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There were so many mind-blowingly illogical quotes in Roberts' McCutcheon v. FEC opinion, it was hard to pick just one for the cartoon. Another classic:

"[Many people] would be delighted to see fewer television commercials touting a candidate’s accomplishments or disparaging an opponent’s character,” he wrote. “Money in politics may at times seem repugnant to some, but so, too, does much of what the First Amendment vigorously protects. If the First Amendment protects flag burning, funeral protests and Nazi parades — despite the profound offense such spectacles cause — it surely protects political campaign speech despite popular opposition."
Way to confuse the content of the political ads, which no one is objecting to on free speech grounds, with how they are funded!

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Originally posted to Comics on Tue Apr 08, 2014 at 06:50 AM PDT.

Also republished by Repeal or Amend the Second Amendment (RASA) and Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I Wonder . . . (10+ / 0-)

    if Scalia is secretly coaching Roberts in how to reason in this manner.

    "A famous person once said, 'You can fool some of the people some of the time, but you can't fool all of the people all of the time.' But as I once said, "If you don't teach them to read, you can fool them whenever you like." – Max Headroom

    by midnight lurker on Tue Apr 08, 2014 at 07:01:46 AM PDT

  •  This must be the root of Rand Paul's... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mightymouse, ZedMont, wader

    plagiaristic word problem.

    ACA hits 7 million mark!

    by IB JOHN on Tue Apr 08, 2014 at 07:02:06 AM PDT

  •  I remain far from convinced (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    That the 1st Amendment helps either individuals or society when the SCOTUS allows it to protect hate speech that is designed for no purpose other than intimidating others out of their rights.

    I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
    but I fear we will remain Democrats.

    Who is twigg?

    by twigg on Tue Apr 08, 2014 at 07:04:03 AM PDT

    •  Like obscenity as defined by (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      twigg, agitatednactivated

      Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart  ("I know it when I see it"), there's no good definition of hate speech even if one wanted to ban it despite the 1st Amendment.  Your version of hate speech might be very different than a rightwinger. You might find their diatribes against gay rights to be hateful, they would find your rebuttal as hate speech against "Christian values."

      And of course, times change. When we are at war with Oceania, everyone will believe slurs against Eastasians to be hate speech. The moment we switch to war against Eastasia ("we have always been at war with Eastasia"), the definition of hate speech will flip 180 degrees.

      So maybe it's a good thing we include all speech under the 1st Amendment, one never knows what tomorrow will bring. Today's hate speech could be tomorrow's civil rights chant (or vice versa).

  •  Deliberately ignoring the jurisprudence of free (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:


    Lots of things constitute free speech. Even nude dancing.

    Would you complain if people protested carrying "no more war" signs? Would you deny that those signs constitute political speech? How about handbills? Posters?

    All of that stuff costs money.
    As does the hiring of somebody to sign a political speech for the deaf.

    Money doesn't alway equal speech, but it can.

    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

    by dinotrac on Tue Apr 08, 2014 at 07:09:26 AM PDT

    •  Yes, it can, and money speaks at a high volume. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dinotrac, wader, hbk

      Ted Cruz president? Pardon my Vietnamese, but Ngo Pho King Way.

      by ZedMont on Tue Apr 08, 2014 at 07:33:47 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It can. Sometimes you get lost in the roar. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Funny how some of the biggest stories to come out of the 2010 debacle included the high dollar losses of Meg Whitman and Linda McMahon.

        One might also want to check in with Tim Caine, governor of Virginia despite big piles of money spent against him.

        LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

        by dinotrac on Tue Apr 08, 2014 at 07:38:14 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The fact that big money candidates can be defeated (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          flavor411, happymisanthropy, IreGyre

          does not mean that big money cannot buy elections.

          In all the cases you cite, the winning candidate had to raise millions of dollars for their own campaigns in order for their messages to be heard across the din.  Yes, they were outspent, however they had sufficient spending of their own to get through the noise.

          Where big money can do the most harm is when it is thrown into some of the "smaller" elections where the opposing candidate can be completely drowned out because he/she doesn't have national awareness to draw big outside money to compete.

          Some people fight fire with fire. Professionals use water.

          by Happy Days on Tue Apr 08, 2014 at 10:22:15 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Money cannot buy elections without bribing the (0+ / 0-)

            voters or the people doing the counting.

            Small election or large, money makes the biggest difference when the candidates are uninspiring.  When nobody cares about you or the other guy, sheer volume does matter.

   candidates that will inspire voters.

            Oh -- right.  That really is a problem these days, isn't it?

            LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

            by dinotrac on Tue Apr 08, 2014 at 11:22:47 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Good candidates still lose to moneyed bad (0+ / 0-)

              all too often... it is not simply that there are no good Democrats running... sure there could be more than there are but money still tips the balance in far too many contests...

              Pogo & Murphy's Law, every time. Also "Trust but verify" - St. Ronnie (hah...)

              by IreGyre on Tue Apr 08, 2014 at 04:11:55 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Perhaps somebody is wrong about those (0+ / 0-)

                "good" candidates.

                Al Gore was supposedly a good candidate.  John Kerry, too.
                Both ran awful Presidential campaigns.

                LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

                by dinotrac on Wed Apr 09, 2014 at 04:42:43 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

    •  Yes, but as we all know, the freedom of speech (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      nicteis, wader

      is not absolute.

      It is clear that the conservative wing of SCOTUS was intent on helping to implement the conservative agenda here. They didn't much care about the constitutionality of their argument - they just needed something to write in the opinion.

      Random thoughts about SCOTUS: Since 2000, the SCOTUS has been an enabler of most of the damage done to this country by the right wing.

      We've all heard Kennedy referred to as the "swing vote" these days, but it's clear he is no more of a swing vote than Alito.

      For some reason, O'Connor had a personal dislike of Gore, so she chose Bush. Everything bad that has happened since then has followed from her choice.

      My God.

    •  Money is not speech (0+ / 0-)

      Buying elections and politicians is commerce; not speech. The federal government has an absolute right to regulate such commerce.

      +++ The law is a weapon used to bludgeon us peasants into submission. It is not to be applied to the monied elite.

      by cybersaur on Tue Apr 08, 2014 at 02:06:28 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Roberts has not confused$ and free speech. (15+ / 0-)

    Nor is he "naive" in his view of politics, as some have asserted.  He has conflated money and speech very deliberately, to bring donations even more firmly under the First Amendment.  This is part of a coordinated political strategy, and decisions such as this one were exactly why he was installed into the Supreme Court.  

    Let's be clear about this:  Roberts is not confused.  He's corrupt.

    "Democrat" is a noun. "Democratic" is an adjective. "Republican" is an idiot. Illigitimi non carborundum. Regardless of Party.

    by TheOrchid on Tue Apr 08, 2014 at 07:14:47 AM PDT

  •  Money determines QUANTITY of speech, not content (7+ / 0-)

    Limiting money in politics does not limit anyone's right to free speech. Anyone can say what they want, write what they want, create signs that they want etc.

    But to create a reasonable election climate and a fair playing field for candidates, limiting potential corruption, it is beneficial to limit spending on elections.

    Money is not speech.

    Some people fight fire with fire. Professionals use water.

    by Happy Days on Tue Apr 08, 2014 at 07:17:33 AM PDT

    •  Money determines the platform on which speech is (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      midnight lurker, wader

      exercised.  There's a big difference between hundreds of attack ads on major TV and radio networks and a guy standing on the street corner with a poster.

      Money indeed talks.  Loudly.

      Ted Cruz president? Pardon my Vietnamese, but Ngo Pho King Way.

      by ZedMont on Tue Apr 08, 2014 at 07:38:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'm starting to think (5+ / 0-)

    John Roberts is not nearly as smart as he gets credit for.  Obviously he's just a lackey coming up with bullshit to support his moneymasters, but the quality of his bullshit seems to have declined.

    1. Books are for use.

    by looty on Tue Apr 08, 2014 at 07:21:33 AM PDT

  •  two words I know: "non sequitur" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
  •  I have no objection to the (7+ / 0-)

    purchase of politicians as long as they're required to wear the logos of their sponsors.  Think how much easier it would be to sort out the BS when every climate change denier is wearing 20 energy company logos.  

    I'm not looking for a love that will lift me up and carry me away. A love that will stroll alongside and make a few amusing comments will suffice.

    by I love OCD on Tue Apr 08, 2014 at 07:28:21 AM PDT

    •  Dress em up like Nascar--I am sure the baggers (0+ / 0-)

      would love it.

      "It were a thousand times better for the land if all Witches, but especially the blessing Witch, might suffer death." qtd by Ehrenreich & English. For Her Own Good, Two Centuries of Expert's Advice to Women pp 40

      by GreenMother on Tue Apr 08, 2014 at 07:45:10 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  That Was a Prominent Part . . . (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Fixed Point Theorem, Andrew S

      of "Idiocracy."

      I'm Secretary of State, brought to you by Carl's Jr.

      "A famous person once said, 'You can fool some of the people some of the time, but you can't fool all of the people all of the time.' But as I once said, "If you don't teach them to read, you can fool them whenever you like." – Max Headroom

      by midnight lurker on Tue Apr 08, 2014 at 08:03:47 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Sure, it's free speech. You get all the free (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JeffW, nicteis, TrueBlueMajority

    speech your money can buy.  What could be freer than that?

    Ted Cruz president? Pardon my Vietnamese, but Ngo Pho King Way.

    by ZedMont on Tue Apr 08, 2014 at 07:30:03 AM PDT

  •  heh (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JeffW, ZedMont

    as jon stewart put it the other night, if money really does 'talk' like the court says, then 'bullshit' is a form of exercise.

    anyone born after the McDLT has no business stomping around acting punk rock

    by chopper on Tue Apr 08, 2014 at 07:31:40 AM PDT

  •  Reporting by politicians must become mandatory. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Andrew S

    The reporting requirements for congress are ridiculous. Every dollar can easily be accounted for by simply having a searchable data base open to all comers. Give the politicians a week to put them up, and make the data base searchable.

    Iowa has had an electronic system in place since before I first ran for office in 1998! If we can't stop the money, the public at least has the right to know who is giving the money to politicians.

    When it comes from 501C4's, we can at least know which ones. our angst must be taken out on the politicians and not just the billionaires.

  •  sadly, Justice Roberts does have a point... (0+ / 0-)

    the political speech that the money is buying is protected by the First Amendment, but that same political speech can't happen without the money (in our present campaign finance structure).

    We need to get behind the initiatives for public campaign finance before the corporate-owned congress-critters manage to cut off our ability to amend the constitution.

  •  Bribery is not Free Speech! (0+ / 0-)

    When Money is used in the political process to obtain a specific objective there are specific terms that have been used to describe the use:

    Pay Off

    But, throughout political history, bribery has always been recognized as adverse to the political process.  It is only John Roberts, and the current Republican Five on the Supreme Court in 2014 who have decided to view political bribery as something other than what it really is.

    They can try to put lipstick on this pig, but it will still be a pig, and this pig will still eat at the trough of political capital and it will destroy what is left of democracy in the USA.

    Voters should select people to represent them in their government. People in government should not select people who may vote!

    by NM Ray on Tue Apr 08, 2014 at 07:40:04 AM PDT

  •  The Court has ruled. Our response must be... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Andrew S

    more state-level full disclosure laws, like California's SB-52, which has passed both houses, gone back to conference and should take effect by July 1.

    “It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing
    he was never reasoned into” - Jonathan Swift

    by jjohnjj on Tue Apr 08, 2014 at 07:41:37 AM PDT

  •  It's part of the distributive property of free (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Andrew S

    Speech. If money is capable of being used to purchase  goods and services, and  using money to promote political candidates is an expression of free speech, then free speech may be used to  purchase goods and services. Do the math! Do the math!

    Slow thinkers - keep right

    by Dave the Wave on Tue Apr 08, 2014 at 07:41:38 AM PDT

  •  Obviously, Roberts unable to serve both... (0+ / 0-) and the Constitution at the same time, so he chose money.

    FWIW: Roberts expenses-paid teaching gigs in scenic locations:

    (" the expense of law students...")

    Roberts’ 2009 disclosure form  (the most recent available to the public) reveals the following entry:

    “New England School of Law, Summer Program, Galway, Ireland – teaching stipend: $15,000.”

    ..the same school reimbursed Roberts for his airfare, meals and lodging for at least the two-week period during which the course...Roberts co-taught the course, which met seven times for two-hour periods...

    Wow-approximately $1,071.43 per hour, plus airfare, meals & lodging...
    ...Roberts and Lazarus taught the same course on the scenic island of Malta last summer, and will do so again amid the charming old world architecture of Prague this July....

    The problem is not so much that Roberts is being paid $1,000 an hour to teach a fluffy course on Great Moments in Supreme Court Argument...It’s that this annual fringe benefit is being paid for by tax dollars, which are first funneled through law students, who are financially wrecking themselves by borrowing those dollars to pay for useless degrees...

    Roberts isn't the only SC Justice earning easy $$'s outside the SCOTUS, but Chief Justice John Roberts may have the most diverse investment portfolio.
    ...He recorded 63 investments and trusts, including stock in Time Warner (parent company of CNN), Citicorp, Microsoft and Hewlett-Packard....

    The issue of judges holding such diverse investment portfolios has resulted in several conflicts of interest, prompting calls for reform....

    Ethics? Who needs ethics when the SCOTUS offers so many profitable opportunities.  
  •  I'M RICH! (0+ / 0-)

    I own my own library! I am rolling in the dough! All those people who accused me of book hoarding! Well who's laughing now suckers!

    So when do we get to impeach Roberts for lying to get on the bench?

    "It were a thousand times better for the land if all Witches, but especially the blessing Witch, might suffer death." qtd by Ehrenreich & English. For Her Own Good, Two Centuries of Expert's Advice to Women pp 40

    by GreenMother on Tue Apr 08, 2014 at 07:44:02 AM PDT

  •  I wish the democratic party would simply put out (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Andrew S

    one ad that says:

    The Supreme Court of the United States has attempted to sell this country to the highest bidder.  If you agree with them, vote for the GOP and it's televised lies.

    We, however, refuse to cooperate with this travesty.  If you are interested in our views, you may find them on (website).  For free.


    Ted Cruz president? Pardon my Vietnamese, but Ngo Pho King Way.

    by ZedMont on Tue Apr 08, 2014 at 07:47:28 AM PDT

  •  Again (0+ / 0-)

    The word "corruption" implies that it makes something work other than the way it is intended to work.  Our entire political system is designed, and works effectively, to serve money.  Therefore, money speaking through the system is the furthest thing from corruption, instead, quite the natural order of things.  You won't change that reality without changing the system we have of money running everything.  There's a word that literally means exactly that, a system of, by and for money that shall not perish from this earth:  capitalism.  Think, literally, about what that term means, and realize that unless we as a people decide we don't want a world run for the interests and in the image of money and get rid of capitalism, money will always run everything.

    Pay no attention to the upward redistribution of wealth!

    by ActivistGuy on Tue Apr 08, 2014 at 08:03:24 AM PDT

  •  Roberts has to stretch mighty painfully (2+ / 0-)

    to arrive at his desired result regardless of precedent, law, and common sense.

    He really puts the "try" in sophistry.

  •  The Roberts quotation in the first frame (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    is the most absurd.

    The government may no more restrict how many candidates a donor may support than it may tell a newspaper how many candidates it may endorse.
    The obvious fallacy of that absurdity is that all of the major newspapers in this country are owned by the same people who can make those large multiple donations.  

    You can't spell CRAZY without R-AZ.

    by rb608 on Tue Apr 08, 2014 at 08:10:42 AM PDT

  •  Maybe (2+ / 0-)

    we should just begin paying SCOTUS in words.

  •  Money is speech, and speech is free... (0+ / 0-)

    So where's my free money?

  •  Wasn't it right here on "The Daily Kos" that we (0+ / 0-)

    read about Mr. Justice (Somebody) and his Daddy, the Lobbyist from California who went to jail on corruption charges?  If memory serves me, it certainly was!

    And, who "inherited" Daddy's practice, and clients?

    And also, one might ask, who "inherited" Daddy's concepts of "ethics" as well?

    Anyone want to "fill in the blank here"?

    Ah! Well!  What's wrong with endowing a piece of paper, called, Articles of Incorporation with all the rights of "free speech", along with "religious convictions"?

    And, on the same topic:  What's wrong with the concept of "the best government money can buy"?  It worked - all through the 19th Century, and well into the 20th Century too.  Didn't it?

    And, doesn't the old saying go:  "If it works, don't fix"?

    Of course it does.  So, what's to complain about, now that the FIX is back in?

  •  In a lot of ways they are correct (0+ / 0-)

    about the association of paid advertising and free speech. But only if the person making the speech is legally entitled to said speech.

    To be legally (by the Constitution) entitled to free speech you have to be a citizen of the United States. This is ultimately the hang up of citizens United.

    Even if corporations are people, what makes them citizens? I am a citizen because I was born on U.S. soil of 2 United States Citizens. (I only need one of those to make it but I had all 3)

    and there are things like this to consider: From the Bloomberg article entitled "Post Crimea, Exxon's Partnership With Rosneft Feels Weird"

    In an infamous quote included in Steve Coll’s book on Exxon, Private Empire, former CEO Lee Raymond once said, “I’m not a U.S. company, and I don’t make decisions based on what’s good for the U.S.”
    Corporations aren't born in the traditional sense (mostly cuz they aren't really people but work with me here) so our available definition of citizenship is not helpful. Are they then to be allowed to declare citizenship when it is beneficial to them and turn it off when it becomes inconvenient, and then turn it back on again later?  

    All that said specific identification of the source of the "free speech" (and thus verification of the right to "free speech") Should be identified in the presentation of the "free speech". The obfuscation of who exactly is "free speaking" is what truly bothers me.

    *Side note I am not advocating the wholesale censorship in the country of non-citizens there is what is morally right and what is legally right. Giving all people a chance to freely speak their mind is morally right. But for the purposes of negating a law restricting voter advocacy speech, only legally right would apply.

    New Plan: Obamacare Old Plan: Nobodycares

    by groupw on Tue Apr 08, 2014 at 11:08:55 AM PDT

  •  It's simpple enough (0+ / 0-)

    Roberts is nothing but a shill for the business interests.  He's above all a lawyer and lawyers get paid to distort logic and contort the English language.  Lawyers and by extension, judges, are nothing but con artists in the employ of whoever has the most money.  
    The entire field of law is but one big con game; the American public just hasn't caught on yet.

    Even a raving idiot knows that money is not free speech, anymore than hamburger is. Nor is a corporation, people.

    Why we haven't had a revolution over just these two decisions will forever confound the historians.

    Time to hang a few lawyers, or even a bunch of them.
    Shakespeare had it right " First thing we do is kill all the lawyers"

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