Corporations already have too much control over American political discourse, and that problem will only get worse thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in the Citizens United case. Adam B posted excerpts from the decision and the dissents.
The SCOTUS blog posted the complete text of the ruling and linked to many reactions and commentaries.
Election law expert Richard Hasen concludes that the court just killed campaign finance reform:
It is time for everyone to drop all the talk about the Roberts court’s “judicial minimalism,” with Chief Justice Roberts as an “umpire” who just calls balls and strikes. Make no mistake, this is an activist court that is well on its way to recrafting constitutional law in its image. The best example of that is this morning’s transformative opinion in Citizens United v. FEC. Today the court struck down decades-old limits on corporate and union spending in elections (including judicial elections) and opened up our political system to a money free-for-all.
The Des Moines Register assessed the impact on Iowa law, suggesting that our state may not be able to continue to ban corporate campaign contributions. (I thought this ruling pertained to independent expenditures by corporations, not direct corporate donations to candidates.) Kathie Obradovich collected some comments from Iowa politicians. Democrats slammed the ruling–not that they’ve accomplished anything on campaign finance reform since taking power.
All in all, a depressing day for our sorry excuse for a democracy. Any relevant comments are welcome in this thread.
UPDATE: Representative Leonard Boswell has introduced a constitutional amendment to overturn this ruling:
“I have introduced this important legislation because the Supreme Court’s ruling strikes at the very core of democracy in the United States by inflating the speech rights of large, faceless corporations to the same level of hard-working, every day Americans,” Boswell said in a statement. “The court’s elevation of corporate speech inevitably overpowers the speech and interests of human citizens who do not have the coffers to speak as loudly.”
Boswell said House Joint Resolution 68 would disallow a corporation or labor organization from using any operating funds or any other funds from its general treasury to pay for an advertisement in connection with a federal election campaign, regardless of whether or not the advertisement expressly advocates the election or defeat of a specified candidate.
“Corporations already have an active role in American political discourse through million-dollar political action committees and personal donations to campaigns,” Boswell said. “The legislation I introduced will prevent the Wall Street corporations that received billions in taxpayer bailout dollars from turning around and pouring that same money into candidates that will prevent financial regulation on their industry. No American should have to turn on the TV and see AIG telling them how to vote.”