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In a 5-4 decision today, the Supreme Court struck down Arizona's clean elections law, placing similar state and local laws in severe constitutional jeopardy.

Arizona's law allowed qualified candidates to choose to forego private fundraising and instead receive an initial grant and supplemental "fair fight" matching funds from the state to have an opportunity to campaign and get the message out depending on what the opposition was spending.  The challenge was raised by past and future Arizona candidates complaining that the matching funds provision severely burdened their exercise of protected political speech by punishing them for making, receiving, or spending campaign contributions.

The Court's decision today was largely built off its decision striking down the "Millionaire's Amendment" three years ago.  The Chief Justice writes for the five you'd expect, saying that you can't trigger funding to one candidate based on spending on behalf of a rival:

The State argues that the matching funds provision actually results in more speech by “increas[ing] debate about issues of public concern” in Arizona elections and “promot[ing] the free and open debate that the First Amendment was intended to foster.” In the State’s view, this promotion of First Amendment ideals offsets any burden the law might impose on some speakers.

Not so. Any increase in speech resulting from the Arizona law is of one kind and one kind only—that of publicly financed candidates. The burden imposed on privately financed candidates and independent expenditure groups reduces their speech; “restriction[s] on the amount of money a person or group can spend on political communication during a campaign necessarily reduces the quantity of expression.” Thus, even if the matching funds provision did result in more speech by publicly financed candidates and more speech in general, it would do so at the expense of impermissibly burdening (and thus reducing) the speech of privately financed candidates and independent expenditure groups. This sort of “beggar thy neighbor” approach to free speech—“restrict[ing] the speech of some elements of our society in order to enhance the relative voice of others”—is “wholly foreign to the First Amendment ."

We have rejected government efforts to increase the speech of some at the expense of others outside the campaign finance context. In Miami Herald Publishing Co. v. Tornillo, we held unconstitutional a Florida law that required any newspaper assailing a political candidate’s character to allow that candidate to print a reply. We have explained that while the statute in that case “purported to advance free discussion, … its effect was to deter newspapers from speaking out in the first instance” because it “penalized the newspaper’s own expression.” Such a penalty, we concluded, could not survive First Amendment scrutiny. The Arizona law imposes a similar penalty: The State grants funds to publicly financed candidates as a direct result of the speech of privately financed candidates and independent expenditure groups. The argument that this sort of burden promotes free and robust discussion is no more persuasive here than it was in Tornillo .

And they look at Arizona practice:
The record contains examples of specific candidates curtailing fundraising efforts, and actively discouraging supportive independent expenditures, to avoid triggering matching funds. The record also includes examples of independent expenditure groups deciding not to speak in opposition to a candidate, or in s,upport of a candidate, to avoid triggering matching funds. In addition, Dr. David Primo, an expert involved in the case, “found that privately financed candidates facing the prospect of triggering matching funds changed the timing of their fundraising activities, the timing of their expenditures, and, thus, their overall campaign strategy.”

The State contends that if the matching funds provision truly burdened the speech of privately financed candidates and independent expenditure groups, spending on behalf of privately financed candidates would cluster just below the triggering level, but no such phenomenon has been observed. That should come as no surprise. The hypothesis presupposes a privately funded candidate who would spend his own money just up to the matching funds threshold, when he could have simply taken matching funds in the first place.

Furthermore, the Arizona law takes into account all manner of uncoordinated political activity in awarding matching funds. If a privately funded candidate wanted to hover just below the triggering level, he would have to make guesses about how much he will receive in the form of contributions and supportive independent expenditures. He might well guess wrong.

And "leveling the playing field" is not a sufficient constitutional interest.
 “Leveling the playing field” can sound like a good thing. But in a democracy, campaigning for office is not a game. It is a critically important form of speech. The First Amendment embodies our choice as a Nation that, when it comes to such speech, the guiding principle is freedom—the “unfettered interchange of ideas”—not whatever the State may view as fair.
Nor does is a sufficient response to alleged corruption, and independent expenditures can't corrupt, they maintain (see: Citizens United).

So let's go to the dissent, penned by Justice Kagan, and it's a good one:

At every turn, the majority tries to convey the impression that Arizona’s matching fund statute is of a piece with laws prohibiting electoral speech. The majority invokes the language of “limits,” “bar[s],” and “restraints.” It equates the law to a “restrictio[n] on the amount of money a person or group can spend on political communication during a campaign.” It insists that the statute “restrict[s] the speech of some elements of our society” to enhance the speech of others. And it concludes by reminding us that the point of the First Amendment is to protect “against unjustified government restrictions on speech.”

There is just one problem. Arizona’s matching funds provision does not restrict, but instead subsidizes, speech. The law “impose[s] no ceiling on [speech] and do[es] not prevent anyone from speaking.” Citizens United v. Federal Election Comm’n , 558 U. S. _, _ (2010) (slip op., at 51) The statute does not tell candidates or their supporters how much money they can spend to convey their message, when they can spend it, or what they can spend it on. Rather, the Arizona law, like the public financing statute in Buckley , provides funding for political speech, thus “facilitat[ing] communication by candidates with the electorate.” By enabling participating candidates to respond to their opponents’ expression, the statute expands public debate, in adherence to “our tradition that more speech, not less, is the governing rule.

And now I need to excerpt at length, because this is Justice Kagan's first great opinion.  Enjoy:
This suit, in fact, may merit less attention than any challenge to a speech subsidy ever seen in this Court. In the usual First Amendment subsidy case, a person complains that the government declined to finance his speech, while bankrolling someone else’s; we must then decide whether the government differentiated between these speakers on a prohibited basis—because it preferred one speaker’s ideas to another’s. But the candidates bringing this challenge do not make that claim—because they were never denied a subsidy. Arizona, remember, offers to support any person running for state office. Petitioners here refused that assistance. So they are making a novel argument: that Arizona violated their First Amendment rights by disbursing funds to other speakers even though they could have received (but chose to spurn) the same financial assistance. Some people might call that chutzpah.

Indeed, what petitioners demand is essentially a right to quash others’ speech through the prohibition of a (universally available) subsidy program. Petitioners are able to convey their ideas without public financing—and they would prefer the field to themselves, so that they can speak free from response. To attain that goal, they ask this Court to prevent Arizona from funding electoral speech—even though that assistance is offered to every state candidate, on the same (entirely unobjectionable) basis. And this Court gladly obliges.

If an ordinary citizen, without the hindrance of a law degree, thought this result an upending of First Amendment values, he would be correct. That Amendment protects no person’s, nor any candidate’s, “right to be free from vigorous debate.” Indeed, the Amendment exists so that this de-bate can occur—robust, forceful, and contested. It is the theory of the Free Speech Clause that “falsehood and fallacies” are exposed through “discussion,” “education,” and “more speech.”  Or once again from Citizens United: “[M]ore speech, not less, is the governing rule.”  And this is no place more true than in elections, where voters’ ability to choose the best representatives depends on debate—on charge and countercharge, call and response. So to invalidate a statute that restricts no one’s speech and discriminates against no idea—that only provides more voices, wider discussion, and greater competition in elections—is to undermine, rather than to enforce, the First Amendment.

[There's a lot of great doctrinal stuff here which space reasons compel me to skip over.]  Moreover, Justice Kagan argues, this program was in furtherance of a compelling governmental interest:
Our campaign finance precedents leave no doubt: Preventing corruption or the appearance of corruption is a compelling government interest. And so too, these precedents are clear: Public financing of elections serves this interest. As Buckley recognized, and as I earlier described, public financing “reduce[s] the deleterious influence of large contributions on our political process.” When private contributions fuel the political system, candidates may make corrupt bargains to gain the money needed to win election. And voters, seeing the dependence of candidates on large contributors (or on bundlers of smaller contributions), may lose faith that their representatives will serve the public’s interest. Public financing addresses these dangers by minimizing the importance of private donors in elections. Even the majority appears to agree with this premise. (“We have said that … ‘public financing as a means of eliminating the improper influence of large private contributions furthers a significant governmental interest’ ”).

This compelling interest appears on the very face of Arizona’s public financing statute. Start with the title: The Citizens Clean Elections Act. Then proceed to the statute’s formal findings. The public financing program, the findings state, was “inten[ded] to create a clean elections system that will improve the integrity of Arizona state government by diminishing the influence of special-interest money.” That measure was needed because the prior system of private fundraising had “[u]ndermine[d] public confidence in the integrity of public officials;” allowed those officials “to accept large campaign contributions from private interests over which they [had] governmental jurisdiction;” favored “a small number of wealthy special interests” over “the vast majority of Arizona citizens;” and “[c]os[t] average taxpayers millions of dollars in the form of subsidies and special privileges for campaign contributors.” The State, appearing before us, has reiterated its important anti-corruption interest. The Clean Elections Act, the State avers, “deters quid pro quo corruption and the appearance of corruption by providing Arizona candidates with an option to run for office without depending on outside contributions.” And so Arizona, like many state and local governments, has implemented public financing on the theory (which this Court has previously approved, see supra , at 5), that the way to reduce political corruption is to diminish the role of private donors in campaigns.

And that interest justifies the matching funds provision at issue because it is a critical facet of Arizona’s public financing program. The provision is no more than a disbursement mechanism; but it is also the thing that makes the whole Clean Elections Act work.

Which leads to the Big Finish:
This case arose because Arizonans wanted their government to work on behalf of all the State’s people. On the heels of a political scandal involving the near-routine purchase of legislators’ votes, Arizonans passed a law de-signed to sever political candidates’ dependence on large contributors. They wished, as many of their fellow Americans wish, to stop corrupt dealing—to ensure that their representatives serve the public, and not just the wealthy donors who helped put them in office. The legislation that Arizona’s voters enacted was the product of deep thought and care. It put into effect a public financing system that attracted large numbers of candidates at a sustainable cost to the State’s taxpayers. The system discriminated against no ideas and prevented no speech. Indeed, by increasing electoral competition and enabling a wide range of candidates to express their views, the system “further[ed] … First Amendment values.” Less corruption, more speech. Robust campaigns leading to the election of representatives not beholden to the few, but accountable to the many. The people of Arizona might have expected a decent respect for those objectives.

     Today, they do not get it. The Court invalidates Arizonans’ efforts to ensure that in their State, “ ‘[t]he people … possess the absolute sovereignty.’ ” Id. , at 274 (quoting James Madison in 4 Elliot’s Debates on the Federal Constitution 569–570 (1876)). No precedent compels the Court to take this step; to the contrary, today’s decision is in tension with broad swaths of our First Amendment doctrine. No fundamental principle of our Constitution backs the Court’s ruling; to the contrary, it is the law struck down today that fostered both the vigorous competition of ideas and its ultimate object—a government responsive to the will of the people. Arizonans deserve better. Like citizens across this country, Arizonans deserve a government that represents and serves them all. And no less, Arizonans deserve the chance to reform their electoral system so as to attain that most American of goals.

 Truly, democracy is not a game. I respectfully dissent.

For what it's worth, the Brennan Center notes that public financing is by no means dead:
"Of note, such systems can exist and thrive without the kinds of triggers in the Arizona law. The presidential system did not have triggers, and proposed federal public financing laws for Congress do not either.

"In addition, innovative reforms such as New York City's system, which matches small contributions, can give candidates a chance to compete. Today's ruling does not undercut the effectiveness of such pro-democracy reforms."

Rick Hasen adds:
Campaign finance laws have now gone 0 for 5 in the Roberts Court. Monday’s Supreme Court decision striking down the matching funds portion of Arizona’s voluntary public financing law—which provided extra public financing for candidates facing free-spending opponents or major outside spending—was no surprise....

[However], the Court did not level a death blow to public financing laws. Instead, it said that the decision of cities, states, or Congress enact public financing is “not our business.” The problem with Arizona’s law was not that it gave public financing for elections to candidates, but that it pegged the amount of financing to the political spending of opponents or independent groups opposing the candidate. But lump sum payments should be okay.

The big question left open is the fate of public financing programs such as New York City’s, which give extra matching funds to participating candidates who collect small donations. This program doesn’t directly violate the rule in today’s Arizona case, because the amount received is not triggered by opponent spending. But the question will be whether the motive for such programs is to level the playing field. Under the Roberts Court’s view of the First Amendment, such an interest remains verboten, even if, as Justice Kagan points out, the law also is justified on anticorruption grounds. Without something like additional matching funds, it is hard to see how governments will enact public financing programs that are both constitutional and attractive enough to candidates.

To be sure, campaign finance proponents still lost. The Roberts Court remains hostile to the need to control money in politics. But we may not be seeing the full end of campaign finance law, at least not yet, and Justice Kagan has shown that the other side won’t go down without a fight.

See also Seneca Doane's reclisted diary.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Mon Jun 27, 2011 at 01:30 PM PDT.

Also republished by Discussing The Law: TalkLeft's View On Law and Politics.

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Comment Preferences

  •  What does this mean? (6+ / 0-)
    Arizona's law allowed qualified candidates to choose to forego private fundraising and instead receive an initial grant and supplemental "fair fight" matching funds from the state to have an opportunity to campaign and get the message out depending on what the opposition was spending.

    To every millionaire who decries they don't want their grandchildren paying for the deficit, I say: PAY MORE TAXES NOW and your grandkids won't have a deficit burden.

    by gooderservice on Mon Jun 27, 2011 at 01:33:49 PM PDT

  •  Why buy elections when you can rent (9+ / 0-)

    the politicians so much cheaper?  (They depreciate terribly as soon as you drive them off the lot, but it's tough to beat that "just re-elected" smell.)

    Umm, that's PRESIDENT Obama and SENATOR Franken, mr. o'reilly.

    by filby on Mon Jun 27, 2011 at 01:34:07 PM PDT

    •  The Market Analogy - Anti-Democratic Activities (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      nomorerepukes, filby, IdaMena2, aliasalias

      This decision and the series of campaign funding decisions from this same Reagan/Bush majority that have preceded it,  mouth platitudes about protecting the "marketplace of ideas", but in realty they sanction and support the political equivalent of combinations in restraint of trade, price fixing and political monopolies engaging in anti-competitive (anti-democratic) practices.

      Where such anti-competitive activities are almost universally recognized as a threat to true competition and efficient allocation of resources that effectively respond to consumers' demands in an economic system based on the principles of free enterprise, the US Supreme Court, while relying on the analogy of competition in the political 'marketplace' is all-but blind to the concept that the structure of such a system must be protected from manipulation and distortions of powerful participants that seek success not from merit but from the exercise of raw power.  From Adam Smith forward, such protections have been acknowledged as essential to the health and effectiveness of a 'free market'.   But when it comes to the 'marketplace of ideas' today's majority evidently believes that these principles do not apply.

      Yet outside of the ivory tower from which the Court views the American political system, these anti-competitive/anti-democratic forces operate to usurp the Constitutionally guaranteed powers of the people to elect our own leaders.  They steal these powers  from flesh and blood Americans "of, by and for" which our government is supposed to conduct its affairs and redistribute them to a very small percentage of people (some US citizens - some not) who have become increasingly able and willing to elect those they favor and demand favors from those they elect.

      When added to the already considerable wealth and power of this global neo-royalty, the additional ability to influence elections that flows from this SCOTUS decision will allow these neo-royals to accumulate even more political power and through that power to demand even more unfair advantages in - and often exemptions from - the competitive disciplines of the free enterprise system under which the vast majority of Mainstreet American businesses continue to operate. These unfair economic advantages harm not only their less-advantaged Mainstreet competitors (businesses small enough to fail who cannot afford the millions of dollars in "club membership"  fees that give access to and influence over the seats of power).   These unfair economic advantages also harm the consumers who are deprived of the benefits of real competition based on merit and who must pay the long-term and indirect costs shifted onto them through trade, regulatory and tax policy.   On a more fundamental basis, the continued growth of these anti-competitive powers also undermines the underlying economic system, distorting how it works and destroying both its integrity and credibility.

      As in economics, so too politics and government.  

      It is not surprising that those who most fervently pushed to overturn the political level playing field protections enacted into law by the State of Arizona would do so by using the rhetoric of free enterprise (the 'marketplace of ideas").  What may be surprising to some is that these political/economic forces have no more commitment to a level playing field in the economic marketplace than they do in the political marketplace. In both spheres, their free market rhetoric appeals to the public while their anything-to-win conduct serves only the narrow bottom line measuring their own accumulation of both economic and political assets (wealth and power.)  

      But even this neo-royalty cannot reside entirely in their shadow world of finance or politics. Like gravity, some rules cannot be ignored or suspended.  In both economics and politics,  sufficiently widespread activities that are antithetical to the basic principles on which the system is founded can frustrate the societal function the system is designed to serve and if such activities are sufficiently sustained they can destroy not only the function, but the system itself.  

      For example, pushed too far in a national or global economy, anti-competitive and antithetical practices have led to financial meltdowns and economic recessions/depressions.

      Pushed too far in a political system, anti-democratic practices could very well result in some dangerous political equivalents.

      We'd rather dream the American Dream than fight to live it or to give it to our kids. What a shame. What an awful, awful shame.

      by Into The Woods on Mon Jun 27, 2011 at 03:41:24 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  One just has to love this Bush/Bush Sr./Reagan - (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Samer, Amber6541, skohayes

    dominated court.

    Ah well, that's what 30 years of conservative dominance will do to ya.

    Imo, the way the S.C. is seated is one of the most outdated parts of the govt.

    "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle" - Mohammed Nabbous, R.I.P.

    by Lawrence on Mon Jun 27, 2011 at 01:37:00 PM PDT

  •  The United States Of America: (19+ / 0-)

    A wholly owned subsidiary of the corporate rich.

    Republicans are like the Weeping Angels: Take your eyes off of them and they'll send you back in time.

    by jazzmaniac on Mon Jun 27, 2011 at 01:37:53 PM PDT

  •  Looks like (14+ / 0-)

    Elena Kagan - while not being able to build a majority - did us proud.

    I know that some here were suspicious of her liberal bona fides. I'd say that she continues to prove them wrong.

  •  Corporate rights Trump State's rights (17+ / 0-)

    which trump individual rights.

    Roberts & the Royalist Republicans want to return us to the days of the Holy Roman Empire.

    Kagan sets teh record straight in her dissent. This decision quashes speech and promotes corruption.

    look for my eSci diary series Thursday evening. "It's the planet, stupid."

    by FishOutofWater on Mon Jun 27, 2011 at 01:41:43 PM PDT

    •  Corporate Rights are trumping ALL RIGHTS (4+ / 0-)

      and there has to be a way for People to sue to change/fix that.  Somehow, People became Second-Class Citizens to the Corporation's enjoyed First-Class status (not to mention their tax status, but that's for another day).

      None of this shit we see now with our Law was ever what was intended for this nation. This second-class status must change for people, somehow, if we're to preserve any sort of orderly way of life, period. If People are at the mercy of the Corporate, with no recourse other than bought-and-sold elections, there is no more government.

      REPEAL the Telecomm Act & REVIEW this decision. NO journalist should be fired because their boss can't have the truth told.

      by lunachickie on Mon Jun 27, 2011 at 02:23:29 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Behind the Corporate Veil Are Wealthy and Powerful (0+ / 0-)

        individuals, some of whom are Americans, some of whom are not.

        Until a corporation is large enough to digest 6 figure campaign contributions/expenditures and 7 figure lobbying expenses, it gains little benefit and poses little threat being granted that status.

        So what we're really talking about is the large and most often global corporations and the 10% or less of the people that own 90% of their stock, bonds and equity interests.  

        When these corporations are treated as "people" whose political  speech is protected by the 1st Amendment, and when money is treated as "speech", we have effectively annointed those who own and control tham as a new economic monarchy.  

        Remembering their are people behind the curtain is terribly important for a variety of reasons.  

        For instance, the members of this new economic royalty should remember that in the past when the French gullotine whistled its brief but poignant song it was not just the monarchy that died, it was also the monarchs.

        We'd rather dream the American Dream than fight to live it or to give it to our kids. What a shame. What an awful, awful shame.

        by Into The Woods on Mon Jun 27, 2011 at 04:01:44 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  My big worry is (0+ / 0-)

        That some lunatic(s) will go literally ballistic against those at the top of the corporate class, causing a massive totalitarian backlash.

        We're at a remarkably risky place in history.

        The Roberts court is not helping to reduce the risk.

  •  Think I'm with the majority on this one (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    enhydra lutris

    Though I haven't read the decision so I'll reserve my ultimate judgment.

    Let's say a candidate is near the limit for triggering matching funds. Would you donate to that candidate knowing that it would give free money to the other candidate? You wouldn't think about those consequences, really? Since I suspect everyone here would consider the consequences, the majority is right that this is a limit on free speech.

    •  So it's only free speech if you can shout (10+ / 0-)

      the other side down?  That's not how it works.  (Or not how it worked.)

      To protect the Latino "community of interest" in redistricting Orange County, Santa Ana, eastern Garden Grove, and central Anaheim must be in the same legislative districts.

      by Seneca Doane on Mon Jun 27, 2011 at 01:44:33 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  no, no, no. (10+ / 0-)

        It's only free if you can pay for it.

        "Intolerance is something which belongs to the religions we have rejected." - J.J. Rousseau -6.38, -4.15

        by James Allen on Mon Jun 27, 2011 at 01:51:28 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  well, duh (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          caul

          running ads cost money. So does holding rallies. Sure, anyone can make a cardboard sign and rant on a streetcorner for a nominal cost, and most people with access to a computer and the internet can make a cheap or free website, but otherwise, political speech costs money.

      •  I don't think that's a fair summary of my comment (0+ / 0-)

        yes, it's a problem that monied interests can "shout the other side down" but whether you like it or not, the First Amendment doesn't allow the government to limit anyone's speech, which I think is a fair description of what's happening. Also, in some these cases the  candidate is dissuaded from raising more than the triggering limit, and at that amount it's definitely not the case that one side is "shouting anyone down."

        •  Alas, it is a fair summary (6+ / 0-)

          It's not limiting speech.  "Speak, rich people, speak all you want!  You just don't get your speech to preempt a response, which is what you want."

          Some people might argue that raising money is good because it lets one get out one's own message regardless of whether someone else can counter it.

          To protect the Latino "community of interest" in redistricting Orange County, Santa Ana, eastern Garden Grove, and central Anaheim must be in the same legislative districts.

          by Seneca Doane on Mon Jun 27, 2011 at 01:59:26 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Please answer my initial questions. (0+ / 0-)

            Suppose a candidate you support is near the limit where it would trigger the opposing candidate getting free money. Do you not donate to the candidate? Do you weigh the consequences for donating or not? If either of those things are true, and I suspect it is for most sophisticated political actors, then it's a limit on free speech. The government is not allowed to enact consequences for speaking, and giving free money to a candidate you don't support because you exercised your first amendment rights is impermissible.

            •  It's really funny (4+ / 0-)

              how conservatives are so protective of the potency of the spending power in other contexts.

              By your standard, the First Amendment requires state legislators to refrain from speaking on publicly funded state television (after all, it confers an unfair advantage on them, paid for by taxpayers, that might dissuade donors from contributing to an opponent).

              Ok, so I read the polls.

              by andgarden on Mon Jun 27, 2011 at 02:15:24 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Sorry, you might need to rephrase your argument (0+ / 0-)

                I'm not following you... Why can't legislators speak on public television? Why would it dissuade donors from contributing to an opponent?

                •  They would be using the advantage (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  radical simplicity

                  of incumbency and their official position to amplify their political speech.

                  Perhaps that's unethical in its own right and ought to be prohibited. But I think your reasoning would suggest that it is unconstitutional because it might cause his donors to "weigh the consequences for donating or not[.]"

                  Heck, what about when the President gives a press conference from inside the White House?

                  Ok, so I read the polls.

                  by andgarden on Mon Jun 27, 2011 at 02:29:07 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  still don't really understand (0+ / 0-)

                    I still don't understand your argument. My reasoning is that the law stating that if I give 1 more dollar to candidate A then the candidate B gets 1 dollar, is unconstitutional because even though I want to give 1 dollar to candidate A, I might not want candidate B to get the dollar also, and I might be dissuaded from speaking. This is unconstitutional because the government is not allowed to enact policies that limit or dissuade people from speaking.  I fail to see how when an incumbent goes on public tv, it limits or dissuades me from supporting the other candidate. I guess if the incumbent got lots of free supportive airtime every night on that station that would be unconstitutional also, though for different reasons (probably along the lines of using taxpayer money for forced political speech, though I doubt anybody would ever have standing to challenge that).

                    •  If you are disuaded from "speaking" solely (0+ / 0-)

                      because your desire to suppress the speech of others outweighs, in your mind, the importance of your own speech and its content, then it is not the state restricting your speech, but your own fear of the ineffectuality of your ideas and platform.

                      That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

                      by enhydra lutris on Mon Jun 27, 2011 at 10:17:08 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

            •  If I think that my candidate will get the better (4+ / 0-)

              of the deal based on the superior content of his or her speech, then I donate.

              If I'd only donate if I didn't care whether that was true, then I'm not seeking "free speech," but "uncontested speech."

              To protect the Latino "community of interest" in redistricting Orange County, Santa Ana, eastern Garden Grove, and central Anaheim must be in the same legislative districts.

              by Seneca Doane on Mon Jun 27, 2011 at 02:24:03 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  I would donate to my candidate, for my (0+ / 0-)

              goal would be to facilitate my candidates speech, not to suppress possible speech of assorted rivals. I would be supporting my candidate's ability to spread his/her thesis. position and arguments. If it also allowed the opposition greater ability to speak, so be it, I support my candidates because they have the better ideas, positions and programs and should win a speech fest on the merits.

              You confuse suppression of oppositional speech with promotion of your own candidate's speech.

              That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

              by enhydra lutris on Mon Jun 27, 2011 at 10:15:03 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  exactly and what too many forget, this was (7+ / 0-)

            enacted by voter referendum in response to corruption in our state legislature.

            This statute in no way limited the free speech of anyone....They are completely able to spend whatever they wanted with no restrictions....All it did was allow a response.....

            Also, this only invalidates the matching funds provision as I understand it, the rest of our public financing system is intact......

            Easy way around this decision imo is to allow publicly funded candidates to accept private contributions once their opponent exceeds the cap.....

            Then it's a private bump and not public which should pass muster imo....Though it seems that anything they want goes with this majority.....

            Vaya con Dios Don Alejo
            I want to die a slave to principles. Not to men.
            Emiliano Zapata

            by buddabelly on Mon Jun 27, 2011 at 02:12:52 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  the restriction is the free money given to (0+ / 0-)

              opposing candidates. You wouldn't care if every dollar you contributed to a democrat gave a dollar to the republican? Really?

              •  You need to explain (0+ / 0-)

                how the link that you find so objectionable rises to Constitutional import.

                Ok, so I read the polls.

                by andgarden on Mon Jun 27, 2011 at 02:32:33 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  any govt infringement on speech fails 1st. Amdt. (0+ / 0-)

                  If someone is dissuaded from speaking by a government action, that's a violation of the first amendment.

                  •  Not if they are disuaded for idiotic and (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    aliasalias

                    irrational reasons. If I am disuaded from speaking because the podium is brown and I have a pathological fear of brown, I am not being censored, I am, instead, being irrational.

                    That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

                    by enhydra lutris on Mon Jun 27, 2011 at 10:19:43 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

              •  Truthfully (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Seneca Doane

                I used to be against public financing of elections specifically for that reason.
                However, since Citizen's United and the gross amounts of money that  are about to be spent on the upcoming presidential election, I now support public financing.
                What could make things more equal than each candidate having the same amount of money to spend? Of course, with the CU decision, public financing wouldn't work in the kind of environment we have now.

                How come the dove gets to be the peace symbol? How about the pillow? It has more feathers than the dove and doesn't have that dangerous beak. Jack Handey

                by skohayes on Mon Jun 27, 2011 at 03:28:07 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  public financing is great, (0+ / 0-)

                  but when it's tied to triggers, I definitely think it's a problem.

                  •  what about a trigger that allows private (0+ / 0-)

                    contribution once opponent crosses the limit........

                    seems that allows the countering of speech with more speech but keeps the govt out of the funding except for the initial basic allowance......which we passed by initiative btw.....

                    Vaya con Dios Don Alejo
                    I want to die a slave to principles. Not to men.
                    Emiliano Zapata

                    by buddabelly on Mon Jun 27, 2011 at 04:06:06 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

          •  Also... (0+ / 0-)
            You just don't get your speech to preempt a response, which is what you want."

            How does the arizona law deal with rich people's speech preempting a response? It definitely pays for a response, but I fail to see how in the world without the Arizona law, anyone's response was preempted...

            •  Because it prevents the public from deciding (0+ / 0-)

              that it wants to hear from candidates regardless of their ability to pay.

              To protect the Latino "community of interest" in redistricting Orange County, Santa Ana, eastern Garden Grove, and central Anaheim must be in the same legislative districts.

              by Seneca Doane on Mon Jun 27, 2011 at 02:22:26 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  ok (0+ / 0-)

                I'm still not really sure I understand your point, but I don't think it relates to the constitutional issue so it's doesn't matter, I guess. I do like the idea of public funding, but when it serves as a powerful deterrent to speech, then it's not ok.

          •  Alas (0+ / 0-)
            You just don't get your speech to preempt a response, which is what you want.

            It's also what they just got from the Court of Dry Powder.

        •  1st Amendment Does Not Prohibit All Restrictions (0+ / 0-)

          so on that fundamental aspect you're starting from the wrong assumption.

          What needs to be identified is whether there is a compelling governmental purpose, the remedy is narrowly tailored to achieve that purpose and no other remedy would serve the purpose with less restrictive means.

          Protecting the 'free market' and a level playing field is sufficient purpose to prohibit price fixing and use of monopoly power to keep out or drive out competitors.  

          Why is not protecting "democracy", "free and fair elections", and "one-person-one-vote", a sufficiently compelling reason to potentionally, marginally discourage a campaign contribution if the goal of a campaign is to present the candidates and their messages and allow the public to make an informed choice between them?  

          If the goal is who can be the loudest, who can monopolize more of the time, who can crowd out the other candidate's message, of course that logic would not apply.

          But in any other forum where we as a people excercise our rights of self-government, in our clubs, our school boards, or Churches, our families, is it the content and character that should be the measure of our argument or is it truly how loud and how long we can talk?

          We'd rather dream the American Dream than fight to live it or to give it to our kids. What a shame. What an awful, awful shame.

          by Into The Woods on Mon Jun 27, 2011 at 04:22:42 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  of course there are some limits but... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Into The Woods
            Protecting the 'free market' and a level playing field is sufficient purpose to prohibit price fixing and use of monopoly power to keep out or drive out competitors.  

            Why is not protecting "democracy", "free and fair elections", and "one-person-one-vote", a sufficiently compelling reason to potentionally, marginally discourage a campaign contribution if the goal of a campaign is to present the candidates and their messages and allow the public to make an informed choice between them?  

            Well, I think my problem is that those are all such nebulous goals that there's no way to narrowly tailor any regulation for them. You can say that any campaign finance restriction is to help democracy or free and fair elections.  I'm actually not sure how you can make the argument that "one-person-one vote" can be improved by any restrictions on campaign finance. Seems that's an issue for electoral map/voting system discussions.

            Basically I think that political speech and campaign funding is the heart of the first Amendment. I really can't think of any restrictions on political speech (other than obvious time, place and manner restrictions, such as no political rallies at 4 am in a residential neighborhood), that would be permissible under the 1st Amendment. Maybe I'll accept contribution limits to an extent. I'm definitely in favor of forced disclosure of political contributions.

             

            •  The Congressional Findings the Supported (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              aliasalias

              McCain Feingold reform were extensive in their evidence of how money was corrupting both elections and governance.  

              Both the actual corruption and public impression of corruption being driven by the increasing need for campaign finance has taken a severe toll on credibility of our system with the public.  

              While acknowledging that maintaining public respect for the system and encouraging public participation in the system were both purposes at the very core of our democracy, the CU decision drew a line between quid pro quo exchanges that were clearly bribes and pretty much everything else.  The line was arbitary in the extreme and the justification given in that decision was either grossly naive or intentially obtuse.  

              Both in actual effect and in public perception, the growing need for and candidates' high levels of dependency on wealthy and corporate donors for their campaign money have obliterated that imaginary line.  

              Just as we continue to treat health care as a commodity (to our detriment as a society) we continue to treat elections as commodity to be bought and sold - not an argument  or even a popularity contest to be won or lost.

              The whole focus continues to take us away from the values upon which we all say we want these contests to be won and lost and pushes us towards a set of values and meaures of "best" that give us exactly the kind of ignorant, posturing, polarized government that we universally say we abhore.

              Serving a governmental purpose whose goal is to stop that self-reinforcing downward spiral would be sufficient purpose for the kind of minimal intrusion presented by the Arizona playing field leveler provisions - and staking all our attention on protecting the free speech of the most wealthy and powerful among us, when the underlying democracy which free speech is supposed to serve and protect is crumbling beneath us,  may be saving the oar but losing the boat.  

              We'd rather dream the American Dream than fight to live it or to give it to our kids. What a shame. What an awful, awful shame.

              by Into The Woods on Mon Jun 27, 2011 at 06:42:59 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  SD - Obama outspent McCain 4 to 1 (0+ / 0-)

        Senator McCain took the public money available for Presidential candidates in the GE, Senator Obama did not. Would you have been OK with McCain being given several hundred million for his 2008 campaign for POTUS to make his war chest the same as Obama's?

        "let's talk about that"

        by VClib on Mon Jun 27, 2011 at 03:31:31 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Citation, please (0+ / 0-)

          Also, would you mind figuring in independent expenditures, both from the national parties and supposedly non-coordinated groups?  Then I'll answer you.  Thanks.

          To protect the Latino "community of interest" in redistricting Orange County, Santa Ana, eastern Garden Grove, and central Anaheim must be in the same legislative districts.

          by Seneca Doane on Mon Jun 27, 2011 at 03:34:44 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  uh.. no! (6+ / 0-)

      I live in Arizona. And I have contributed to candidates running for the legislature.

      But first, what's wrong with your premise is that you accept that money equal speech. The whole idea behind the First Amendment is a "free marketplace of ideas". It's not that 'I can buy all the advertising time slots so you can't even get your ideas out'. It based on the best argument will win.

      Arizona's system requires public finance candidates to collect a certain number of $5 contributions to show that they have enough public support. The number of contributions vary with office; someone running for a house seat has to collect less than someone running for governor. They can accept very limited early donations but, I think, after qualifying as a Clean Elections Candidate they are limited to public financing.

      The whole idea that money is speech is what's distorting our politics. It says the Koch brothers, rightfully, have more speech than most of us. In practical terms it works out that way because I can't mount a million dollar campaign to get my views heard. But, in theory, it just crazy, and fundamentally wrong.

      A frustrated liberal/progressive living in a red district. I feel like a fish out of water.

      by gaardvark on Mon Jun 27, 2011 at 02:20:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well said n/t (0+ / 0-)

        How come the dove gets to be the peace symbol? How about the pillow? It has more feathers than the dove and doesn't have that dangerous beak. Jack Handey

        by skohayes on Mon Jun 27, 2011 at 03:29:20 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Speech is money only to the extent we seek a (0+ / 0-)

        level playing field.  For that purpose, money is speech (of the contributor) and according to the R&B* Majority cannot be limited.  (*Reagan and Bush)

        To the extent that electoral competitors have such disparate financial resources (increasingly from outside their electoral region) that money is the dominant factor in allowing or preventing a candidate's "speech" , then according to that same R&B Majority, money is suddenly stuck speechless and is irrelevant in a 1st Amendment analysis.

        Under their analysis, the answer may be right, but they are answering the wrong question.

        The "money is speech" canard just hides an assumption that the primary measure of political campaign should be how much money can it raise.

        The "competition" in the "marketplace" is increasingly not with ideas, it is competition for money.  

        If we are competing for money, then anything that prevents people from giving us money is a fundamental distortion of the contest.  As inkled in the Citizens United decision, the R&B Majority leans towards an almost libertarian approach to campaign fundraising and given its rationale, it is difficult to envision any restraint on the raising and spending of private money, no matter how extreme the source or impact.  (Again, public sourcing is met with an entirely different standard given how these 5 individuals define the nature of the competition.)

        If, on the other hand, we are competing for votes based on the content of our message and the character of our candidates (as implied by the term "marketplace of ideas"), then having each candidate have an equal amount of money poses no barrier to achieving that goal.

        The corrupted, winner take all, celebrity-worshiping, wealth-is-everthing strain of the American value system that assumes that the richer you are the better person you are, the more deserving, more righteous, more entitled, has overtaken our campaigns for elected office like a creeping weed.  

        The examples in business and sport where money or mechanisms are limited not to distort competition but to preserve the competition based on values on which we wish competition to be conducted are everywhere in our society.  

        The fact that 5 rich white guys appointed by Reagan and Bush are unwilling or unable to see that reveals that their understanding of the nature of these "contests" has become warped and shallow.  

        We'd rather dream the American Dream than fight to live it or to give it to our kids. What a shame. What an awful, awful shame.

        by Into The Woods on Mon Jun 27, 2011 at 04:51:34 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Other than the source of money (Govt) how is that (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Futuristic Dreamer

      different from traditional campaign funding.

      The risk of being outraised and outspent is always a motivation to raise and spend more.

      As a contributor, I know that.

      Does that knowledge cause me not to contribute?

      No.  

      Beyond that, is the most important means by which candidates compete the amount of money they raise and spend, or their character and their message?

      Which is intended to serve the others?

      There is a point at which the ability of narrow special interests to spend money distorts the marketplace of ideas to such an extent that competition based on merit is pushed aside and its place is taken by excercise of raw market power.  

      In the economic market measures to protect against such anti-competitive activities have long been held both necessary and constitutional because they protect not one individual competitor or even the consumers, but by protecting the integrity of the market structure itself, all are protected.

      The object here being even more important to protect, why do not the same principles apply?

      We'd rather dream the American Dream than fight to live it or to give it to our kids. What a shame. What an awful, awful shame.

      by Into The Woods on Mon Jun 27, 2011 at 04:12:34 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Sure, & people will work less if they're taxed mor (0+ / 0-)

      First, how would you even know if a candidate was near a limit for triggering?  And if he were, isn't that his/her decision with what to do with the money you donate?  How could you donate to someone you couldn't trust to use your money wisely?  I'd sure want to leave that choice to the candidate I'm supporting.

      This whole notion that a candidate won't spend money because the other guy can match him if he does is just as much bull as saying people will not working as hard because they might hit a new tax bracket.  It just doesn't happen (unless you're really stupid.)

      The only thing anyone loses here is the ability to dominate the discussion by spending more.  So if you think that's fair, good for the country, or in any way supporting free speech, you are really on the wrong site.

      Would we be so happy to have a military that dwarfs all others combined if it was a line item deduction on our paychecks next to FICA."

      by Back In Blue on Mon Jun 27, 2011 at 04:32:52 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Michelle Malkin (0+ / 0-)

      Is that way buddy ... >>>

      Red State too ...

    •  It's not unlimited (0+ / 0-)

      Another point I'd like to make that is usually overlooked in the discussion of the AZ Clean Election law: matching contributions were not unlimited.

      AZ Clean Elections Participating Candidate Guide 2010

      The total monies distributed to a candidate during the primary election period will not exceed three times the original primary election spending limit.

      Although that is for the primary election the same restriction applies to the general election.

      Opponents of AZ's Clean election law always represent, or conveniently ignore, the matching limits. You may say, in practical terms, the limits aren't meaningful.

      However, though a non-participating candidate may be forced to spend more than they would like, there is, or I should say was, a limit to how much the Clean Elections Commission would match. It was still possible for a well funded candidate to outspend a clean elections opponent.

      A frustrated liberal/progressive living in a red district. I feel like a fish out of water.

      by gaardvark on Mon Jun 27, 2011 at 05:24:49 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  False and fallacious. A candidate may speak (0+ / 0-)

      and spend to his or her heart's content under this law. The fact that some potential donors might not is not the state's doing nor its decision, but strictly the decision of the potential donors.

      That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

      by enhydra lutris on Mon Jun 27, 2011 at 10:10:24 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The Roberts Court is the most activist court (19+ / 0-)

    I've seen in my lifetime. Seriously. They reach down and dig their claws into all sorts of things they could probably ignore.

    •  I told you so (7+ / 0-)

      Some disagreed at the time of the nominations of Roberts and Alito (AdamB! AdamB! j/k),  but, like Judy Miller, I was proven fucking right!

      Thanks AdamB for the great post.

      •  It's two separate questions (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Armando, Samer, terabthia2, Eric Nelson

        1. Whether Roberts and Alito were going to be conservative justices; and

        2. Whether filibustering their nominations was reasonable.

          •  Yes, and no/maybe. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            VClib

            It was 2005. In the imaginary world in which Roberts can't be confirmed, (a) who does Bush nominate instead and (b) can Elena Kagan get confirmed in 2010?

            •  Sure (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              grrr, jayden

              It would have scorched the Earth, but I still think we would be in a better place today.

              Anyway, no one was gong to do it anyway.

              Hell, I think the 2009 stimulus was inadequate and more could have been done so what do I know?  

            •  Imagine a world in which Bork was never confirmed (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              skohayes, Into The Woods

              Oh, wait... we don't have to imagine it.  Bork was Borked.  

              We ended up with Justice Kennedy instead, who is obviously no Brennan, but light years better than Bork, who, among other things, is a repulsive bigot who believes that gay people are committing bestiality and would have been the fifth vote to overrule Roe v. Wade.

              And, in this not-so-imaginary world in which Bork was never confirmed, Democratic presidents subsequently nominated, and got confirmed, four very acceptable nominees including Elena Kagan.

              Please help to fight hunger with a donation to Feeding America.

              by MJB on Mon Jun 27, 2011 at 03:11:06 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  We got lucky on Kennedy. Third choice. (0+ / 0-)

                Lest we forget Doug Ginsburg, who'll come up again in my next FP story.  Of course, we mostly got lucky because Warren Rudman and John Sununu insisted on David Souter's conservative bona fides.

                Kagan seems like an "acceptable" justice, certainly, but no one now is as liberal as the conservatives are on on the other side of the Court.

                •  The conservatives are more conservative... (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  terabthia2

                  ... because the Republicans aggressively challenge a Democratic president's right to nominate whomever he chooses.  

                  In choosing SCOTUS nominees, Democratic presidents are constrained by Republican aggression and by the media carrying water for the Republicans.  GOP presidents are not so constrained, in fact it's the opposite -- they are often pushed by their own allies into choosing the farthest-right candidates imaginable, e.g., the replacement of Harriet Miers with Samuel Alito, with no effective pushback from the Dems.

                  Please help to fight hunger with a donation to Feeding America.

                  by MJB on Mon Jun 27, 2011 at 03:24:20 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Actually, it's for a deeper reason (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Goobergunch

                    Conservatives have a better bench than we do; Clinton didn't nominate young progressives the way Reagan and the Bushes did, and Obama didn't get confirmed the one progressive he did nominate (Liu).

                    •  There are some very good Clinton appointees (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      VClib

                      on the Court of Appeals now.  

                      Maybe none are ideologues like the kind that GOP presidents try to put on the bench, but there are more than enough for Obama to have had several good options -- some of which were named as possible nominees -- when Sotomayor and Kagan were ultimately chosen.  Many on this site argued that some of the other possibilities had better liberal credentials than Kagan.  The GOP noise machine certainly intimated it might strongly oppose a SCOTUS nomination for a judge with a clearer progressive record such as Diane Wood.

                      So I don't think you can say that Democratic presidents don't have enough progressive options to choose from, but for sure the external forces discourage them from choosing nominees with stronger progressive records, while the external forces encourage GOP presidents to choose nominees with unquestionable conservative credentials.  

                      And that is partly the fault of the Democratic side of the political spectrum for not exerting the same adverse pressures on GOP presidents that conservatives exert on Democratic presidents.  As on many other political issues, our side all too often brings a butter knife to a gun fight.

                      Please help to fight hunger with a donation to Feeding America.

                      by MJB on Mon Jun 27, 2011 at 04:21:42 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

  •  Justice Kagan! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Desert Rose, Sychotic1, MJB

    Justice Kagan has made me a lifetime fan!  The excerpt alone was superbly stated!

    In 2010, I paid more taxes than General Electric.

    by GrogInOhio on Mon Jun 27, 2011 at 01:45:02 PM PDT

  •  Best line (5+ / 0-)

    "without the hindrance of a law degree."

    It really did require a law degree to come up with the gobbledy gook of the majority opinion.

    Any concurring opinions? Scalia had nothing to say?

  •  Honestly, I don't see how the contribution limit (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Egalitare

    survives in the near future.  

    Ok, so I read the polls.

    by andgarden on Mon Jun 27, 2011 at 01:47:46 PM PDT

  •  Anthony Kennedy gone totally (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    evergreen2

    darkside, with very few exceptions.

    Part of the argument for Kagan and Sotenmayer (sp) was that both were both very sharp legally but also personable enough to engage Kennedy (the nominal swing vote, since he previously didn't seem in lockstep with the radical corporate fourseome). But this session (and really since Citizens United) he has become the swing vote catapulting this court into its extreme activist role.

    Maybe things will change down the line, but as of now it is not looking good.

  •  Senator McCain was in favor of this reform, is he (0+ / 0-)

    now against it?  The Senator has taken so many positions it is amazing he has not choked on his self created pretzel.

  •  This is a set up to protect corporations . . . . (10+ / 0-)

    IAAL and I can tell you that the reason the right wing of the court issued this decision goes far beyond helping rich self-funded candidates.

    Ask yourself this.  How could you possibly limit the the 'logic' of this decision to any action by the government that could be considered speech?

    Take safety warnings for example.  When the government through the surgeon general or anyone else spends money to issue safety warnings about tobacco, that 'hurts' the free speech rights of tobacco companies because they must spend more in marketing dollars to 'speak louder' and make up for the 'harm' caused by the government argument about their product.

    On the positive side, NORML should immediately sue the government.  All of the enormous amounts of government money being spent to talk about the evils of marijuana is hurting NORML's free speech right to promote legalization.

    As an aside, it is amazing to me as a lawyer how (through sheer sophistry) this Court can manufacture and protect against a theoretical harm to speech because it must compete with other speech paid for by the government while the exact same 5 Justices held that tax deductions for certain religious school expenditures caused only 'speculative harm at best' to other taxpayers (who obviously and necessarily had to pay higher taxes to make up for the deductions.)

    Amazing.  Truly amazing.  And sickening.

    "Where they have burned books, they will end in burning human beings." Heinrich Heine, from his play Almansor (1821)

    by egrass on Mon Jun 27, 2011 at 01:50:58 PM PDT

    •  Excellent points. (0+ / 0-)

      They have broader ends in mind and are very willing to expound well beyond what is necessary in the decision at hand to forshadow where their policy inclinations will be taken us next.

      The Citizens United decision has an undertow of almost libertarian, anarchist approach to campaign finance dergulation.

      The only thing that will stop these guys is having one less of them, replaced by a Dem appointee.  

      But they are risking the entire system by following their extreme ideology and neo-royalist conception of our electoral process.

      We'd rather dream the American Dream than fight to live it or to give it to our kids. What a shame. What an awful, awful shame.

      by Into The Woods on Mon Jun 27, 2011 at 05:08:03 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Their ruling is consistent with the right wing... (9+ / 0-)

    ...philosophy of free speech.  If a conservative challenges a liberal viewpoint, it's protected speech.  If a liberal challenges a conservative viewpoint, the liberal is somehow suppressing the conservative's free speech rights.

    This is the Fox News argument.

    GODSPEED TO THE WISCONSIN FOURTEEN!

    by LordMike on Mon Jun 27, 2011 at 01:51:05 PM PDT

  •  Kagan (12+ / 0-)
    No fundamental principle of our Constitution backs the Court’s ruling

    Ouch!

    Remember, you can't have crazy without az.

    by Desert Rose on Mon Jun 27, 2011 at 01:56:29 PM PDT

    •  She's cutting through the smoke and mirrors (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Eric Nelson

      redefining the argument.

      If you are not asking the right question, you'll never get the right answer.  

      We'd rather dream the American Dream than fight to live it or to give it to our kids. What a shame. What an awful, awful shame.

      by Into The Woods on Mon Jun 27, 2011 at 05:11:12 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Well, could you really expect the Republicans on (5+ / 0-)

    the Court to take away the GOP's primary electoral weapon: money?

  •  More and more a democracy in name only (4+ / 0-)

    It's us vs the media to make people aware of the stakes.

  •  I'd say our democracy is dead (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DarkLadyNyara

    If it weren't for the horrible smell of the corpse that has been apparent for sometime.

    10.2.10 - I was there 11.2.10 - I will be there

    by fgsfds on Mon Jun 27, 2011 at 02:19:58 PM PDT

  •  The guiding principle of free speech (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ignacio Magaloni, Into The Woods

    The First Amendment embodies our choice as a Nation that, when it comes to such speech, the guiding principle is money talks freedom.

    •  In the Marketplace of Ideas, Money Should Not (0+ / 0-)

      grant a monopoly to ideas that are harmful to and opposed by the people.

      And yet policies to tax the wealthy and avoid major cuts to Medicare, Social Security and Medicaid (all of which are supported strongly by the public) are essentially ignored by a large portion of our ruling class.

      If this is the end result of an electoral system based on the concepts that 'money is speech' and 'corporations are people whose political speech is protected by the 1st Amendment from essentially any restriction - no matter how insignificant or hypothetical', then maybe we all need to take another look at whether the competition should be based on who can raise the most money or whether it should be based on who is the best person with the best ideas.  

      We'd rather dream the American Dream than fight to live it or to give it to our kids. What a shame. What an awful, awful shame.

      by Into The Woods on Mon Jun 27, 2011 at 05:18:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  If Roberts doesn't want (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Into The Woods

    Level playing fields, where does it leave the umpire metaphor?  

    Are elections instead "moguls" skiing?

    Thrachsymachus in The Republic would be proud -- justice is the rule of the stronger.

    "This world demands the qualities of youth: not a time of life but a state of mind[.]" -- Robert F. Kennedy

    by Loge on Mon Jun 27, 2011 at 02:44:15 PM PDT

    •  But even Adam Smith acknolwedged that human (0+ / 0-)

      nature would lead those that accumulated sufficient power and resouces to attempt to manipulate the market for their own benefit and that the market had to be protected from such anti-competitive activities not to protect one or another participant in the market or even to protect the consumers that might be harmed by the distortions or manipulations of the market.

      It was critical to protect against these kinds of activities to protect the integrity and credibility of the market itself and in doing so to protect and preserve its benefit to not just the current players but potential and future participants as well.

      They love themselves that "market" rhetoric, but their understanding of the essential principles necessary for such a system to operate effectively and efficiently is both narrow and fatally shallow.  

      We'd rather dream the American Dream than fight to live it or to give it to our kids. What a shame. What an awful, awful shame.

      by Into The Woods on Mon Jun 27, 2011 at 05:23:26 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  supreme court (0+ / 0-)

    This supreme court is horrible!

  •  Would this work? (0+ / 0-)

    It sounds like the majority's concern is that hitting the threshold triggers a large lump-sum contribution to the opponent, thus chilling their continued expenditures.  How about a different formula along the lines of:  For every dollar spent by the self-funded candidate or independent groups on either candidate's behalf, the opponent will get 50 cents, perhaps up to a limit.  In this way the self-funder would never reach a point at which spending an additional small sum by them would trigger a large sum for the opponent.  Every dollar they spend will still put them 50 cents further ahead in the amount of speech in which the candidates have engaged.

    •  Here's another (0+ / 0-)

      How about if every dollar spent by the self-funder triggered 50 cents of public funding of BOTH candidates?  That would give the self-funder a 3:1 advantage, but at least it would give their opponent some compensation once their regular amount of public support ran out.

      Finally, how about just raising the amount of public support a candidate receives, to discourage the impact of sulf-funding?

      •  what does work (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Into The Woods

        NYC's solution: nothing gets triggered based on what the other side does, but receiving small dollar donations yields a multiplied public grant.

        Anything with triggers is likely going to fail before this court.

        •  This court. (0+ / 0-)

          Oh how soon I pray it changes.  It would be distasteful for me to say how, but I think it every day.  Of course, if I were a conservative, I could say it with the admiration of my fellow conservatives.

          Would we be so happy to have a military that dwarfs all others combined if it was a line item deduction on our paychecks next to FICA."

          by Back In Blue on Mon Jun 27, 2011 at 04:42:52 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  I think the trigger part (0+ / 0-)

        is what the Supremes were addressing.
        And really, at this point, and with the Citizen's United ruling, what's the point? We've already got right wings groups pledging millions of dollars in mysterious contributions to defeat the Democrats in 2012.

        How come the dove gets to be the peace symbol? How about the pillow? It has more feathers than the dove and doesn't have that dangerous beak. Jack Handey

        by skohayes on Mon Jun 27, 2011 at 03:37:10 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  They'd find something wrong with that as well. nt (0+ / 0-)

      We'd rather dream the American Dream than fight to live it or to give it to our kids. What a shame. What an awful, awful shame.

      by Into The Woods on Mon Jun 27, 2011 at 05:24:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  what kind of nation... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    terabthia2, Into The Woods

    It escapes me exactly what kind of nation the conservative jurists hope for us after reading this ruling. Sure, it is clear that they consider money to be free speech and that they believe there is no such thing as too much purchased free speech. But is there not an overriding concern for the nation itself as opposed to the narrow self-interests of well financed campaigns? Does the nation benefit from the exercise of speech based solely upon ones ability to raise and spend money? How does this further a more open, just and democratic society? Does it serve a fundamental purpose embodied in the founding documents? Did Madison or Hamilton envision a nation where the richest could drown out any other less heeled voice? Is this the corporate world they envisioned ruling our nation 200 years down the road? Would they have considered measures to even the playing field to be unworthy of the ideals of the nation itself? Did the individual right to free speech really mean that the millions you have should be viewed as a proper means of furthering that free speech even as I whisper into the wind in opposition simply because I do not have as much money? Is this really what the "original" founders intended?

    Shame on these jurists. Our nation is now officially a corrupt state. In fact, corruption is protected in our Bill of Rights. It says so right there for the world to see.

    Liberalism is a label used by the right to obscure our true agenda which is really nothing but the use of pragmatism instead of ideology.

    by Sinan on Mon Jun 27, 2011 at 03:12:01 PM PDT

  •  On a progressive radio program this morning a (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Into The Woods, TexasTom

    caller suggested that we modify Bill Clinton's campaign mantra "It the economy, stupid" to "It's the Supreme Court, Stupid".

    "By means of shrewd lies, unremittingly repeated, it is possible to make people believe that heaven is hell -- and hell heaven. The greater the lie, the more readily it will be believed." Adolph Hitler

    by pittie70 on Mon Jun 27, 2011 at 03:16:54 PM PDT

  •  To me this is almost worse than Citizens United (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Futuristic Dreamer, TexasTom

    They are blatantly saying your right to "speech" is based on how much you can spend. If you don't have the money, it can't be provided to you and you are silenced. The majority here should be ashamed (of course, they won't be) by their convoluted anti-democratic "reasoning." Basically, they are saying that the rich should have as much speech as they want and if you want to provide remedies for the less rich, you are somehow limiting the speech of the wealthy – by not giving them the floor all to themselves.

    Disgusting.

    Jennifer Brunner for Governor of Ohio 2014

    by anastasia p on Mon Jun 27, 2011 at 03:24:32 PM PDT

  •  Strike down Clean Elections!!! (0+ / 0-)

    C'mon, let's hear it for Dirty Elections!!!!

    *facepalm*

  •  And at least one of the justices in the majority (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DarkLadyNyara

    Continues to receive financial enrichment from the very forces he is supporting with his votes on the court.

    And he refuses to recuse himself on anything no matter how clear the ethical argument for recusal.

    Corruption doesn't stop with legislators and elections. This is a corrupt decision.

    Thanks,

    Hairy Larry

    Please join the Protest Music Group where we sing truth to power.

    by hairylarry on Mon Jun 27, 2011 at 06:44:27 PM PDT

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