// You are reading...

Campaign Finance

Supreme Court Activism

Share

Stephanie Cohen shared an article with me that I would like to share on this site.

 http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/08/24/over-the-cliff/

 Not only is it brilliantly written, it goes to the heart of the great malaise that now assails our democracy – the silencing of the vast majority of Americans by corporations and special interest groups. This flood of money has been corrupting our politics for a long time, but the article lays out how the steady progression from the 1978 First National Bank of Boston v. Bellotti decision to the 2009 Citizens United v. FEC has finally broken down the last dikes that were erected over long decades to shield the democratic process from corruption.

This assault is so brazen, and so superficially camouflaged by misleading First Amendment arguments, that great tracks of the American public either support measures which essentially render them voiceless, or else misunderstand the fundamental nature of the rights that are at stake. For the Supreme Court to assign to corporations the same level of rights and protections as to citizens is a gross abuse of the judicial power and flies in the face of every one of the great Charters of Freedom that underpin our society.

“WE THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES…”, the opening phrase of the Constitution, makes absolutely plain – to the meanest understanding – that this is a contract between the people as the sovereign body to establish government; and that ALL rights withheld explicitly or implicitly in the Constitution and in its amendments refer back to the people as individual citizens. No other interpretation makes sense (think of the Second Amendment – do corporations have the right to arm themselves and form militias? certainly not). Not only that, but the self-same Supreme Court made explicit in its 2008 District of Columbia v. Heller decision that the right laid out the Second Amendment was an individual right applying to individual citizens. Talk of corporations having the same level of protection of their speech, and the same level of political participation as franchised citizens, thus contradicts the spirit and letter of the First Amendment, as well as decades of Court opinion on commercial speech.

I will be developing this theme more in the “Issues” section in the near future, but I would like to hear back from you.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share

“Our obligations to our country never cease but with our lives.“

John Adams

Categories

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 790 other subscribers