' system as SCOTUS intends it to run in our time CRUSHES popular and rational ideas.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 09:58:50 AM PST

    •  Which is why arguments about what the 1st (0+ / 0-)

      amendment does or does not protect in this instance baffle me. Your right to extend your arm ends at the tip of my nose. Similarly, I don't think it's that hard to argue that the ability of a corporation - with its vast resources of money - to drown out individual speech is a threat to the marketplace of ideas, just as monopoly power is a threat to the ideal operation of a literal market. When market monopolies arise, however, we regulate them. Which is what the FEC was doing with potential monopolies in speech.

      •  monopoly in speech? (0+ / 0-)

        for cryin' out loud, they wanted to run a movie on video-on-demand that said unpleasant things about Hillary Clinton. That's a "monopoly" on speech?

        Sean Parnell
        President
        Center for Competitive Politics
        http://twitter.com/...

        Congress shall make no law...

        by Sean Parnell on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 02:29:17 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  The problem with a monopoly is not (0+ / 0-)

          that it controls a substantial share of the market. The problem is that market control leads to the end of free markets in general through the unhealthy competitive advantages monopolies enjoy. Same thing with corporate speech - a corporation can own a TV station, and can saturate the "marketplace of ideas" through other means.

          Also, though, talking only about what Citizens United wanted to do in this case is misleading. It's clear that Scalia, at least, wants a much broader ruling than whether or not the specific actions CU contemplated were legal.

  •  A suggestion (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pkbarbiedoll, ozsea1, RenderQT

    The DKOS "What is the purpose of this site" could use some revision.

    This is a Democratic blog, a partisan blog. One that recognizes that Democrats run from left to right on the ideological spectrum, and yet we're all still in this fight together. We happily embrace centrists like NDN's Simon Rosenberg and Howard Dean, conservatives like Martin Frost and Brad Carson, and liberals like John Kerry and Barack Obama. Liberal? Yeah, we're around here and we're proud. But it's not a liberal blog. It's a Democratic blog with one goal in mind: electoral victory. And since we haven't gotten any of that from the current crew, we're one more thing: a reform blog. The battle for the party is not an ideological battle. It's one between establishment and anti-establishment factions. And as I've said a million times, the status quo is untenable

    I'd like to see the word "corporate" somewhere in our mission statement.  The battle lines are clear and the corporations need to be confronted.

    If cats could blog.... they wouldn't.

    by crystal eyes on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 09:59:33 AM PST

    •  I Think the Owner Has Expressed Discomfort (5+ / 0-)

      with that concept, if I recall correctly. This is a corporation after all.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 10:00:42 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  "The status quo is untenable" (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        PsychoSavannah

        It's a Democratic blog with one goal in mind: electoral victory. And since we haven't gotten any of that from the current crew, we're one more thing: a reform blog. The battle for the party is not an ideological battle. It's one between establishment and anti-establishment factions. And as I've said a million times, the status quo is untenable

        That's pretty weak gruel.  A lobbyist could say those words at a candidate's fundraiser.  I would ask the Owner to retool his statement with more vision and clarity to take on corporations.  

        I'm learning the hard way that vague positive words have a way of evaporating when special interests want them to.

        If cats could blog.... they wouldn't.

        by crystal eyes on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 10:09:42 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  The campaign for PFE (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Adam B, bustacap, ozsea1, Apost8

    (Publically Funded Elections) needs to grow ASAP.

    This may be the most critical issue facing our Republic.

    Not to be reactionary or conspiratorial per recent populist movements - but the consequences feel dire in historical terms without a strong counter-movement to re-define the civics of American constitutional representation.

    "If the misery of the poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin." - Charles Darwin

    by ViralDem on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 09:59:57 AM PST

  •  thank harry reif for filibustering alito/roberts (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pkbarbiedoll, ozsea1

    oh but he didnt.

    harry reid failed us again.

  •  The revolution will start on 1-1-2011. (0+ / 0-)

    Because that's about what it will take to move the politicians out of the back passages of the corporations instead of the corporate back pockets as they are now.

  •  money (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wsexson, pkbarbiedoll

    is not speech.

    The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

    by Laurence Lewis on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 10:01:51 AM PST

  •  Unbelievably awesome breakdown. (3+ / 0-)

    Thanks for your work!

    "I'm too fiscally conservative for the Democrats and too socially liberal for the Republicans, like 75% of the American people." --Governor Angus King

    by DonkSlayer on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 10:01:53 AM PST

  •  The history book (6+ / 0-)

    Some day, someone somewhere will write a history book describing how Americans lost the ability to intelligently govern themselves, and how what was once a republic based on popular sovereignty became an oligarchical dictatorship. This case taking the fetters, weak though they are, off of corporate ownership of the political process will be one of the key chapters in that book. I don't think this is exactly what Mr. Madison had in mind when he and his colleagues wrote our Constitution.

    The Bush Family: 0 for 4 in Wisconsin

    by Korkenzieher on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 10:02:01 AM PST

  •  Cynicism and disaffection just ... (4+ / 0-)

    ... became growth industries.

    Good luck, America.

  •  I don't think this is that important. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Adam B, Rich in PA

    For one, I agree that how corporations spend their money is up to them and free speech for corporations is as vital as it is for individuals. Corporations are still under the law of libel and slander so they have limitations.

    Besides, it is not the producers of "Hillary; The Movie" you should be worried about, but the yokels that would vote based on such a production.

    Further I find it hard to believe that anyone's mind would be changed by such a film and if there are people that would change their vote on a film like that, then those same people would likely influenced by a radio host (paid by a corporation) or some other means. And if they are that easily influenced, then they are likely to change their minds up until election day so just make movies yourself and make sure they see your film last.

    Already going hell, just pumping that gas.

    by Common Cents on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 10:03:47 AM PST

    •  There is a lot more after the camel follows (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dave925, ozsea1

      What is under discussion now is the nose of the camel.

      A real impact could be moving billions of dollars currently prohibited into other areas besides TV commercials or docudramas during campaign season.  The prospect exists that whole TV series, motion picture studios, book publishing, and more could become part of the tide.  

      hope that the idiots who have no constructive and creative solutions but only look to tear down will not win the day.

      by Stuart Heady on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 10:09:11 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  One restriction: Corporations want profits. (0+ / 0-)

        A whole TV series or motion picture studio, etc devoted to defeating one candidate or party is highly unlikely.

        Corporations want to sell to everyone. You don't do good business by alienating half the country.

        Already going hell, just pumping that gas.

        by Common Cents on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 10:11:24 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Think more broadly in scope (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          PsychoSavannah, ozsea1, majyqman

          There are larger dimensions of American politics than candidates and elections.  The entire paradigm can be influenced if there is enough money and it is strategically utilized on a large enough scale.

          Look at the effect of Bernays.  Know who that is?  A member of Sigmund Freud's family who went with the idea that, instead of studying human mental phenomenon, there could be an application of the knowledge in pushing human populations, governing populations through psychology.

          This was adopted by the business elite after WWII and integrated into an approach for re-tooling the American postwar economy.  We call that Madison Avenue, without knowing really where that came from.

          You have to think on that scale to appreciate what is at stake.  

          hope that the idiots who have no constructive and creative solutions but only look to tear down will not win the day.

          by Stuart Heady on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 10:21:23 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  The corporation in question is a nonprofit (0+ / 0-)

          founded explicitly to create advocacy.

          And plenty of corporations do just fine alienating large groups of people.

          Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

          by elfling on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 11:45:07 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  really? (0+ / 0-)

        The right has been claiming for decades that Hollywood has been pushing left-wing messages through their movies and television shows. Think it's a good idea to give them the power to decide what is and is not "political" and ban it from the air?

        Let's see, goodbye Will & Grace and Ellen (gay rights being a political issue, can't have anybody influenced by seeing gay people on t.v.), goodbye Cosby Show (did you SEE that Nelson Mandela poster in Theo's room? Political!), and whatever that Soderberg film was on the drug trade with Catherine Zeta Jones (promotes drug legalization, a political issue), and just about anything else the right has complained about coming out of Hollywood for the last several decades.

        No, let's not go down this road.

        Sean Parnell
        President
        Center for Competitive Politics
        http://twitter.com/...

        Congress shall make no law...

        by Sean Parnell on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 02:39:03 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Are there no laws that (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ozsea1

    congress could write that would pass constitutional muster? Or is there just no feasible way to legally level the playing field through passage of a law?

    "Everybody lies... except POLITICIANS? House, I do believe you are a romantic."

    by indiemcemopants on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 10:03:59 AM PST

    •  If money is speech, then no. (0+ / 0-)

      The Bill of Rights would have to be in effect.

      Already going hell, just pumping that gas.

      by Common Cents on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 10:06:02 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  be more specific (0+ / 0-)

      What's the thing you'd like to prohibit?

      Show Dems in R-Leaning Districts Who Voted For Health Care, Against Stupak: We've Got Your Back

      by Adam B on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 10:06:31 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well the theory is (0+ / 0-)

        corporations = people, so what I'm thinking is people like you and I have budget limitations whereas a corporation has who knows how much income and very few relative expenses. And corporations aren't always taxed at the same level we would be because they hide their money. So this is basically a situation in which if you're rich you can shape political thought and ideas and if you're poor you'll have a much more difficult if not impossible time.

        There has to be some way to make sure "some animals aren't less equal than others" as they say. It seems to me that ordinary citizens will never be able to have the same effect on the process as a corporation does because people have budgetary and tax limits.

        I'm not really sure what SPECIFICALLY I'd ask for, just a law that either imposes the same restrictions on corporations that people have, or a law that levels the playing field for us so our political ideas can be heard just as loud as a corporation's.

        "Everybody lies... except POLITICIANS? House, I do believe you are a romantic."

        by indiemcemopants on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 10:13:45 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  then you want public financing (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          indiemcemopants

          To ensure that all legitimate candidates for public office can have sufficient resources to be heard.

          Show Dems in R-Leaning Districts Who Voted For Health Care, Against Stupak: We've Got Your Back

          by Adam B on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 10:15:01 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I guess you're right. (0+ / 0-)

            It does suck though. I wish there were a more "capitalistic" way to handle it than publicly funded campaigns. I'm actually probably a minority here on public financing but I'm not sure I like it very much. I don't feel comfortable with people providing funds in order to express some of the opinions that have been called "political thought." It seems to me that public financing would just involve everyone paying in to attack their opponents viciously. In a way that is speech, I suppose, but it's crappy speech that likely won't advance anyone or move any Overton windows to the left.

            "Everybody lies... except POLITICIANS? House, I do believe you are a romantic."

            by indiemcemopants on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 10:19:59 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  Let's see.... (0+ / 0-)

          For one thing there are vast ways to express yourself. Corporations, by virtue of their size can not have the personal effect of someone ringing your doorbell or sending you a personal email. They don't know citizens and their local needs. You do in your area and if a 1K people from 1K areas call and email for a candidate in their area that is pretty powerful and relatively cheap.

          Second, there is a counterargument here. If the corporation is bigger than you and has more money than you, it might stand to reason that it has more to lose than you and should be able to reflect its higher stakes in higher participation.

          Already going hell, just pumping that gas.

          by Common Cents on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 10:18:45 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Well I can agree that corporations (0+ / 0-)

            can advocate their positions, as they do have a lot to lose if their message isn't getting out. I just don't like that they're considered "people" but lack many of the limitations real people have. They're a different KIND of "people."

            "Everybody lies... except POLITICIANS? House, I do believe you are a romantic."

            by indiemcemopants on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 10:22:33 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  They really aren't considered "people" (0+ / 0-)

              This whole personhood is blown way out of proportion.

              Basically, it means corporations can sue and be sued, hold property, sign contracts, and other basic things.

              It also means that some rights are necessarily protected in the corporate form. Otherwise a corporation could have it's property taken away without regard to the Constitution which requires compensation, or have it's offices searched without a search warrant.

              And yes, free speech rights are among those rights as well, to enable the incorporated entity to speak on behalf of its shareholders or members (almost all unions are incorporated, as are almost all advocacy groups).

              Sean Parnell
              President
              Center for Competitive Politics
              http://twitter.com/...

              Congress shall make no law...

              by Sean Parnell on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 02:44:22 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

  •  Colbert covered this in a compelling way... (4+ / 0-)
  •  New Progressive Corporation? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dave925

    Might be time to incorporate movements!

    Thanks for your informative, if scary, diary.

    IF THEY ARE GOING TO SCREW THE PEOPLE, MAKE THEM OWN IT.

    by potatohead on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 10:05:56 AM PST

    •  The ACLU, Center for American Progress, (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Adam B, Sean Parnell

      et& are all way ahead of you, since they're all corps aimed at spearheading a movement.

      Mom, the mall is a way for the corporate fatcats to imprison you into a life of servitude. I've got some stuff you should read.

      by burrow owl on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 10:06:53 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Agreed. Was just musing over implications (0+ / 0-)

        Seems to me, the netroots and how it started was a window of opportunity that won't come again.

        This potential ruling just makes me think about that some, and realize maybe that we got what we got done, in time...

        IF THEY ARE GOING TO SCREW THE PEOPLE, MAKE THEM OWN IT.

        by potatohead on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 10:20:02 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  There is much more potential to be realized. (0+ / 0-)

          Most people seem to think reactively, and not on a very broad scale.

          The internet is not going away.  We have at least some time, hopefully two terms, before a Republican in the White House pushes a drive to abolish net neutrality.  McCain has seen the light and that is now where he is at.

          The smart thing to do in the face of this is use what people are actually already using - their thinking skills.  The problem is to train our discipline more in the direction of moving beyond elections and thinking more in terms of the broader infrastructure that is needed.

          Corporations and money are not the only force in American politics - unless progressives just lay down and die.  

          hope that the idiots who have no constructive and creative solutions but only look to tear down will not win the day.

          by Stuart Heady on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 10:24:57 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yeah, I hear that. Thanks for saying it. (0+ / 0-)

            Some strategic efforts would pay serious dividends, as you say well.

            Personally, I would like to see efforts to begin strong Progressive messaging to small business.

            They have the same needs ordinary people do, why not try to crack a little of that corporate nut?

            A ton of them are Republican oriented, because that's where the corporate center is, Blue Dogs aside.

            Maybe this year will see lots of these efforts realized.  I don't know about you, but this HCR debate has clarified the need for these things.  We have grown, but not anywhere near enough.

            IF THEY ARE GOING TO SCREW THE PEOPLE, MAKE THEM OWN IT.

            by potatohead on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 12:16:44 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  Confused (0+ / 0-)

    So, is Sotomayor bringing the whole question of the clerk's error bringing about the concept of corporate personhood into the case?  Or is she accepting corporate personhood?

    •  The original point is now water under the bridge (0+ / 0-)

      The body of law looking back from 2010 is quite comprehensive.  The question has changed since the turn of the 19th into the 20th century, with the century of court precedents and legislation to take into account.  

      The Court has to look forward as well.  Hopefully they will see the implications in the light of sober reflection.  

      hope that the idiots who have no constructive and creative solutions but only look to tear down will not win the day.

      by Stuart Heady on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 10:11:58 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Seems like she'll dissent... (0+ / 0-)

      ...and attack corporate person-hood in her dissenting opinion.

      Won't make any difference though.

  •  Railroad corporations destroyed this. (0+ / 0-)

    "Corporate personhood", created by an inaccurate court reporter in the mid 19th century. Now we have the business climate based on the logical events that have since transpired.

    Now employees being called "associates" likely explains most shooting rampages in office complexes perpetrated by folk in ties and collared shirts.

    A juvenile statement, but not altogether incorrect.

  •  Hope y'all enjoy your new (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PsychoSavannah, ozsea1

    shiny out in the open Fascist State.

    They may just be clueless enough though to make their congressgoobers wear Nascar style sponsor patches. That would rock.

    "Fall seven times, stand up eight.": Japanese Proverb

    by Dave925 on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 10:11:06 AM PST

  •  Well, what about.... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PsychoSavannah, sullivanst

    ....the idea that there is only a finite amount of room in an election period for messaging, which is dominated by money. Corporations, trade unions and organizations collectively have enough money to dominate messaging at the expense of individuals, and even most candidates. This ability, to dominate and even monopolize political messaging for certain periods of time, steps on the rights of individuals and many candidates to be heard.

    In some ways it is almost an anti-trust argument.

    Blessed is the blind squirrel who can type all the works of Shakespeare twice a day.

    by Doug in SF on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 10:13:11 AM PST

    •  That depends on exactly the fine print (0+ / 0-)

      Probably the limitations on the election season are a thing of the past as well.  

      But I would imagine that the door will also open, with this decision, to funding strategies that progressives could employ.  

      We will all just have to read the decision carefully to see what the SCOTUS decided to do on the various dimensions of this problem.

      hope that the idiots who have no constructive and creative solutions but only look to tear down will not win the day.

      by Stuart Heady on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 10:15:44 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  That's why the FEC should have been more wary (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Doug in SF, Adam B, PsychoSavannah

      in pressing its line of argument into the realm of book publishing. The central role of the printing press in the history of American independence quite rightly makes judges rather protected of freedom of the printed word.

      Although, it's possible the real misstep was pursuing the CU case at all.

      CU was never in danger of monopolizing movie theaters. And even if they were, they're only showing to people who choose to go to the movie theater and pay for a ticket.

      For the purpose of the case, there's an effectively infinite amount of paper. And no-one is forced to buy and read a book.

      This contrasts starkly with, say, a finite amount of TV advertising time. The nightmare scenario is one in which FEC pushing too far results in that distinction being lost in the ruling.

      We can only hope that the Court restrains itself in its decision.

      In America, 60% of bankruptcies are because of medical bills, and 80% of those people had health insurance

      by sullivanst on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 10:42:18 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Excellent Point! (0+ / 0-)

        Yes, these distinctions should have been made. But knowing how this and the previous administration work, it would surprise me if they didn't actually bring the case in order to get the expected ruling.

        Blessed is the blind squirrel who can type all the works of Shakespeare twice a day.

        by Doug in SF on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 11:14:14 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  "We are a Plutocracy, we ought to face it. We (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Apost8

    need, desperately, to find new ways to hear independent voices & points of view" Ramsey Clark, United States Attorney General.
    These words were uttered in approximately the year 1990 by Mr. Clark.

    Things are changing, concerning corporations, but not for the better,  apparently.

    "We are a Plutocracy, we ought to face it. We need, desperately, to find new ways to hear independent voices & points of view" Ramsey Clark, US AG

    by Mr SeeMore on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 10:13:58 AM PST

    •  Full quote here... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      PsychoSavannah, sullivanst, majyqman

      Ramsey Clark:  "We are a plutocracy.  We ought to face it, a country in which wealth controls.  May be true of all countries more or less but uniquely true of ours because of our materialism and the concentration of wealth here.  Even our democratic processes are hardly that because money dominates politics and we know it.  Through politics, it dominates government, and it dominates the media. We really need desperately to find new ways to hear independent voices and points of view.  It’s the only way we are going to find the truth."

      Source...

      "We are a Plutocracy, we ought to face it. We need, desperately, to find new ways to hear independent voices & points of view" Ramsey Clark, US AG

      by Mr SeeMore on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 10:19:06 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Decades (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Murchadha

    This one could take decades to overturn, if ever.  It's hard for me to be an optimist on this issue.  There won't be any effective legal fix and a constitutional amendment is the hardest thing to get done in our system.

    www.dcforobama.com Our work is not over! Giving back to the grassroots.

    by howardpark on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 10:15:42 AM PST

    •  Once the moneyed interests get their way (0+ / 0-)

      I don't see how we can ever overturn it.

      Look at healthcare "reform."  What was supposed to be a bill for the betterment of our society became a bill for the betterment of the healthcare industry's bottom line.

      Depressing.

      "Think occasionally of the suffering of which you spare yourself the sight." - Albert Schweitzer

      by Apost8 on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 10:20:45 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  What response can we reasonably expect from the (0+ / 0-)

    left?

    <figuratively speaking, crickets>

    Don't get me wrong, there may be some noise, just not the level of "concern" that one would consider appropriate or effective considering the outrageously destructive impact "corporate speech" has on Democracy.

    Occam's Pacifier: Conservatives are people who blindly assume that the most simple-minded, self-serving answer is always the correct one.

    by Words In Action on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 10:16:38 AM PST

  •  Yay for corporate oligarchy! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bush Bites

    Not.

    "Think occasionally of the suffering of which you spare yourself the sight." - Albert Schweitzer

    by Apost8 on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 10:17:29 AM PST

  •  Let's remember: (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Aexia, Frank, Bush Bites, RustyCannon

    "It doesn't matter whether we have Democrats or Republicans in charge, because they are both the same.

    And that is why it was good to vote for Nader in 2000, because it really didn't make a difference.

    I'm sure Al Gore's first choices for the Supreme Court would have been the same.

    And that is why, the best way to advance the progressive agenda, is to stay at home in 2010, so that Obama won't even be able to replace a retiring liberal with another, because we will have even less ability to block a fillibuster in the Senate.

    Hell, this is why it makes sense to hope Coakley fails to win Teddy's seat in Massachusetts - to "send a message to the Democrats".

    Yes, there is no difference at all. Hell, we might have been better off if McCain had won, and then had a heart attack an Palin became president.

    Because Obama = Bush."

    Riiiiight.

    Forget the Supreme Court - we need to "send Washington a message". If our children, and their children, suffer under a generation of authoritarian, regressive SC Justices, so be it - we will have "sent our message", and the wonderful socialist utopia of (high fee corporate speaker and GOP funding recipient) Ralph Nader will arrive.

    Uh huh.

    Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too? -- Douglas Adams

    by RandomActsOfReason on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 10:21:10 AM PST

    •  Yep. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Aexia, Newsie8200, RustyCannon

      Even if 9/11 still happens, even if Al Gore would have handled the response poorly, so long as a Democrat were elected President in 2004 then O'Connor and Rehnquist would have been replaced by liberals.

      Show Dems in R-Leaning Districts Who Voted For Health Care, Against Stupak: We've Got Your Back

      by Adam B on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 10:24:38 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  They certainly wouldn't have been replaced by (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Aexia, RustyCannon, sullivanst

        Roberts and Alito. And It's not just the White House, it is the Senate that matters, as I pointed out.

        Today more than ever, due to the very recent dramatic rise in abuse of the filibuster by the obstructionist.

        Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too? -- Douglas Adams

        by RandomActsOfReason on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 10:34:59 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  O'Connor wouldn't have retired (0+ / 0-)

        She was waiting for a Republican to become president.  She would have stuck it out until 2004 if she had to do so, and banked on Gore's being brought down by 9/11 (which as Chris Bowers says would have been used to impeach him).

        As for Mr. HMS Pinafore, we would have been lucky to get an HMS Pinafore clone in his stead.  Look at the tough time Obama had pushing Sonia Sotomayor's nomination.  Let's face it -- Sotomayor, while a good centrist-liberal, is probably about as left as we're going to see now, and that's with an alleged "60-seat majority" that never seems to work out that way.  Gore would have been fighting a Republican House and a de facto Republican-controlled Senate.  Nobody we would have liked in the least, even Sotomayor, could have survived the nomination process.

        Visit http://theuptake.org/ for Minnesota news as it happens.

        by Phoenix Woman on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 11:54:50 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Is anyone seriously suggesting re: Coakley (0+ / 0-)

      that her loss would "send a message to the Democrats"?

      Even at FDL, where they're suggesting Obama would be to blame for her loss, they want her to win.

  •  Unbelievable (4+ / 0-)

    Because what this country needs is even MORE corporate involvement in elections.

    I don't even recognize this country any more.

  •  Good (0+ / 0-)

    I believe in Free Speech -- that is, more money, more speech.

    I won't tell anyone that Reagan was a turd.

    by bink on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 10:31:00 AM PST

  •  Well, if we can't place an upper limit on speech (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    srkp23

    We probably need to place a lower limit on it, for viable candidates.

    Public financing available in all elections, anyone?

    In America, 60% of bankruptcies are because of medical bills, and 80% of those people had health insurance

    by sullivanst on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 10:32:57 AM PST

  •  Does this mean we can put corporations in jail? (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wsexson, LillithMc, lisastar, Tchrldy

    That might be fun.

  •  Why the hell are we allowing (4+ / 0-)

    multi-national corporations the ability to influence our electoral process.  For example, do we really want China having a seat at the table regarding our elections/ policy decisions?  I see this as a fundamental national security issue as well as a corruption of a healthy democratic electoral process.  This just seems like such a no-brainer to me, but what do I know?

    •  Corporate influence has been the way of the (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Tchrldy, RustyCannon

      world since corporations were invented 500 or so years ago. Our problem is broadly educating the sheepul to the point that the electorate rises up and wrests personhood from these powerful, authoritarian, corrupting entities. I wonder if we can foment a Leftie-Prog/Teabagger joint venture? If only the Tbuggers were not the product of corporate brainwashing, perhaps they might finally be useful.

  •  There is a way around this. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Phoenix Woman, raincrow, LillithMc

    The Congress could make the receipt of federal funds contingent upon each state requiring that comporate entities incorporated within their states include provisions in their corporate charter imposing relevant political campaign donation and spending restrictions.

    •  I like this, but (0+ / 0-)

      wouldn't it be an impermissible encroachment on this newly established right of corporations (depending on how broad or narrow the Supremes' upcoming ruling)? Could Congress, by the same logic, tell states "no money until you require private citizens to [name an onerous and restrictive/intrusive hoop you would not wish to jump thru] before they can [exercise a protected right]"?

      •  In short, no. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        raincrow

        States can set the requirements of each corporate charter. They can set conditions as well. This could be one of them. As a condition of incpororaing -- and getting the benefit of legal liability protections, corporate tax rates, etc -- you have to eschew participation in political campaigns.

        Violation is a violation of your coporate charter, and subjects you to a shareholder lawsuit and other penalties.

  •  The law is impractical regardless (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PsychoSavannah

    It relies on the legal definition of "corporation" and the mentioning of a candidate's name to create a proscription which really doesn't have much effect.

    Given all the advocacy ads we see these days, people are used to spin and treat it accordingly.  In 2008 you could have run ads complaining about Bush and mentioning "change" without using Obama's name and not run afoul of the law.  

    The two major parties would prefer that this law remain on the books because it allows them to control the money and the message more effectively. Especially since the limits on donations to specific candidates force anyone hoping to buy influence to write their biggest checks to the party.

    However many wealthy individuals would likely prefer to be able to create corporations to fund these types of ads because corporate form shields them from personal liability.

    Sanctimony thy name is Joe Lieberman.

    by roguetrader2000 on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 10:36:53 AM PST

  •  Remember (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RustyCannon

    There's no difference between Al gore and Ralph Nader. No consquesnces to that vote, no siree.

    •  Nader would have been deader in the water (0+ / 0-)

      legislatively speaking than Jimmy Carter and his band of Georgia outsiders who, as lamentable as it was, were so unable to gain entrance to the Good Old Boys' Club on the Hill. Let us be real about Nader's ability to actually accomplish anything while in the White House. He would have flamed out spectacularly, despite his admirable thinking on many topics.

  •  The abridgement of certain rights in the (4+ / 0-)

    constitution is only a good thing if it STAMPS OUT TERRORISM. Because, you know, the Constitution is not a suicide pact. But if it's a fake non-human thing like Democracy that is being damaged, then we should not stamp out any rights. Because Democracy can't be killed or commit suicide, apparently.

    Folks, ALL our problems are related to way corporations pervert the democratic process. ALL OUR PROBLEMS. And it will continue to get worse because in a global economy, there's no way to go for the American worker but DOWN, and the elite corporatists have no sympathy for their fellow Americans. Why should they? What makes you better than the Filipino who is working your former job for 1/4 of what you used to make? Appeal to their patriotism? Haw!

    What is it that Upton Sinclair said? These corporatists will resort to any crumb of logic they can find if their job and wealth depends on it.

    Democracy is a "thing" that needs to be nurtured. It is not a thing that should be left to the whims of an uncontrolled and voracious corporate agenda. The country needs to establish parameters for elections, political advertising windows, free over the air TV for candidates, short fora for three month campaigns, websites in which all the issues can be compared side-by-side.

    I am more than happy to allow the party hacks to bring forth candidates in the backrooms -- AS LONG AS THE MONEY gets removed from the equation.

    Alito is a horrible hypocrite in the way he addressed the whole question of "rights" being calibrated, because he's gun-ho about abridging rights to privacy, and not at all worried about a dictator seizing control.

    There are two kinds of people in this world. The kind who divide the world into two kinds of people, and the kind who don't.

    by upstate NY on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 10:44:50 AM PST

  •  If money is free Speech so are Molotov Cocktails (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wsexson, RustyCannon

    As are hand grenades and Axe handles.

    •  The Patriot Party is across the hall (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Aexia

      I think you used the wrong door.

      Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too? -- Douglas Adams

      by RandomActsOfReason on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 10:52:14 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Too scary a statement for you? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        RustyCannon

        Money is being used in the very same way as Molotov Cocktails, grenades, and Axe handles.

        Money is being used to make the INDIVIDUALS' (Corporations') message louder and have a greater impact.

        As do Molotov Cocktails, grenades and Axe handles.

        •  Sure, because Molotov Cocktails and Axe handles (0+ / 0-)

          are the first thing that come to mind when you think "corporate exercise of power".

          Because Molotov Cocktails and Axe handles are the preferred tools of The Establishment, not those who think violent revolution is justified by utopian ends.

          Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too? -- Douglas Adams

          by RandomActsOfReason on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 11:13:50 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Violent Revolution? Where did I say that? (3+ / 0-)

            You are reading a hell of lot more into what I wrote, RandomActsOfUnfoundedprojections...

            Money is the tool of the rich.
            Molotov Cocktails are all the poor can afford.

            Both are OBJECTS that can be used to influence elections.

            One is illegal.

            One is about to be codified into law.

            And piss-off with your holier-than-thou attitude.

            •  Seems to me I read you perfectly (0+ / 0-)

              It was a threat of violent unrest in response to corporate power.

              Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too? -- Douglas Adams

              by RandomActsOfReason on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 11:28:19 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I am sorry you are so easily frightened. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Phoenix Woman

                It wasn't meant to be scary, it was meant to show why money should ALSO be illegal in politics.

                But you read 'Molotov Cocktail' and immediately became frightened and created a whole mess of assumptions about my 'violent tendencies'.

                I'm sorry you felt threatened.

                •  It is not about being frightened (0+ / 0-)

                  hardly, I'm a veteran of the IDF.

                  I just reject violence as a path to political or social or any other kind of productive change.

                  I believe that money does not equal speech, and that campaign finance reform is one of the most important things we can do to change the system, which is a prerequisite to any meaningful, lasting progressive change.

                  I'm just a bit oversensitive because of the outbreak of teabaggerism on the Left of the Left here, recently, with people touting scorched earth policies as the root to change.

                  Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too? -- Douglas Adams

                  by RandomActsOfReason on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 11:39:04 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

  •  The fact that AFL-CIO and the ACLU (4+ / 0-)

    are on the same side as Citizens United highlights the real issue. It's not left vs right or Republican vs Democrats - it's corporations vs citizens.

    I know on what side of this issue I am.

    Unapologetically pro-citizen. Not anti-corporation just very pro-citizen.

    by CanYouBeAngryAndStillDream on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 10:59:41 AM PST

  •  The quest for restricting spending (0+ / 0-)

    seems pretty hopeless.

    I'm inclined to think the real answer lies in some combination of more thorough public disclosure of who is behind particular spending and public funding matching all spending over some threshold.  Unfortunately, I don't see how the latter would work in cases like this - but at least it could work with explicit advocacy spending.

    He took a duck in the face at two hundred and fifty knots.

    by jrooth on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 11:07:05 AM PST

  •  Very comprehensive and interesting analysis. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PsychoSavannah, RustyCannon

    Thanks for this.

  •  we clearly haven't hit rock bottom yet (0+ / 0-)

    and may not for the forseeable future.

    "We're creating instability that could lead us into wider war."....Dennis Kucinich (Duhhhhh.)

    by lisastar on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 11:17:42 AM PST

  •  This is the subject of the only diary.. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Phoenix Woman, RustyCannon

    That I've posted here.

    Maybe it will grow a few more legs on the front page.

    "Vale again. Be well, and hopes that it stops raining in history." -Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos, EZLN

    by Comradio on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 11:20:49 AM PST

  •  Well, this'll help ensure.... (0+ / 0-)

    ... that the insurance corporations are able to not only hold on to their new thrones as keepers of our health, but to further enhance their positions.

    We're screwed.

    The inadequate is the enemy of the necessary.

    by JRandomPoster on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 11:27:06 AM PST

  •  FUcking figures (2+ / 0-)

    More power to the corporatocracy. If teabaggers want to see an example of Fascism, this country will be a great example in a generation, if things continue this direction. Think you don't recognize your country now?

  •  Protecting democracy AND political speech (0+ / 0-)

    The problem with business corporations and other commercial "persons" (as opposed to labor unions, etc.) is that they are run on a ond-dollar-one-vote basis rather than one-person-one-vote.  For commercial speech like product advertisements, this is no problem.  But when they intervene in the political sphere, where decision-making is supposed to be democratic, they distort the process.  So require all corporations doing business in interstaet commerce to get a federal charter that allows unlimited political speech as long as it has been approved by ALL employees (including part-timers) on a one-person-one-vote basis.  

  •  *bing* *bing* *bing* we have a... (0+ / 0-)

    ...winner!

    Because what you are suggesting is that the courts who created corporations as persons, gave birth to corporations as persons, and there could be an argument made that that was the Court's error to start with, not Austin or McConnell, but the fact that the Court imbued a creature of State law with human characteristics.

    This is such a fundamental source of so much of the problems that face this nation today that I just about stopped reading and came to post a comment, and without reading the other comments first.

    Most of this website is pretty much libertarian bullsh*t, but this is one pretty good description of just what went wrong, and when:.

    SANTA CLARA COUNTY v. SOUTHERN PACIFIC RAILROAD COMPANY [1886]
    118 U.S. 394
    Error to the Circuit Court of the United States for the District of California

    Editor's notes: There has been much misunderstanding about this Court decision. Despite the issue being raised in arguments, the Justices offered no written opinion on the question of whether corporations should be considered "persons" and enjoy the protections of the 14th Amendment. The Court reporter's notes, however, quoted Chief Justice Waite declaring that, "We all are of the opinion" that the 14th Amendement applies to corporations.

    Many people (rightfully) are outraged that a Court reporter could turn the Bill of Rights and 14th Amendment on their heads, which effectively is what occured once Santa Clara was cited as precedent in subsequent cases. However, the fact that the Justices never issued an opinion on "corporate personhood" lost its legal significance once they cited the case.

    - bp

  •  Simple (Ihope) question: (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PsychoSavannah

    Please somebody tell me.

    How come if I am a person and a corporation is a person, I am restricted to giving only $2300 to a candidate and a corporation can give megabucks?

    I was wise enough to never grow up while fooling most people into believing I had. - Margaret Mead

    by fayea on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 12:53:39 PM PST

    •  A corporation can't give directly to a candidate. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      PsychoSavannah, Sean Parnell

      But if Citizens United wins, it could run unlimited, non-coordinated ads supporting a candidate.

      Show Dems in R-Leaning Districts Who Voted For Health Care, Against Stupak: We've Got Your Back

      by Adam B on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 01:07:01 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well, going on first amendment grounds, (0+ / 0-)

        what's your rationale for restricting corporations' right to donate directly to candidates? Or, rather, if SCOTUS decides as we expect it will, won't that create a precedent that could lead to allowing corporations to donate directly to candidates?

        Also, though, will this apply solely to federal campaigns? Or are corporations now free to make unlimited independent expenditures on city council campaigns and state legislative races, regardless of state laws on the subject?

        And how likely is it that the court will allow for express advocacy? Citizens United, after all, didn't include a statement calling on folks to vote against Hillary. Will corporations now be able to cross that line as well?

        •  Because with direct contributions ... (0+ / 0-)

          ... among other thing, you'd have to be able to police the line between citizens and foreign nationals.  And so I predict that courts would say that a ban on non-persons making direct contributions serves valuable anti-corruption interests.

          The Citizens United ruling would apply to speech pertaining to state and local candidates as well.  As for the express advocacy point, that's been so limited to the "magic words" things as to be irrelevant.

          Show Dems in R-Leaning Districts Who Voted For Health Care, Against Stupak: We've Got Your Back

          by Adam B on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 02:18:15 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Re: express advocacy (0+ / 0-)

            I disagree. I think it does make a difference whether an ad contains the magic words, simply as a matter of perception.

            For one thing, the lack of express advocacy is a pretty significant marker that an organization is running a shell game in order to influence the political process. I always find myself asking, "they just want me to call? But how do they want me to vote?"

            Also, as a matter of substance, imagine a marketing piece or fundraising letter without an "ask." The effectiveness would depend on the ad agency, but that's a significant barrier.

  •  Great analysis (0+ / 0-)

    Adam. Not looking forward to tomorow but I do hope it can spur some bigger efforts on campaign finance reform.

  •  If Corporations Have Protected Speech... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    majyqman

    ...they can be Electors, Senators, Members of Congress, and Justices of the Supreme Court.

    Maybe I missed it, but the Constitution does not appear to require that these offices be held by natural persons.

  •  Freedom of speech (ha ha) (0+ / 0-)


    This is nothing but pandering to the right. Swift Boaters, anyone
    ??

  •  Hooray for Ginsberg and Sotomayor. Sotomayor (0+ / 0-)

    pointed out the truthiness in the personification of corporations.  Ginseberg followed up, when she remarked: "A corporation, after all, is not endowed by its creator with inalienable rights."

    Granny D* is in good company here, and this, with nuclear deterrents and some environmental steps forward, will likely get me to vote for Obama again.

    *Granny D:  " I say Money is money and speech is speech, and they have got nothing to do with each other!"

  •  Freedom of speech? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    polar bear

    Of course. Money talks.

  •  My best guess is that the Justices will not (0+ / 0-)

    rule to impede the First Amendment. If the voters want a Government for the People, then they must begin by building a Government of the People, by the people. As the Justices take their cues from the Constitution and Bill of Rights, so should the voters, most of whom are too busy with reality TV shows or other distractions to give a damn until they suddenly disagree with a specific decision or law or policy.  Sotomayer's response and question was right. This is a tougher question than appears on the surface. Ultimately though, it is not our Government, per se, that is responsible for the answers to these types of questions, it is the voters, the people. The majority of people don't even vote in major elections, let alone off years. So until the populace takes an interest in these tyes of questions, I would rather put my faith in the SCOTUS, who at the very least have an interest in the question, and the education to make an informed decision,

  •  RE: AFL-CIO's position on Citizens (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Adam B, wsexson, ravenwind, Sean Parnell

    Hi, Adam:
    Thanks for covering this issue. Just want to clarify a few points that many people misconstrue:

    The AFL-CIO is not a corporation.  It's covered by the current FECA express-advocacy prohibition because it's a labor organization.  In that respect the statute treats corporations and labor organizations in the same manner.  And, our argument to the Court as amicus in this case is a bit more complex than what you suggest, namely, that the AFL-CIO simply supports Citizens United's position that the Court should invalidate the FECA restriction on corporate independent expenditures.  Here's what we argued:  (1) Don't reach that issue because "Hillary: The Movie" didn't contain express advocacy, (2) If you do, and you reaffirm that restriction, don't accept the FEC's rationale that an officeholder's "gratitude" for an independent expenditure is corrupting and so justifies criminalizing that speech, and (3) Whatever you do, don't hold that union independent speech can be criminalized.

  •  about money, not speech (0+ / 0-)

    this isn't about speech, it is about money.  it is about legal bribery that pays for propaganda to manipulate the american people.  it is about undue influence over those who are supposed to represent all of us.  bribery is illegal, this has to be illegal.  

  •  Of course direct corporate financial contribution (0+ / 0-)

    are an issue.

    Because allowing corporate advocacy allows EXACTLY that with a limit equal to how much the political entity would have otherwise budgeted for advertising as there is nothing stopping them handing every advertising cost straight off with a script to a sympathetic corporation.

    And I've provided it before, and will again, but the definition of speech is:

    the faculty or power of speaking; oral communication; ability to express one's thoughts and emotions by speech sounds and gesture:

    To be capable of engaging in speech you must possess thoughts or emotions.

    A corporation as an entity does not possess either. Therefor it can not engage in this act.

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