Member of the reality-based community of progressive (not anonymous) Massachusetts blogs
This will probably be just a blip on the news, but it should be screamed from the rooftops: the Supreme Court has overturned the ability of government to regulate the political spending of corporations. If you thought your politicians were bought and sold on the open market under the current flawed loopholes of campaign finance, you ain’t seen nothing yet. This is a big deal, folks.
The premise of conservative judges to rule this way is the application of the “free speech” provisions of our Constitution, which they say corporations have a right to. This is because under precedence, corporations are considered to have “personhood” - one of the most terrible rulings ever made, by the way.
And also patently not true. We completely block the free speech of corporations all the time. For instance, cigarette companies - they are banned from advertising on any broadcast or cable medium, and a lot of print mediums. A bit of a curb on those corporations’ free speech, don’t you think? But you don’t see that being overturned in the Supreme Court. Just political speech. WTF?
I’ve long said that the danger in the Bush conservative court was not the threat to choice, or other social liberties we’ve enjoyed. It is in the extremely pro-corporate background and history of these people Bush put on the Court during his term that would kill us.
Just to add: The Court says this is about Freedom of Speech. But given the concentration of wealth into corporations, some people’s speech is more important than others.
Also, I think this is a good point by Pogo in comments:
So David, as our resident legal scholar, and this is a serious question and the serious answer depends on what the majority opinion says, but could this lead to stronger criminal sanctions against companies and executives that break the law?
Instead of the usual fines and civil penalties, now that corporations are granted the same rights as people (as absurd as that sounds) it seems they should face similar penalties people face when we break the laws society creates. So instead of Exxon paying a fine of $100 million for breaking the law, the chairman of the board does six months in jail…or the company is sentenced to one month of not being able to conduct business in the jurisdiction where the law as broken? Yes, these are crazy thoughts, but no crazier than this ruling.
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