Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Supreme Court Ruling is a Disaster

My goodness! By a 5 to 4 ruling the U.S. Supreme Court has set politics back a hundred years.
by Charlie Leck

This conservative Supreme Court has done none of us a favor and least of all the nation as a whole. In the name of the First Amendment, the majority opinion claims that campaign spending limits on corporations and their lobbyists are unconstitutional. This decision unleashes the power of America’s giant corporations over and against the democratic election process in our nation.

Yesterday (Thursday), the Supreme Court ruled that corporations are free to spend as much money as they want in the process of electing and defeating candidates. I spent the early morning hours yesterday reading the decision of both the majority and the dissenting opinion of the minority in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. I was shocked at the reasoning of the majority (the conservative wing of the court).

In essence, they equate corporations with people. Don’t believe me? I wouldn’t blame you, but it is a fact. Read the decision or read any of the dozens of commentaries about it that are now hitting the streets.

The lobbyists must have been dancing in the streets on Thursday night. Now they can wield a club at members of Congress whenever they want to. “Do our bidding or we will open our treasuries and spill out whatever funds it takes to defeat you.” The power of corporations in election campaigns in now virtually limitless.

Many will claim I am being hyperbolic, but this decision is the most flagrant misreading of the Constitution since Dred Scott (Dred Scott v. Stanton) in 1857. Scott, as you remember, was a slave who followed his master into free territory and then claimed the right, as a free man, to remain there. Missouri law agreed with him; yet the Supreme Court ruled against Scott and Missouri, finding that he, or any other being of African descent was not qualified to claim citizenship in the United States. Scott was chattel, according to the Supreme Court and, as such, was the property of his former owner and could be reclaimed.

On Thursday the Supreme Court recognized corporations (small, super and those in between) as people, giving corporations enormous freedom to wield their considerable and immense clout in determining who shall sit in our nation’s elected offices.

Does this sit well with you – especially if you think back to the confirmation hearings of John Roberts to become the Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court? Remember his promises that he would act as umpire only, calling balls and strikes, and not as a creator of new law. He was enormously critical in his testimony of those justices who try to create new law rather than interpreting current law in light of the constitution. Oh, my goodness!

If anyone thinks that the court has not created new law in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, they are naïve or silly.

Even John McCain said he was disturbed by some of the “extreme naiveté” in the thinking of the majority. On the other hand, the thinking and logic of the minority in this decision is brilliant and very much to the point that corporations should not have the same weight as the individual in deciding elections.

There are numerous calls for Congress to reverse this ruling through new and sound legislation, but we are in a period of such divisiveness in both the House and Senate that this will be impossible. So, welcome to a whole new U.S. that will now be run by monster corporations.

Your worst nightmares just came true!

If you want to read the full (183 pages) decisions of the Supreme Court, click here!


  1. The sad truth is your conclusion is true. This is devastating to democracy and an open invitation to plutocracy.