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Thursday, January 21, 2010

A Bad, Bad, Bad, Bad Decision

The Supreme Court, along its typical sane-to-wingnut vote count, voted 5-4 to strike down limits on corporate and union campaign contributions. As a result, conservatives get to shut the fuck up about "judicial activism" now. This overturns laws going back over a century.

For their part, the White House wasn't happy.

With its ruling today, the Supreme Court has given a green light to a new stampede of special interest money in our politics. It is a major victory for big oil, Wall Street banks, health insurance companies and the other powerful interests that marshal their power every day in Washington to drown out the voices of everyday Americans. This ruling gives the special interests and their lobbyists even more power in Washington--while undermining the influence of average Americans who make small contributions to support their preferred candidates. That's why I am instructing my Administration to get to work immediately with Congress on this issue. We are going to talk with bipartisan Congressional leaders to develop a forceful response to this decision. The public interest requires nothing less.

Meanwhile, the Democratic leadership is doing just that. The ruling wasn't a surprise and they should've had a bill loaded and ready to fire, but these are Democrats, so getting caught with their pants around their ankles shouldn't come as much of a shock.

How bad is this decision? Pretty damned bad. At issue was a "documentary" that was actually a long political ad against then-presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

Talk Radio News Service:

Justice Stevens wrote a lengthy dissent, harshly attacking the bases of the Court’s opinion. He pointed out that the law was not an outright ban, as Citizens United could have used PAC funding, aired the ad earlier, or refused contributions from for-profit corporations. He also noted that the Supreme Court has previously upheld speech restrictions on other groups based on their identities, such as students, prisoners, and members of the armed forces. The majority’s logic, Stevens wrote, “would have accorded the propaganda broadcasts to our troops by ‘Tokyo Rose’ during World War II the same protection as speech by Allied commanders.”

Justice Stevens also criticized the majority for producing a broader decision than was necessary. Citizens United had only asked for a special waiver for its documentary, but the majority chose to take the opportunity to strike down the entire law.

Hope you enjoyed citizen democracy. Unless this gets dealt with, individuals just got bought out of the system. 234 years was a pretty good run, though.

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