Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Et tu, Supreme Court?

In case you thought there was a part of Government not bought and paid for like, say Treasury, Congress, or the Presidency, along comes another slap in the face to wake you up. In The New York Times, January 21, 2010, “Justices, 5-4, Reject Corporate Spending Limit”, Adam Liptak reported that the Supreme Court overruled two important precedents about the First Amendment rights of corporations:

“… a bitterly divided Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that the government may not ban political spending by corporations in candidate elections.
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.

The justices in the majority brushed aside warnings about what might follow from their ruling in favor of a formal but fervent embrace of a broad interpretation of free speech rights.

“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.””

Other sources suggest the ruling opens the door to unlimited spending by foreign and multinational corporations as well in US elections. So much for YOUR voice in America.

I’m sorry, but I fail to see how a corporation is a citizen or association of citizens. A corporation is a legal entity, not a person, and it is certainly not an association of citizens in the sense of a social or special interest club, where people participate on a relatively equal footing, and the voice of the association is representative of its members.

A corporation has more in common with the Army than it has with association of citizens, because the average corporate employee has no more say in the activities of the corporation than does a private in the army. While the Sierra Club, Greenpeace, the NRA, or your local golf club would never dare advocate against the interests of its own members, a corporation very well might advocate for laws against unions for example, against its own employees in other words. What could be more unfair than taking profits made by the labor of its own employees and using it to lobby Government against their interests?

No, this Government is taking sides in class warfare at every turn, the top against everyone below, first the bailouts of Wall Street and the banks, now this. It’s ugly to witness.

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