Supreme Court tightens grip of the special interests

The tight, suffocating grip of special interests on our national affairs is destined to grow still tighter in the wake of a 5-4 Supreme Court ruling released this morning.

From the Associated Press:

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court has ruled that corporations may spend freely to support or oppose candidates for president and Congress, easing decades-old limits on their participation in federal campaigns.

By a 5-4 vote, the court on Thursday overturned a 20-year-old ruling that said corporations can be prohibited from using money from their general treasuries to pay for their own campaign ads. The decision, which almost certainly will also allow labor unions to participate more freely in campaigns, threatens similar limits imposed by 24 states.

It leaves in place a prohibition on direct contributions to candidates from corporations and unions.

Critics of the stricter limits have argued that they amount to an unconstitutional restraint of free speech, and the court majority apparently agreed.
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“The censorship we now confront is vast in its reach,” Justice Anthony Kennedy said in his majority opinion, joined by his four more conservative colleagues.

However, Justice John Paul Stevens, dissenting from the main holding, said, “The court’s ruling threatens to undermine the integrity of elected institutions around the nation.”

556 comments Add your comment

Ragnar Danneskjöld

January 21st, 2010
10:44 am

Great ruling, http://www.supremecourtus.gov/opinions/09pdf/08-205.pdf

Justice Thomas reveals why he is the best of them all. One small portion of the ruling is 8-1, upholding a tiny section of the law, and Justice Thomas explains why even that is misguided.

Jimmy Carter

January 21st, 2010
10:44 am

Great, just what we need…..more “truthful” political ads on TV.

getalife

January 21st, 2010
10:47 am

5-4 and the coup is complete.

A one party corporate country.

That was quick.

I don’t want anything to pass now because you will know it will screw you.

Just vote no on everything.

Crap, that is a gop position.

Kamchak

January 21st, 2010
10:49 am

$ = free speech.

Riiiiiiiight.

:roll:

Ragnar Danneskjöld

January 21st, 2010
10:51 am

We would all agree here that leftism can survive only if the leftists can restrict the speech of their opponents. The game is over now.

Kamchak

January 21st, 2010
10:53 am

We would all agree here…

Please do not presume to speak for me.

getalife

January 21st, 2010
10:57 am

So much for trying to earn our trust back.

Do you still want a health care bill?

I saw two politicians object.

Feingold and Grayson.

The tea party should be all over this issue but nothing from them.

Joan

January 21st, 2010
10:59 am

What is the difference whether corporations (or unions, AARP, and other so called advocacy groups) donate to political campaigns or just put bribe money directly into politician’s pockets? I gather they have been free to do, and have been doing, the latter all along.

Granny Godzilla

January 21st, 2010
11:00 am

Very very sad day for America.

Normal

January 21st, 2010
11:00 am

Assume the position ladies and gentlemen, you are about to be had, like it or not!

md

January 21st, 2010
11:03 am

OK, corporations own entire media outlets with their own agenda – have for years, so what is so different about this? Not saying I agree or disagree, just wondering why folks stomp there feet when its been going on for years.

Also, you do have control – don’t buy there products/services and they go away – simple as that.

jt

January 21st, 2010
11:04 am

The SC had no business in this issue anyhoo.

Not that I am against each state passing laws for their respective federal representatives to wear cooperate sponser patches on their suits.

The important thing is to KNOW who owns your representative. And vote accordingly.

No laws necessarry.

md

January 21st, 2010
11:05 am

Did a great job with their/there this morning, didn’t I.

Doggone/GA

January 21st, 2010
11:06 am

I think Congress ought to take an entirely differnt tack on the subject, and make any and all advertising outlets responsible for the accuracy of ANY advertisements they allow to purchase space/time.

Ragnar Danneskjöld

January 21st, 2010
11:07 am

Dear Joan, the difference is that the leftists at FEC have been able to chill speech with the threat of horrific fines, until now. Remember how the Obamaites went after those health care providers that tried to tell the public what would be the effect of government control? Now both sides of the story will be told, and every false statement can be answered.

md

January 21st, 2010
11:08 am

Is Hannity bot a campaign ad?

Is Olberman not a campaign ad?

Come on folks – get real.

RW-(the original)

January 21st, 2010
11:11 am

So we have 4 justices that believe in censorship? That’s pretty scary.

Now you can follow the money and that’s hard to see as a bad thing.

Stonethrower

January 21st, 2010
11:12 am

Another victory for the United States of Coporate America. Executive, legislative and judicial fully work for corporations. “We the people” my eye!

Ragnar Danneskjöld

January 21st, 2010
11:13 am

Dear RW, funny, the four who would censor include the former counsel for ACLU and a wise Latina.

getalife

January 21st, 2010
11:14 am

Today is the first day of the United States of Corporations.

We are all gop now.

Vote no on everything.

Where are the tea parties?

Ragnar Danneskjöld

January 21st, 2010
11:17 am

Dear getalife, “Where are the tea parties?” We are celebrating freedom, the end of government oppression.

getalife

January 21st, 2010
11:17 am

“Dear RW, funny, the four who would censor include the former counsel for ACLU and a wise Latina.”

I guess this is the new patriotism.

Normal

January 21st, 2010
11:19 am

RW-(the original)

January 21st, 2010
11:11 am
So we have 4 justices that believe in censorship? That’s pretty scary

Some censorship is a good thing…think child porn…

md

January 21st, 2010
11:19 am

“We are all gop now.”

GE and NBC are gop?

Thats funny.

Ridgerunner

January 21st, 2010
11:20 am

What are you griping about? If the SCOTUS said it ……… it must be Constitutional ……. right?

Dread Scott: Constitutional
Roe vs. Wade: Constitutional
Citizens United vs. FEC: Constitutional

getalife

January 21st, 2010
11:20 am

“We are celebrating freedom, the end of government oppression.”

Okay corporatist

I am gop and say hell to the no..

Ridgerunner

January 21st, 2010
11:22 am

P.S.

Or ……………….. do you mean something can be “Constitutional” but still immoral, unethical, evil, etc. ?

Taxpayer

January 21st, 2010
11:23 am

Well, it’s about time someone finally had sense enough to unleash the Kraken, er, uh, I mean, the trickle-down economy. I wonder which candidate the People’s Bank of Communist China will put in office first. Who will their choice for President be?

mm

January 21st, 2010
11:23 am

Yep, now the GOP gets free advertising from their corporate masters.

md

January 21st, 2010
11:24 am

“do you mean something can be “Constitutional” but still immoral, unethical, evil, etc. ?”

Its a pick and choose scenario, depending on ideology.

Bosch

January 21st, 2010
11:25 am

Unfortunately from a strictly interpretation of the Constitution, I think it’s the right decision. However, and a BIG however, I completely second what Doggone wrote at 11:08.

Ridgerunner

January 21st, 2010
11:27 am

md: Exactly ……………….. there “is” absolute truth. Something “Constitutional” can still be a great evil (Roe vs. Wade).

md

January 21st, 2010
11:27 am

“Yep, now the GOP gets free advertising from their corporate masters.”

How can you possibly paint this as partisan when both parties play the same game? Are you really that unaware or just looks good for your “side”?

Ridgerunner

January 21st, 2010
11:29 am

Headline: “Secretary of State Hillary Clinton criticizes China and other nations that restrict Internet access, calling on them to take down barriers and citing new policies to foster freedom.”

…………… and yet the Dems. are trying to find subtle and not so subtle ways to silence talk radio right here in the good old USA !

Talk about hypocrisy !

Taxpayer

January 21st, 2010
11:32 am

Talk about hypocrisy !

Go ahead.

getalife

January 21st, 2010
11:36 am

Have to adjust your arguments folks.

The party in power will be corporate and the other will pretend to be against it.

The people should be with the minority unless they are corporate.

It started with Hillary the movie.

Doggone/GA

January 21st, 2010
11:36 am

“How can you possibly paint this as partisan when both parties play the same game?”

I had the same thought

md

January 21st, 2010
11:36 am

Off topic, but watched the Clinton News Network last night on Haiti. They were reporting from the hospital that no surgeries could be done because after 8 days the medical supplies were still at the US controlled airport. People were dieing although the supplies were just miles away.

Where is the outrage from the Katrina folks that stomped and moaned? Does this mean that Barry hates black people?

Hopefully, folks might just see how hard it actually is to mobilize something of this magnitude and quit using stuff like this for political gain.

Doggone/GA

January 21st, 2010
11:37 am

“the Dems. are trying to find subtle and not so subtle ways to silence talk radio ”

Do tell! How about some details?

RW-(the original)

January 21st, 2010
11:40 am

Normal @ 1:19,

You really need to seek help.

Ragnar Danneskjöld

January 21st, 2010
11:40 am

Dear Doggone/GA, our friend Ridgerunner refers to the oft-expressed wish to revive the “Fairness Doctrine,” which was used by leftists to suppress the more mainstream conservative talk radio.

RW-(the original)

January 21st, 2010
11:41 am

Check that….11:19

md

January 21st, 2010
11:41 am

Dog,

Everything is worth nothing until a buyer is found.

You pointed out that a replacement had a specific value, but not the item being replaced.

And Curious Observer obviously didn’t pay attention in 7th grade, or he would have thought about it before taking pot shots.

getalife

January 21st, 2010
11:42 am

RW,

You see the future?

Lotto numbers please.

Doggone/GA

January 21st, 2010
11:43 am

“Everything is worth nothing until a buyer is found”

Tell that to the tax man. If my property and house are worth nothing, then why do I have to pay taxes on it?

LA

January 21st, 2010
11:43 am

“The Supreme Court has ruled that corporations may spend freely to support or oppose candidates for president and Congress, easing decades-old limits on their participation in federal campaigns.”

Jay, can you please post who voted in favor for/against?

Gale

January 21st, 2010
11:44 am

I think the five who voted for this case are in the same mental state as Greenspan who expected financial institutions to self-regulate. Technically, I agree with the decision. Idealogically, I disagree strongly. The electorate, for the most part, is easily swayed by slick advertising. Many voters will not take the time to figure out who owns the person they are voting for.

RW-(the original)

January 21st, 2010
11:45 am

Lotto numbers please.

Sure thing, what game do you want the numbers for?

LA

January 21st, 2010
11:45 am

“Yep, now the GOP gets free advertising from their corporate masters.”

It goes both ways.

LA

January 21st, 2010
11:46 am

“The electorate, for the most part, is easily swayed by slick advertising. ”

Hence, Change we can believe in, and HOPE!

Not to mention, YES WE CAN!

Jenifer

January 21st, 2010
11:46 am

The Bush legacy comes to fruition.

LA

January 21st, 2010
11:48 am

“The tight, suffocating grip of special interests on our national affairs”

Jay, are you ONLY talking about GOP special interest groups of DNC as well?

Shall we talk about unions and community organizations that got millions of dollars last year?

LA

January 21st, 2010
11:49 am

“The Bush legacy comes to fruition.”

LOL

If you think Republicans are the only ones that get money from corporations then you need to wake up.

I Report (-: You Whine )-: mmm, mmmm, mmmmm!

January 21st, 2010
11:49 am

However, Justice John Paul Stevens, dissenting from the main holding, said, “The court’s ruling threatens to undermine the integrity of elected institutions around the nation.”

When did our elected institutions adopt integrity?

Did I miss something while I was away?

And the last time I looked, the right to petition your government was still a Constitutional right.

Why do we even need to affirm it?

Jenifer

January 21st, 2010
11:51 am

Farewell democracy, I hardly knew thee.

LA

January 21st, 2010
11:53 am

Jay, you know how you’re always railin on Palin?

Well………

Edwards says he’s father of Rielle Hunter’s child

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Former Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards has finally come forward to admit that he fathered a child with a videographer he hired before his second White House bid. “It was wrong for me to ever deny she was my daughter,” he said Thursday.

http://apnews.myway.com/article/20100121/D9DC4N100.html

Normal

January 21st, 2010
11:54 am

RW,
Are you trying to be funny? Are you such a believer in Freedom of Speech that anything can be said or shown? Flag burning, yes. Political rallys, yes. Standing up and speaking your piece without fear, yes. But smut, porn of any type? Racial slurs? NO! You are the one that needs to re-think your position.

This is all about taking pot shots at the “liberal” judges who voted against opening up more ways for big money corporations, who have only their self interests in mind, to buy an election.

LA

January 21st, 2010
11:54 am

“Farewell democracy, I hardly knew thee.”

Last time I checked, America was a Republic.

Jenifer

January 21st, 2010
11:54 am

Corporate suffrage anyone? Voting rights for elections? After all, if they’re equivalent to people, it would be unconstitutional to deny it to them.

Sunshine and Thunder

January 21st, 2010
11:55 am

Those dirty old, robe wearing justices. Imagine them upholding free speech that “congress made a law prohibiting”. I thought all of you leftists were gaga over free speech.

Normal

January 21st, 2010
11:55 am

LA, I don’t get your 11:53. Did Sarah father a child too?

I Report (-: You Whine )-: mmm, mmmm, mmmmm!

January 21st, 2010
11:56 am

The Labor Department said Thursday that initial claims for unemployment insurance rose last week by 36,000 to a seasonally adjusted 482,000. Wall Street economists expected a small drop, according to Thomson Reuters.

I sure would like to see how the Urinal plans on spinning that^^.

LA

January 21st, 2010
11:56 am

“to buy an election.”

You mean like George Soros did in 2008?

LA

January 21st, 2010
11:58 am

“Did Sarah father a child too?”

Geez Normal, you ain’t none too bright is ya?

My point, which you obviously missed, was that Jay always rants and howls about how bad Palin is yet Edwards is a lying sack of crap.

Taxpayer

January 21st, 2010
11:59 am

I suspect that in no time at all, cigarette smoking will be found to cure cancer, mercury and lead will be shown to be so important for proper development that they’ll be added to One-A-Days, catsup will once again regain its throne as a most valued vegetable, and the health benefits of inhaling massive amounts of NO2, SO2, CO2, etc. will finally be revealed in numerous peer-reviewed studies, amongst all the other things that only boatloads of money can buy. After all, it has already been well established what we are. Now we’re just negotiating a fair value for our service. Welcome to the 21st Century where FoFoFo Foxy New New News isisis thethethe only news u nnnnneed.

RW-(the original)

January 21st, 2010
11:59 am

Today the Supreme Court struck a major blow for free speech by correctly holding that government cannot try to “level the political playing field” by banning corporations from making independent campaign expenditures on films, books, or even campaign signs.

As Justice Kennedy said in announcing the opinion, “if the First Amendment has any force, it prohibits jailing citizens for engaging in political speech.”

Supreme Court Ruling on Hillary Movie Heralds Freer Speech for All of Us

Why do moonbats hate free speech?

md

January 21st, 2010
12:00 pm

“Tell that to the tax man. If my property and house are worth nothing, then why do I have to pay taxes on it?”

Taxes are paid on assessed value, not actual value. Regardless what they/you think your assests to be worth, they will never be worth more than you sell them for. They may assess at 200k, but if you sell for dollar fifty, that is the actual value.

Jenifer

January 21st, 2010
12:02 pm

The Framers’ Experiment is definitely over.

Fly-On-The-Wall

January 21st, 2010
12:03 pm

The problem I have with this is I don’t consider a corporation a ‘person’ therefore they do not qualify for these ‘rights’. The individuals that have ownership within the corporation have the rights but not the entity itself. We’ve allow ‘ghost’ people to have the rights of real people and these ghost people have a lot of money to spend.

Jenifer

January 21st, 2010
12:03 pm

At least we lasted a while…right? 234 years…not a bad run. Though, did we beat the Romans?

Disgusted

January 21st, 2010
12:04 pm

At last, truth in advertising. Elected representatives are now free to announce their sponsorship, as college professors who hold endowed chairs currently do. I can see it now:

Saxby Chambliss, Archer Daniels Midland Company Senator from Georgia

Paul

January 21st, 2010
12:04 pm

off topic

Bosch

There was one three left. The others were boxed and the Resurrection ship was destroyed. Remember when they found the first planet – destroyed – they thought was Earth? D’Anna became depressed and chose to stay there and die.

RW-(the original)

January 21st, 2010
12:05 pm

Normal,

I repeat you need to seek help. In the meantime you might try to get a grip and not attempt to equate the freedom to run issue ads in a political campaign with the kiddie porn you libs are always bringing up.

If you actually care to have a serious discussion then you might try sticking to the issue since your position seems to be nobody should ever be allowed to speak their mind for any reason. Stalin would be proud.

Fly-On-The-Wall

January 21st, 2010
12:06 pm

Edwards maybe a lying sack of crap but he isn’t planning on running for President like the lying sack of crap that Palin is.

Aynnie Randie

January 21st, 2010
12:06 pm

Leftism is dead! Hoooo-rayyyy! Everybody stand and repeat:

I pledge allegiance to the flag of the Corporate States of America, and to the principles of profit for which it stands, truth be damned, product safety and honest accounting be damned, lots of division, with compassion and civil court justice for none. (Except corporate lawyers.) Amen.

joe matarotz

January 21st, 2010
12:07 pm

Try this one on for size.

The banking industry is saying that Obama’s bank tax may be unconstitutional. The Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association, a banking lobby group, has hired Supreme Court litigator Carter G. Phillips of Sidley Austin LLP to research the issue and prepare for a possible legal battle against Obama’s proposed bank tax.

Syney Austin LLP contributed $588,598.00 to Obama’s election campaign, good enough to earn ninth place in his top ten contributors.

What say you, Jay Bookman? Does this pass the smell test? Or should we look the other way because a Democrat couldn’t possibly be involved in a confilct of interest?

The Obama worshippers may give him a pass here, but this one stinks to high heaven.

Southern Comfort

January 21st, 2010
12:07 pm

If a corporation is now considered a “person” based on the fact that they have 1st Amendment rights, does that now mean that they should be taxed as a “person” as well?

Jenifer

January 21st, 2010
12:08 pm

Down, down, down we go.

Del

January 21st, 2010
12:09 pm

Breaking
Sources that have chosen to remain anonymous revealed today that the Obama administration will soon be issuing a statement that Tuesday’s election in Massachusetts where Democrats lost a Senate seat formerly held by the late Senator Ted Kennedy did so because of President Obama’s predecessor George W. Bush and the Republican party. Sources said that Senator Kennedy’s medical records will prove that the late Senator’s brain cancer actually began during the Bush administration and that President Obama inherited a terminally ill Senate Democrat from former President Bush and the Republican Party. These anonymous sources went on to reveal that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Speaker Nancy Pelosi , Attorney General Eric Holder, and ranking White House officials were holding closed door meetings to determine how to circumvent existing laws protecting medical records so that this documentation proving the previous administrations culpability can be released to the public.

Fly-On-The-Wall

January 21st, 2010
12:09 pm

SC, the SCOUS gave corporations human status back in the 30s so I doubt we’ll see them taxed like regular people anytime soon.

jt

January 21st, 2010
12:10 pm

“Why do moonbats hate free speech?”

It causes them to re-examine their “pre-conceived” notions.

It will cause them to do homework on their candidates instead of just listening to their community organizer/political bosses.

It might offend them.

In short, it will cause them to think.

getalife

January 21st, 2010
12:11 pm

I guess you can argue Obama is committing political suicide with bank reform.

Or just bs.

I am going to argue bs.

Normal

January 21st, 2010
12:11 pm

OK RW…you are always right, I mean way right, right out there. yeah that’s you all right. Oh I said that didn’t I?

md

January 21st, 2010
12:11 pm

“If a corporation is now considered a “person” based on the fact that they have 1st Amendment rights, does that now mean that they should be taxed as a “person” as well?”

They are taxed as a person – you and me.

Curious Observer

January 21st, 2010
12:11 pm

The implementation of this ruling ought to be very entertaining, much as the “Ma, Ma, where’s my Pa/Gone to the White House, ha, ha, ha” pamphlet was before the election of Grover Cleveland. There should be some really scurrilous films available to the electorate in the 30 days before a major election.

Sunshine and Thunder

January 21st, 2010
12:12 pm

If corporations don’t have free speech then how do advocacy groups such as the ACLU and the NRA have it? Most of those groups are organized as corporations under code 503 (c).

MaJo

January 21st, 2010
12:12 pm

Jay, you didn’t complain about special interests recently when the unions got special tax treatment in the health care bill. Why?

Whacks Eloquent

January 21st, 2010
12:12 pm

Jenifer,

Well, at least with the health care reform on hold, the pharmaceutical companies will continue to be profitable, meaning there is still plenty of Xanax to go around! Cheers!

Normal

January 21st, 2010
12:13 pm

joe matarotz

January 21st, 2010
12:07 pm

Joe,
from today on anything anti corporation is going to be unconstitutional…

Aynnie Randie

January 21st, 2010
12:13 pm

Only suckers pay taxes.

Fly-On-The-Wall

January 21st, 2010
12:13 pm

Hmm, during the 8 years of the Bush presidency ‘moonbats’ were regularly subjected censorship, even on this blog, by reich-wingers. They were told constantly that they were unpatriotic by saying anything bad or disagreeing with the President and the Republican Congress. Now all of a sudden you think we are against free speech. Give me a break. The problem is you just can’t handle the truth! LOL, you are all such a joke.

Kamchak

January 21st, 2010
12:16 pm

Why do moonbats hate free speech?

Why is the “hate” card played against opposing views?

RW-(the original)

January 21st, 2010
12:16 pm

Normal,

Thanks for proving yourself incapable of taking a discussion beyond where your first soundbite flames out. I’m going to head to the forest now, laughing all the way. Thanks, again.

Later y’all!

Jay

January 21st, 2010
12:17 pm

So Joe M., the fact that the Obama administration is pursuing a policy OPPOSED by one of his major givers is a conflict exactly how?

Southern Comfort

January 21st, 2010
12:18 pm

Why not just require politicians to wear fire suits w/sponsor patches like racers do now. At least that way you’ll know who’s backing them.

Acceptance speeches would be a blast to listen to then.

stands for decibels

January 21st, 2010
12:18 pm

There should be some really scurrilous films available to the electorate in the 30 days before a major election.

But, that’s good, because it will “force us to do our homework.”

Or something.

Whacks Eloquent

January 21st, 2010
12:18 pm

Fly,

Getting blasted for an opposing viewpoint is not the same as censorship. Were Bookman et al actually blocking liberals on a daily basis from contributing to the blog comments? Not unless they were obscene, and that level of censorship is to be expected, and I would argue it has value.

md

January 21st, 2010
12:20 pm

“Why not just require politicians to wear fire suits w/sponsor patches like racers do now. At least that way you’ll know who’s backing them.”

May actually be better to know up front vs have no clue who is slipping them the favors.

FinnMcCool

January 21st, 2010
12:22 pm

This all bodes well for the alcohol and drug industries.

Keep us sedated so we wont feel a thing.

Fly-On-The-Wall

January 21st, 2010
12:22 pm

Whacks Eloquent,

I agree with you, there really ISN’T any censorship going on. But the right likes to claim it every time someone disagrees with them. Much like the Ms. Prejean situation. No one was censoring her, they were just disagreeing with her.

I think many people at this time in this country do not understand the difference.