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Im not going to pretend to really understand this yet but I know that this needs to be paid attention to.

It started with a clip from the PBS Newshour from yesterday April 27 2011.

The U.S. Supreme Court considered today when lawmakers should recuse themselves from voting on official business. A city councilman in Reno, Nev., had voted on a casino project, even though his campaign manager served as a consultant for it. An ethics commission censured the councilman, but the state Supreme Court ruled the ethics law violated his free speech rights.

I remember that Citizens United started off as some unheard of small case that nobody cared about.  The justices seemed to be on the right side until suddenly they greatly expanded the case and decided that "it was wrong to not allow corporations to 'speak' as much as they are financially capable of".

This case seems to suggest that ethics rules that prohibit elected officials from favoring entities that either paid them or may improve their financial status would actually be an infringement upon their free speech rights.

In other words,  politicans have the right to break the law becasue to not allow it would infringe upon their freedom of speech.

absurdity.  I hope Im misunderstanding this.

I think the justices on the US Supreme Court are mostly thinking Ok so far but they were at the beginning of Citizens United as I recall.

see this link at SCOTUS blog

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Comment Preferences

  •  IMHO (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    echo still

    I don't know about anyone else; but I'm getting tired of the excuse "freedom of speech  to allow lies, liars and "hate speech"  to be considered part of our " rights." Why can't we include "respect"  and consideration of others in that too? I see it all the time, not just in politics.

    •  Because Free Speech Allows That (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ColoTim, ajr111240

      I'm an extremely one who opposes speech and press rights as sweepingly put in the Bill of Rights. But I recognize they're there and that there's no chance of getting a serious discussion going of a different approach.

      But I'd think that freedom of "speech" would not extend to the ability of a government official to rule on an issue he's interested in. But IANAL.

      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 Thu Apr 28, 2011 at 11:56:11 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  NPR had this yesterday as well. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    echo still, ajr111240

    The point they made was that there are Supreme Court justices who aren't subject to the same ethics laws as other federal judges, and they're going to be deciding if this is something that should be an issue nationwide, at all levels (they'd decide this case, but their decision would have impact all over).

    I'm betting that the current court decides that nobody should be held to having to recuse themselves no matter what the reason, since their participation, including vote, speech, association, etc, are all guaranteed by the Bill of Rights.

    I profoundly feel that elected or appointed officials should recuse themselves from decisions where there is an appearance of a conflict of interest.  I understand the arguments put forth in this case - that someone who voted on whether to allow a casino to be built by someone who is financially linked (to the tune of $10K/month) to that official as well as being a friend and volunteer for that official, might mean that some people would not volunteer or associate with officials because of conflicts, but this kind of non-recusal makes it appear that there's payback for the well-connected.  

    This is an interesting case, but I'm fearing for this country when basically this is decided - I could see bribery being made legal (not talking just in Florida) because corporations and individuals are just speaking with their money and the people they buy are going to be making decisions on how much to award those people in exchange for the bribe.

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