Reading OPOL's thought provoking diary, And Then the Sky Fell, reminded me of Thomas Jefferson's quotes about corporations, which inspired me to continue OPOL's line of questioning what famous US patriots would say about the SCOTUS ruling in Citizens United vs. FEC.
I hope we shall...crush in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations, which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength and bid defiance to the laws of our country.
To consider the judges as the ultimate arbiters of all constitutional questions [is] a very dangerous doctrine indeed, and one which would place us under the despotism of an oligarchy. Our judges are as honest as other men and not more so. They have with others the same passions for party, for power, and the privilege of their corps. Their maxim is boni judicis est ampliare jurisdictionem [good justice is broad jurisdiction], and their power the more dangerous as they are in office for life and not responsible, as the other functionaries are, to the elective control. The Constitution has erected no such single tribunal, knowing that to whatever hands confided, with the corruptions of time and party, its members would become despots. It has more wisely made all the departments co-equal and co-sovereign within themselves.
Thomas Jefferson in the two quotes above, put his finger on two weaknesses in our democractic system, which the right wing has exploited in stacking the Supreme Court with justices, who are not "honest" and have "passions for party for power, and the privilege of their corps" and who are clearly beholden to the very "moneyed corporations, which dare to challenge our government to a trial by strength and bid defiance to the laws of our country."
How could any Supreme Court Justice honestly make the ridiculous claim that a corporation, which is not a citizen of our country or even human, has freedom of speech and, therefore, has the right to unlimited donations to the candidate of its choice, thus undermining our elections? Technically, Osama bin Laden himself, can make unlimited contributions through his "corporation," Al Qaeda, to determine our elections. This ruling is not only irrational, but treasonous.
The elite minority has out maneuvered our US Constitutional safeguards, using the very weaknesses in our system that Thomas Jefferson wisely discerned over 200 years ago, to thwart the power of We the People.
In 1804, Thomas Jefferson wrote to Abigail Adams:
The Constitution . . . meant that its coordinate branches should be checks on each other. But the opinion which gives to the judges the right to decide what laws are constitutional and what not, not only for themselves in their own sphere of action but for the Legislature and Executive also in their spheres, would make the Judiciary a despotic branch.
The Supreme Court is despotic, ruling that George W. Bush was to be our President in 2000, without properly counting all the votes in Florida, which would have proved Al Gore won, and overturning clean election laws banning unlimited corporate election spending by ruling in favor of corporate personhood in Citizen United vs. FEC.
Thomas Jefferson was concerned about judges appointed for life and favored periodic renewals of their terms of service:
Let the future appointments of judges be for four or six years and renewable by the President and Senate. This will bring their conduct at regular periods under revision and probation, and may keep them in equipoise between the general and special governments. We have erred in this point by copying England, where certainly it is a good thing to have the judges independent of the King. But we have omitted to copy their caution also, which makes a judge removable on the address of both legislative houses. --Thomas Jefferson to William T. Barry, 1822
Thomas Jefferson understood how difficult it would be to get the required votes to impeach a judge guilty of misconduct and believed periodic renewals of their terms of service to be a more realistic mechanism to keep the judges in line.
We require a majority of one house and two-thirds of the other [for removal of a judge]--a concurrence which in practice has been and ever will be found impossible; for the judicial perversions of the Constitution will forever be protected under the pretext of errors of judgment, which by principle are exempt from punishment. Impeachment, therefore, is a bugbear which they fear not at all. But they would be under some awe of the canvass of their conduct which would be open to both houses regularly every sixth year." --Thomas Jefferson to James Pleasants, 1821.
Supreme Court Justice Alito exemplified bias in his behavior at the SOTU. Glenn Greenwald wrote
...the behavior of Justice Alito at last night's State of the Union address -- visibly shaking his head and mouthing the words "not true" when Obama warned of the dangers of the Court's Citizens United ruling -- was a serious and substantive breach of protocol that reflects very poorly on Alito and only further undermines the credibility of the Court.
in his article, Justice Alito's conduct and the Court's credibility.
What can We the People do now to save our democracy?
Fran Korten, publisher of "Yes! Magaizine," wrote 10 Ways to Stop Corporate Dominance of Politics