Friday, 1/22/10, Public Square


Filed under The Public Square

35 responses to “Friday, 1/22/10, Public Square

  1. Two things that have slowly destroyed our democracy: corporations being given “personhood” and lobbying money being considered the same as “speech.”

    Both of these destructive rulings delivered by our Supreme Court over time. The latest Supreme Court decision in this area either puts the nail in the coffin of a government by, of and for the people or provides us all with the impetus to begin a revolution. From today’s NY Times:

    “The 5-to-4 decision was a vindication, the majority said, of the First Amendment’s most basic free speech principle — that the government has no business regulating political speech. The dissenters said that allowing corporate money to flood the political marketplace would corrupt democracy. ”

    “If the First Amendment has any force,” Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote for the majority, which included the four members of the court’s conservative wing, “it prohibits Congress from fining or jailing citizens, or associations of citizens, for simply engaging in political speech.”

    Or regulating the amount of BRIBE money that can flow into “our government.”???

    FREE SPEECH ZONES are OKAY, but it is not okay to regulate the amount of bribe money being funneled to representatives in our government because that would infringe upon the free speech rights of corporations???!!


  2. “Justice Stevens said the majority had committed a grave error in treating corporate speech the same as that of human beings.

    “The difference between selling a vote and selling access is a matter of degree, not kind,” Justice Stevens wrote. “And selling access is not qualitatively different from giving special preference to those who spent money on one’s behalf.”

    Justice Kennedy responded that “by definition, an independent expenditure is political speech presented to the electorate that is not coordinated with a candidate.”

    HUH? I read legal documents every day and I can’t tell you what in the free world Kennedy was talking about? Anyone understand it?

    The McCain-Feingold law contains an exception for broadcast news reports, commentaries and editorials. But that is, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. wrote in a concurrence joined by Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., “simply a matter of legislative grace.”

    When do the PEOPLE of this country get some “legislative grace?”

    Anyone else tired of getting screwed by these assholes? The Supreme Court has disgraced itself entirely in the past ten years.

    We can’t turn to our legislators for relief or for justice, we can’t turn to our executive branch for relief or for justice and we can’t turn to our courts for relief or justice. Doesn’t sound ANYTHING like what the Constitution laid out, does it?

    • 6176746f6c6c65

      Justice Kennedy is saying that by definition, an independent expenditure of funds, an issue ad, to give an example, is one directed to the voters, actual or potential, that is not associated with a candidate, i.e., independent of a campaign which is intended to persuade on an issue in a way favorable to the point of view presented.

      In the context of the decision, the advertising done for the movie on Senator Clinton which purportedly reviewed her 30 years in politics to show she would do whatever it took to gain and retain power, was not done by any campaign of an opponent of Sen. Clinton for office. Rather, it was done by a third-party group who felt she was not a desirable person to be President, and was using the disallowed advertising to promote its position.

      Thus, the speech was political; political speech is protected by the First Amendment; it was propounded by the group which was (at least by appearance) not associated with any campaign, whether the Obama campaign, the McCain campaign, or any other, which by definition (statutory, if memory serves) was an independent expenditure; the prohibition on the expenditure infringed on the protected right, and therefore was unconstitutional.

      • Thanks for clearing that up. It is helpful to understand the context, so thanks for explaining that too.

        It doesn’t change my opinion of this opinion. And thanks to Bush sr and jr, we have more precedent now for the graft and corruption to not only continue, but worsen.

        Where’s that Hope that Clinton and Obama both talked about? I can’t seem to find it.

      • 6176746f6c6c65

        You are welcome, Paula. I, too, do not like the decision.

  3. tosmarttobegop

    Once in awhile when watching the news something just hits me between the eyes.

    Facts and the illogical most of the time, here is a few.

    The Supreme court’s ruling about Corporation and free speech, just who is “the person” speaking for a Corporation?

    The Republican candidate for the Governor of Ohio is a former Congressman during the 90’s.

    And is running by stating that back in the nineties while he was in Congress.

    They balanced the National budget.

    They reduces the deficit.

    And ran a surplus.

    And since he is a Republican does he really want the people to think about what happen afterwards?

    I mean a Republican President.

    A Congress with a Republican majority.

    A Senate with a Republican Majority.

    The National budget was not balanced.

    The National deficit increased.

    And they turned a surplus in to a minus.

    • WSClark

      IMHO it would be up to his opponent to point out forcefully, that happened under a Democratic president and further to highlight the fiscal differences under Bush.

      This is what I mean by fighting back – the GOP’ers are masters at revisionist writing of history.

      We can’t let them get away with it.

      No more Mr. Nice Guy!

      • tosmarttobegop

        Yeah that was my second thought.
        As soon as he would give that example I would counter with and what happen after that?

        The country elected Republicans and it all went South!

      • tosmarttobegop

        But it is maddening to me, how the voters have such short memories!

        Chances are that no one would remember the Politics of the 90’s and would think the Democrat was spinning.

    • lillacluvr

      And the current GOP revisionists will simply say that George W. Bush was not a ‘real’ or ‘pure’ Republican.

      Funny thing though, when GWB was in office, there sure were alot of lockstepping Republicans doing the high-kicking steps of the loyal GOPPER dogs. And alot of those faces are the same faces today trying to rewrite history.

    • 6176746f6c6c65

      The person speaking on behalf of a corporation is the person directed by the Board of Directors to do so, with the position of the corporation on an issue, candidate, whatever determined by a vote of the Board.

  4. lillacluvr

    Thank God for videotapes…..

    Just remind them who was president at the time in 90’s – I believe that would be Bill Clinton, a Democrat.

    And then if they bring up Clinton’s sex life (and you know every good GOPPER does eventually), well that will just give an opportunity for Democrats to point out all the Republicans’ sex lives that have been brought to light lately.

    But – for this tit for tat posturing going on – what really ever gets resolved?

    • 6176746f6c6c65

      Nothing is resolved; any ‘victory’ obtained by the tit for tat posturing is Pyhrric usually.

      • lillacluvr

        That’s the problem – IMHO.

        We sure seem to waste alot of money on things that do not bring any resolution.

        But it keeps entertainment types in their multi-million dollar contracts – doesn’t it?

      • Yep. And, in this context, it helps one understand the amount of money spent on entertainment, be it professional or college athletics, movies, television shows, etc., as people seek some escape from the dreary realities of their lives.

  5. WSClark

    The reality of life is that you are going to die, sooner or later. It is what you do in the meantime that makes the difference.

    “And, in the end, the love you take/ Is equal to the love you make.” – the Beatles, the End, Abbey Road.

    This is the last line in the last album recorded by all four Beatles collectively.

    Love your friends – and tell them you love them. Love your family above all – and tell them you love them everyday. Don’t wait until tomorrow to heal any wounds from yesterday. Love your pets, love your hobbies, love cleaning your house and doing your dishes. Love your job and the music you listen to on the way to work. Hell, love your enemies and thank God that you aren’t them.

    “Love your neighbor as yourself.” – J. Christ 29 CE

    And for God’s sake, smile – it makes people think that you are up to something.

  6. itolduso

    In conjunction with the posting of WSCLARK
    “IF ONLY I HAD” is one of the worst phrases a man or woman can utter. To take from the corporate world….Just do it….. You will feel better in the end.

  7. David B

    Activist judges overturning precedent… and the right wing cheers…

    Funny, wot?

    • itolduso

      On the contrary, it appears that SCOTUS was following precedent:

      The laws of the United States hold that a legal entity (like a corporation or non-profit organization) shall be treated under the law as a person except when otherwise noted. This rule of construction is specified in 1 U.S.C. §1, which states:

      In determining the meaning of any Act of Congress, unless the context indicates otherwise– the words “person” and “whoever” include corporations, companies, associations, firms, partnerships, societies, and joint stock companies, as well as individuals;”

      “often traced to the 1886 U.S. Supreme Court case Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad Company (118 U.S. 394). ”

      “Later, in Northwestern Nat Life Ins. Co. v. Riggs (203 U.S. 243 (1906)), having accepted that corporations are a type of people, the court still ruled that the 14th Amendment was not a bar to many state laws that effectively limited a corporation’s right to contract business as it pleases.”

      among others.

      • Yes, they were following precedent, to a degree. But corporate personhood was not the opinion that was being requested in that case, so, it doesn’t necessarily have to be precedent.


        it was, at the time, to a degree, judicial activism, as would be defined by our conservative brethren.


        even if it is precedent, it is a disastrous one. Especially when we can now see the full fruition of this finding.

        As I have said before, a finding of corporate personhood and the finding that money is speech are two of the most destructive findings in our country’s history. I would argue that to treat a corporation as a natural person puts a natural person at a disctinct disadvantage, thereby creating an underclass. Corporations have the same rights as natural persons without having the same responsbilities and with extra legal and financial privileges.

      • I note that 1 U.S.C. §1 applies only to Acts of Congress, by its own specific terms. The Constitution is not included within that general rule of statutory construction.

        It does return to Santa Clara v. Southern Pacific doesn’t it, when the Constitution is being interpreted.

    • As to the two cases overruled, they were of recent vintage (1990s), and there were several Constitutional scholars who, at the time, felt they were wrongly decided in view of the long standing precedent, as my memory serves.

    • Interestingly, the power of the Supreme Court to conduct judicial review of an Act of Congress to determine its constitutionality for reasons other than failure to comply with the requisite formalities to enact a law was the product of Chief Justice John Marshall in his opinion in Marbury v. Madison. Without that very first ‘activist judge’, we would not be having this conversation today, imho. Wonder how many cheering this decision are aware of this, and how things would be different had an ‘activist judge’ not ruled as he did?

  8. Monkeyhawk

    I just saw one of those new personalized license plates. You’d think Jesus would drive a better truck.

  9. lillacluvr

    While Republicans are cheering the ruling on Corporations and their free speech, am I to assume these same people are cheering this same ruling gives labor unions the same free speech?

    This is a two-sided coin – so while Republicans think they have won some big victory, it also means there is nothing they can say about labor unions doing the exact same thing – well, they cannot truthfully say anything negative but we all know they will.

    • The thing is, unions will be criticized, as I hope other private corporations are, for the spending. On a practical level, unions lose the spending wars due to insufficient ammunition ($$$$) when compared to the opposition.

  10. itolduso


    While I mostly agree that the effects of this ruling is detrimental, and that “activist judicial rulings” are mostly defined by the losing side, I also think that it seems to be in line with precedent. Much of what the court does is look at long standing precedents and use them as at least a historical reference in how to decide. In such cases, I think we often get behind or against a particular decision because of the outcome, not the actual solidity of the argument. A good case (not arguing it here. just using it to make the point) was Roe V Wade. More than one supporter has agreed that it was bad Constitutional law for the right reasons. Seems to me that we really need a good education in the workings of the government and it’s basis.
    My point, I guess, is this. It does seem to me that giving corporations “people” status seems against the original intent, but is in line with the understanding of over 200 years of precedent.

  11. itolduso

    On a more practical level, doesn’t the current ruling make financial support of messages a bit more transparent than the current 527 system? Seems like I read that the 527’s funding can can be kept pretty murky until long after the election.

  12. David B

    The new ruling is a two-edged sword, but the bottom line is… a bottomless money pit to advance corporate interests…

    The “corporatization” of America is nearly total now.
    A billion dollars for a key senate race.. nothing to stop it, now.

    • lillacluvr

      Corporatization and the Neo-Con ideology, covered in the cloak of Godliness of the Religious Right has brought our country to an all time low.

      Sad to say, the orchestraters of this know exactly what they are doing but the majority of the so-called good Christians think they are keeping our country so morally superior.

      To borrow a phrase from Prairie Pond – Jesus wept.

  13. lillacluvr

    “I bet Mary Magdalene takes the bus.”

    Paula – good one. Thanks for the chuckle.

    • WSClark

      Mary didn’t take the bus – sorry to break this to you – but she was riding on the back of John’s Softail Heritage – Her Sporty was in the shop.