Supreme Court Rules 5-4 Against Campaign Limitations in The Hillary The Movie Case

In a decision that could have a dramatic effect on the upcoming elections, the Supreme Court has ruled 5-4 in favor of a group of conservative filmmakers in the “Hillary: The Movie” Case. The result of the decision could increase spending for corporations, unions, and nonprofits in the election. I previously discussed the case and the likelihood of this 5-4 ruling. I discussed the case on this segment of Countdown. Other commentators like Glenn Greenwald have also weighed in on the case with similar views, here.

The ruling went down the ideological line with Justice Anthony Kennedy giving the majority the fifth vote and then writing the opinion. He stressed that “[o]ur nation’s speech dynamic is changing, and informative voices should not have to circumvent onerous restrictions to exercise their First Amendment rights.” That is the sentiment that motivated another of civil libertarians and free amendment advocates to support the conservative litigants. This is a case that split the free speech community with the ACLU and free speech advocates like Floyd Abrams supporting the conservative filmmakers in this case.

While there is much speculation on the impact on the upcoming elections, it is notable that two provisions were upheld by the Court (with only Thomas dissenting). The Court upheld the disclosure requirement that requires corporations to file a report with the FEC on contributors of $1,000 or more (when the corporation spends more than $10,000 a year to produce such ads. It also upheld the disclaimer requirement that requires that the producers say who is responsible for the ad if it not authorized by a candidate or a political committee.

However, the Court overturned critical holdings in Austin v. Michigan Chamber of Commerce (upholding restrictions on corporate spending to support or oppose political candidates) and McConnell v. Federal Election Commission (upholding the central provisions of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law). The result is seismic for opening up elections to corporate spending. It is also a case of Justice Kennedy finally achieving a majority after voting against these limitations in 1990. While Justice Sandra Day O’Connor later changed her position to uphold campaign financing, Kennedy has remained firm that such limits run counter to the first amendment. He believes that public policy can be achieved through transparency provisions: “The government may regulate corporate political speech through disclaimer and disclosure requirements, but it may not suppress that speech altogether.”

The opinions offer strikingly different views of the First Amendment with Stevens writing: “The basic premise underlying the court’s ruling is its iteration, and constant reiteration, of the proposition that the First Amendment bars regulatory distinctions based on a speaker’s identity, including its ‘identity’ as a corporation.” While that glittering generality has rhetorical appeal, it is not a correct statement of the law.”

Both the Kennedy and Stevens opinions are very compelling and fascinating. The Kennedy decision does raise some questions over the sweep on his first amendment views and why any limits on campaign finances are constitutional. It also reintroduces the question of why corporations are treated as persons for the purposes of the first amendment. That latter question could now be the focus of a fight over a constitutional amendment. My opposition to a constitutional amendment is that I believe that there are more important political reforms to the system that need to be made. I do not believe that it is the money that has caused our political system to become so dysfunctional. It is also important to note that these restrictions were imposed on unions and non-for-profit corporations. The result of the restrictions, in my view, were disturbing line drawing as to what the government considered electioneering and what the government considered legitimate documentary work as with the distinction between Hillary the Movie and Fahrenheit 911.

There is a push now for a constitutional amendment, which I would not favor. It may be time for a paradigm change in how we think about this problem. We have a political failure in our system that is sucking the life out of the Republic. The monopoly of the two parties on power produces endless loops of corruption and conflict. The problem in my view is structural not financial. We need to break the domination of incumbents and the two parties. This can be done with fundamental changes in our primary system, eliminating the electoral college, creating new opportunities for third parties, and other reforms.

The FEC ruled that the film was prohibited as a “prohibited electioneering communication.” The lower court decisions proceeded to curtail the distribution of the film by restricting the conservative group in broadcasting and promoting the movie during the presidential primaries. In July, a three-judge panel granted the FEC’s motion for summary judgment.

Specifically, the desire of the group to put the movie in TV-on-demand access on cable TV was shelved due to the FEC’s decision.

Citizen United is challenging the federal “electioneering communications” disclosure requirements in the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act — a prohibition on corporations and nonprofits from airing broadcast ads, which refer to a federal candidate 30 days before a primary election. Citizens United is using the Court’s decision in Wisconsin Right to Life v. FEC, which exempted issue advocacy from the electioneering communications prohibition.

Watching the trailers below, it is hard to distinguish this movie from a campaign ad. However, the rulings below should trouble free speech advocates. The court found that the 90-minute campaign ad “susceptible of no other interpretation than to inform the electorate that Senator Clinton is unfit for office, that the United States would be a dangerous place in a President Hillary Clinton world, and that viewers should vote against her.” That may be so, but such a conclusion could also be reached in a perfectly legitimate documentary or parody. Consider Michael Moore’s anti-Bush documentary “Fahrenheit 9/11.”

The actual restrictions and their impact on the film are a bit more technical. The McCain-Feingold legislation requires that “any broadcast, cable or satellite communications” during the period before an election clearly state the name of the group paying for the ad is one such provision.

There is no question that Citizens United, a nonprofit corporation, has a bit of an obsession and hatred for both Clintons. It is the creation of Citizens United President David N. Bossie, a long Clinton critic.

The case raised both very broad and very technical questions. The threshold question, however, is the role of the government in making this judgment call between films from Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 911 to Hillary the Movie. Often literary works have a political purpose or message. Shakespeare’s work, particularly Richard III, has been described as a brilliant Tudor propaganda — Richard III was the last Yorkist king and vilifying the House of York was of great benefit to Shakespeare’s Tudor benefactors. Richard III was defeated by the first Tudor, Henry VII and the ancestor of Elizabeth I. In my Supreme Court seminar on the current case, my students and I discussed whether the FCC would require Shakespeare to add “Brought to you with the generous contributions of the Tudor Family.”

The vote in my Supreme Court class on the case was interesting. We split down the middle: Seven favored the ruling of the FCC while Seven would support Citizens United. However, the prediction of the likely outcome was heavily in favor of the Supreme Court affirming the lower three-judge panel against Citizens United.

Seth Waxman, who defended the law is predictably arguing stare decisis (Lat. “to stand by that which is decided”) and saying that a reversal of the earlier ruling after such a relatively short time would be “unseemly” and undermine the credibility of the Court.

Ted Olson argued that the law has created a “chilling effect” on first amendment rights and free speech. Many civil libertarians are sympathetic with those arguments — viewing the ruling as an affront to free speech. That includes Floyd Abrams a liberal defender of free speech who is representing Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader in one of the dozens of amicus filings.

Notably, when the Court last considered this law, Justice Sandra Day O’Connor voted to supply the fifth vote upholding the law in McConnell v. FEC in 2003. Her seat is now held by Justice Samuel Alito who predictably voted with the majority. Sotomayor voted as expected the same way as Souter to uphold the law.

Notably, Alito spoke out at the last hearing at a critical moment. In the March argument, the government argued that hypothetically the government could make it a crime to distribute books advocating the election or defeat of political candidates. The distinction that was drawn was whether it was paid for by corporate money rather than a political action committee. Alito exclaimed “[t]hat’s pretty incredible.”

I was sympathetic with Citizens United and the free speech groups. In the end, I have to favor more speech than less in such conflicts. While I would have written a concurrence and have difficulty with aspects of the majority opinion, I probably would have voted to support the majority in the result in this case. However, I do consider this to be one of the most difficult free speech cases to hit the court in decades. Many of my friends are on the other side and I understand that this is quite a blow. People of good faith can disagree on such issues. It really broke along a fine line. It depends on whether your gravitational point tended to fall along the free speech line or the good government line. It is a rare case where those lines ran perpendicular rather than parallel with each other.

For the trailers of the movie, see below:

You can read the opinion at this link.

For the full story, click here.

254 thoughts on “Supreme Court Rules 5-4 Against Campaign Limitations in The Hillary The Movie Case

  1. David Ben-Gurion once said, “The test of democracy is freedom of criticism.”

    Censorship within a free society should take one form only … self-censorship.

  2. Here’s a question: Say I work for a corporation that takes one side on a political issue that is completely opposed to my personal political opinion, how is this corporation that funds its ads through the work that I have performed, not infringing on my personal freedom of speech?

  3. Well, so much for our republic. I don’t see how an individual, any individual, can compete with the corporations. Although I understand the policy behind making a corporation an entity in the eyes of the law, I do not understand an policy that so clearly shifts the power to advocate a viewpoint to the corporations. While Professor Turley comes down on more freedom of expression, whose freedom is he advocating for: individuals or the corporations and business entities? With the money available from corporations it will be a very one-sided battle of expression of view points.

    Once again we have the golden rule: they who have the gold make the rules.

  4. I have long thought that the solution is not “less speech” but “more democracy.” The Consitution permits one representantive for every 30,000 people. That would result in around 10,000 representives.

    It would make interest groups buying off HOR elections too expensive. At the neighborhood level a grassroots door to door campaign can compete with a huge media campaign. A representative would be similar to a city counselman now. Your average citizen would be able to meet with their representative without the backing of a lobbying organization.

    The Senate would still be subject to pressure from corporations and unions, but that influence would be mitigated if the HOR became the house of the people once again.

    The only downside (for those who think it is a downside) would be that it would be more difficult to pass legislation. For a libertarian, this is a feature and not a bug.

  5. Stel: Is that real question?

    The First Amendment applies to the GOVERNMENT not to your employer (unless your employer IS the government).

  6. Pucker up and kiss democracy goodbye. This is the fatal blow to a system that was already bleeding from many wounds (most significantly the lobbying system that skews everything in favor of the wealthy.)

    Even given the unlikely outcome that the SCOTUS will become more liberal on some future date, what circumstances would give this new court standing to re-evaluate this issue and others? For instance: torture and extraordinary rendition, warrantless wiretapping, unconfirmable e-voting,…

    The negative repercussions of the Bush era following the odious Bush v. Gore decision will last for generations to come. And I can imagine that everyone is a little shocked at how easily democracy has been destroyed by the simple ruse of appointing partisan ideologues to the highest court.

  7. Stel:

    “how is this corporation that funds its ads through the work that I have performed, not infringing on my personal freedom of speech?”

    quite simply you are free to change companies and go to work for one more suited to your ideology.

  8. Byron Why do you want corporation to have free reign? Do you actually think that there are so many available jobs that one can just up and leave because their employer is running ads that favor republicans?

  9. Federalist Society Tory Swine Usurpers..!

    They’ve seen fit to further corrupt our already corrupted system…we have a system of legalized bribery already…now as I’ve written elsewhere the flood gates are wide open and the money will pour in as if it were Niagra Falls…

    It’s gonna be Orwellian in scope, election season will become a mind blowing cacophony of propaganda and what of corporations that also own media companies..?

    Unions will be bled dry trying to compete…with Corporations that’s a cunard..

    We’re a bribeocracy a democracy no longer…

    This was a political decision in the guise of free speech in this instance those with more money now have more Free Speech so we are no longer an Egalitarian Society which is what Scalia and Alito hated most being the authoritarians even Totalitarians they are…

    The Federalist Society has infested our Federal Court system and our DOJ as well which has lost almost all of it’s previous prominence due to the Fed Soc. zombies and other religious law school incompetents and zealots…

    I wonder if the lawyers for the film makers were also Federalist Society members…?

    That would be interesting to know…a cabal is a group within a group that what we have on our now really Their Supreme Court the Federalist Society Court to be more accurate..!

  10. Anyone who disagrees with this judgment is simply not an ardent proponent of First Amendment free speech rights. The Founders wisely left open the question of campaigners lying to the public for the public themselves to decide.

    The Internet is the great equalizer to corporations’ big spending ads, most of which will be on television—a communication medium I do not have. The only downside to this decision is that many of the electorate are too stupid, biased, or lazy to delve into the details for the facts and many will just remember the first thing they hear or *what* they want to hear, anyway. However, such human failings and potential impacts upon elections were not—and should not have been—within the Supreme Court’s purview for consideration.

    On balance, this decision is an advantage for democracy.

  11. I disagree with you LEO. It is not a level playing field. Corporations have enormous sums of money to spend. All republican appointees except Stevens the Ford appointee were in favor of this.It changes the election landscape.

  12. Professor,

    Thanks for taking the time to provide us with your take on the Court’s decision.

    I fully support free speech, but I think we need to find a way to ensure that equal time is given to all candidates for public office. I have a real problem with a system in which he who has the most money, or connections to the most money, is provided with an unfair advantage.

    I’m in favor of campaign finance reform that would give all candidates equal air-time. The advantage should be derived from hard work, and the message provided. Knocking on more doors should be the way to get more voter support.

  13. Swarthmore mom,

    Politics and elections have *never* been a “level playing field”. Therefore, it is up to the electorate to decide who is on the ‘level’ and who is not.

  14. Swarthmore mom:

    there are many corporations that do not hoe the republican line, GE and BBT bank come to mind. I have only named 2 that come quickly to mind. Geoffrey Imholt is a liberal and John Allison is an Objectivist. To assume that all corporations are in bed with republicans is incorrect.

    I would think corporations mostly act in their best interest and would choose the candidate more likely to help them. Most corporations give money to democrats as well as republicans to hedge their bets so to say liberal candidates would not have a chance is incorrect in my opinion.

    I think FFLEO is right. I also disagree with McCain-Feingold.

  15. Corporations aren’t all bad in just a little over a week they have donated $83 Million to Haiti.

    According to the Business Civic Leadership Center (BCLC), 203 U.S. companies donated a total of $83 million to Haitian relief so far.

  16. It’s time politicians cut the charades and don NASCAR-style jackets with their corporate sponsors’ logos on them.

  17. As frustrated as I am with this ruling, I didn’t see it going any other way.

    I think the real issue is the one brought up by Sotomayor in oral arguments. Does it really make sense to extend first amendment rights to a corporation? That’s a much broader question but it would encompass cases like this one. Limits on the political power of corporations would hardly be an issue if they weren’t afforded the same protections as citizens.

  18. “It’s time politicians cut the charades and don NASCAR-style jackets with their corporate sponsors’ logos on them.”

    I would agree, but only if the poliician solicited their support. If not, corporations with a bad reputation could support a candidate to hurt them.

  19. We can finally come out of denial that we live in a corporatocracy with this decision. I hope Berkshire Hathaway and Google make more money this year than Exxon Mobil and United Healthcare so they have more money for more ads. Warren and Sergei are more favorable to the democrats.

  20. Swarthmore mom:

    I forgot about Unions taking members dues and using them to elect liberal politicians. Some of those Union members are not liberal, they had to personally fund policies to which they were philosophically opposed.

    What do you say, is that right or wrong? Getting another job is certainly an option and the one I would suggest rather than limiting free speech.

    But why is it ok for Unions to do this and not corporations? I don’t see any difference.

  21. Former Federal LEO

    The court may have been sensitive to free speech issues, however
    what does one do when all the forces of propaganda belong to one entity and all they do is use the media to beat you over the head with thier point of view.
    Even members of congress don’t read legislation before they vote on it, let alone ordinary citizens who spend far too much time trying to provide for thier families.
    This can only increase the perception that all politicians are crooks whose vote can be bought.
    This decision may be a vote for democratic ideals but wrong for the application of American democracy.
    And really there is no such thing as truly free speech.

  22. Byron:

    “quite simply you are free to change companies and go to work for one more suited to your ideology.”

    Quite true.

    But the same argument was made about segregation. You’re free to go to a country club or a school that better suits you. So I’m wondering whether this apparent freedom leaves corporations open to tort cases.

  23. Stel Pavlou,

    There’s a big difference between being excluded because of the color of your skin, and not having a voice in your employers decisions.

  24. I look forward to reading the opinion and hearing Prof. Turley’s comments this evening. However, I am not surprised by the ruling. I have always been strongly opposed to restrictions on speech, and as much as I hate the influence of raw wealth on political decision-making, I believe that efforts based purely on limiting campaign expenditures are doomed to failure. The problem is with our treatment of corporations. As soon as we determine that an artificial entity should be regarded as a person for purposes of the First Amendment, the conclusion reached by the court is almost inevitable. Of course, the chair I’m sitting in is also an entity, but you could poll it all day without getting a response. Likewise, a corporation cannot speak, drive a car or write checks for earthquake relief in Haiti. It can only act through individuals.

    Preliminarily at least, it seems to me that we need to focus on two areas concerning which something can be done without adversely impacting the First Amendment. The first relates to curbing corporate power through revising the ways in which corporations are governed. For example, corporation statutes have been gradually revised over the years with two goals in mind, the virtual elimination of personal liability of officers and directors for wrongful corporate acts and the creation of barriers to the prosecution of shareholder derivative actions. There are many ways in which we can legislatively restrict the ability of corporations to act without shareholder approval and increase the ability of shareholders to ride herd on boards of directors without running afoul of the First Amendment. Unfortunately, the trend over the years has been toward immunizing corporations. No one ever seems to wonder at the irony of a system in which we preach invididual responsibility, and then give individuals an out by permitting them to form a group of individuals and file a few papers with the applicable Secretary of State.

    The second area open to reform is disclosure. You can try to sell me anything you wish, but you have to tell me who’s selling it. Anonymity is the bosom friend of corruption. Full disclosure of who’s behind a particular campaign enables an honest analysis of the message, and permits counter-pressure to be brought to bear where it can be most effective. The concept that corporations favor “good government” is absurd. Corporations favor policies that promote profit. When people know who stands to profit, they are better informed. A group of health insurance companies who combine to form “Old People for Freedom of Choice in Health Care” are engaging in false advertising. But if I know that the Old People in that grassroots organization are all insurance company CEOs who live within two blocks of each other in Greenwich, Connecticut, I can judge the message accordingly. Proper disclosure would also permit the organization of targeted boycotts to express displeasure with the message.

    I’m sure there are some very smart people out there with some very smart ideas on this issue. My point is that I know of no reason that we can’t deal with the problem without once again taking the route of chipping away at the Bill of Rights. Surely we haven’t forgotten already that there was way too much of that under our old friends, Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney.

  25. Stel:

    Duh beat me to it.

    When you go to work for a company you work for them and they pay you, hopefully it is a mutually beneficial transaction. The fact that you make them money is immaterial as you have agreed to provide work for compensation.

    If they told you they believed in X and used some of their profits to support X and then supported Y maybe you would have a case if part of your employment agreement consisted of supporting X.

  26. Stel, your employer, unlike a union or the government, is not a representative organization by construction. You have no standing by contract or constitution that legally compels your company to act in your best interest. If conditions your company visits on you become odious you leave unless you have a personal contract or collective bargaining agreement that gives you a process for redress or compensation.

    Not to make light of you question but I would point you in the direction of the NBC late-night talk show brouhaha as an illustration. Byron is on point in saying “If they told you they believed in X and used some of their profits to support X and then supported Y maybe you would have a case if part of your employment agreement consisted of supporting X.”

    Byron, “why is it ok for Unions to do this (contributions) and not corporations?” (You didn’t ask me but I’m going to take a run at answering your question)
    Because unions are, like the form of government we have, representative in nature and law. You elect people to act in your best interest. If you don’t like how they do that you can vote in new people to better serve you. Corporations are not representative bodied except to the extent that their shareholders have the right by law or contract (those little flyers you get telling you where and when the next shareholder meeting will be and what your rights as a shareholder are) to make their wishes effectively known.

  27. Is it time to re-enact a Fairness Doctrine, so that the Corporation doesn’t overrun our system? Or is fairness itself – now quaint like the Constitution itself, as Alberto Gonzales recklessly quipped?

  28. So if corporations are people, as the five SCOTUS justices bought and paid for by the GOP ruled, can they be tried as people? Can they now vote? Can they adopt children? Is a merger between two similar corporations now what Ms Parjean would call a “same” marriage?

    The government allowed a corporation to murder Iraqi civilians with impugnity and immunity from prosecution. Anyone thinking there weren’t campaign contributions–limited by McCain/Feingold–involved is a fool. Now, imagine what can/will happen with no restrictions on corporate donations. The corporate-owned Congress compromised our civil liberties by changing a law to magically make legal the illegal wire tapping they were doing which began months before 9/11. If corporations can buy that kind of loyalty with McCain-Feingold intact, just imagine how they’re salivating now.

    This also allows not only US corporations and labor unions, but foreign corporations unlimited access to our election process. Equaling money with speech and calling corporation equal to voters is simply outrageous. One cannot love America and think this is okay. This is the demise of our democracy. That’s “demo”, from the Greek for PEOPLE. Today, We the People, got it driven hard where the sun don’t shine today.

    Alito and Roberts should be impeached for lying to Congress under oath. They both decried judicial activism and strongly supported reliance on precedent. Both of these were on display today. This was an act of judicial activism on steroids and creating new law which may actually require changing over 100 years of feederal laws regarding corporate and labor union political cobtributions.

    Finally, if money is speech, why is Jack Abranoff in jail? Does he get a new trial now?

  29. “So if corporations are people, as the five SCOTUS justices bought and paid for by the GOP ruled, can they be tried as people?”

    Yes corporations can be (and are) tried criminally. Let’s turn the tables. If your position is that corporations should have no constitutional rights, does that mean the government should be able to discriminate against corporations owned by certain ethic or religious groups? How would you feel if the government hypothetically refused to award government contracts to corporations owned by Muslims?

    If corporations have no rights does that mean the government can search corporate records without a warrant or probable cause? Should the government be able to take corporate property without just compensation? Should corporations be forced to stand trial without an attorney?

    Corporations are “people” under the constitution. That is not even under debate. If you are still trying to make that argument you are not even in the right ballpark.

    The question is whether special rules should apply when corporations (“legal persons” as opposed to “natural person”) talk.

  30. Mike A,

    Amen

    Byron,

    I’m all for limiting the ability of any non-individual contributions. Corporate, Union, Political parties, and non-profits of all sort. The enemy of individual freedoms isn’t the state, it’s the group.

  31. I wonder if you can try corporations like they did do with ownership of contaminated soils that would be wonderful.

    Hence, if any person that was connected to a company that was found criminally culpable then they go to jail. The banks for a long time would not lend money on commercial property because of the possibility of contaminated soil. Ergo the Superfund Clean up.

    Ah ha the possibilities……Maybe this is a decision that will effectively put all of the self dealing bankers in prison if the argument is extended…….

  32. I think we should go all the way and let corporations run for office. Senator WalMart, Majority House Leader McDonald’s Inc. It would be awesome.

  33. gYGES:

    that is an interesting thought, the “group” could possibly be a detriment to our republic. I guess National Socialism in Germany is a good example of how a “group” could come to power.

    But as you say if you have an objective rule of law it would be hard for a “group” like the National Socialists to gain power and remember Hitler basically took power from an old tired man.
    I think Germany is a different case though, I read a very interesting book recently about the intellectual history of the Communist Manifesto and came away feeling that the Germans had been primed for Hitler by way of Hegel and Marx.

    We have our founding documents to fall back on when the republic is in trouble. So all in all the “group” is not the problem so much as a destruction of our founding documents to the point where a “group” could take power using a perverted Constitution.

    Which is what has been going on for well over a hundred years. A little bit here a little bit there. Heck probably at the very start there were in place contradictions that have caused the problems we are seeing today.

  34. Byron,

    We live in a world vastly different than that of the time the Constitution was written. Not just because of technology, but also due to the enormity of the population. The saying goes “my right to swing my fist ends where your face begins,” and four farmers with acres of land between them have a lot more room to swing their fists than a 100 people living in the same apartment building.

    That being said, there was a concern with corporations and their potential to give rise to a class aristocrats. The Tea Party wasn’t only meant to hurt the British Government, it was meant to hurt the corporation benefiting from the unfair taxes in place. Maybe a return to a fixed time limit on the existence of individual corporations might solve a few of our modern problems.

    By way of clarification: I should have replaced “the enemy of” with “the possible threat to” in “The enemy of individual freedoms isn’t the state…”

  35. Former Federal LEO

    “Politics and elections have *never* been a “level playing field”. Therefore, it is up to the electorate to decide who is on the ‘level’ and who is not.”

    ==================================================================

    Well said and directly on point.

  36. Exxon Mobil has so many resources to advertise what they want for energy policy compared to the environmental groups. I just don’t understand what is good about this.

  37. the question isn’t whether one is an academic or practicing professional…the question is whether an “enity” is a person entitled to the rights of the 1st amendment of freedom of speech… an “enity” is made up of persons and is not a person…a person makes a decision an ‘enity’ has many persons making a decision…those persons may not be living in the prespective distict they are funneling money…

    Justice Roberts in his hearing for his seat stated that a 2 case precedent shall not be overturned…someone remind him of that….

  38. Worse than the Dred Scott decision? By a factor of ten!

    Professor! et tu?

    Sorry, but these are extraordinary times. Our nation is now in free fall as a result of this travesty. Free speech no longer matters because no matter what we say, we’re trumped by Corporate.

    We are oh so close to lock and load, sir. But before that, I would tend to favor a national general strike against Corporate and take what comes.

    The decision was obscene, reckless, and devastating. Talk about not seeing the forest through the trees at Columbia U. This is now a fascist dictatorship.

    Corporate is not a person, sir.

  39. Corporations are creatures of statute and can (and should) be governed by statute. They are allowed to be created at will by natural persons in order to be aggregations of capital, which in many ways facilitates commerce. Their legal status and characteristics are appropriately set by statute, for the public welfare, and they should have no more “rights” than the legislature decides they ought to have. For example, they can be sued, because without that law they could do whatever they wanted and people could have no legal recourse against them. They can be tried criminally, for the same reason, but note that they cannot be arrested, thrown in jail, required to post bond before being released, etc. and if found guilty, they cannot be sent to prison (although their officers can be, again by statute, while the corporation goes on about its business), but merely pay fines instead.

    The issue of whether corporations should properly be considered “people” under the Constitution is *precisely* at the center of this debate. As Justice Stevens noted: “…corporations have no consciences, no beliefs, no feelings, no thoughts, no desires. Corporations help structure and facilitate the activities of human beings, to be sure, and their “personhood” often serves as a useful legal fiction. But they are not themselves members of “We the People” by whom and for whom our Constitution was established.” I would go farther and point out that corporations do not eat, drink, sleep, or breathe; they can live forever; they can exist and operate in thousands of locations around the world simultaneously; they can carve off pieces of themselves which then become separate corporations in their own right; they can acquire ‘citizenship’ across multiple international boundaries simply by registering and paying a fee (witness Halliburton moving its corporate headquarters to Dubai in order to avoid US income tax); the list of differences between corporations and people goes on. Corporations do not have human concerns; they exist for profit and have that explicit goal, solely to better the fortunes of their shareholders. Their officers, employees, and shareholders all have political rights under the Constitution because they are all natural persons, so to deny corporations the right to be involved politically does not limit the right of any people involved with them to be so involved, as individuals. However, to allow them this right is exceedingly dangerous to our democracy, because of the overwhelmingly large amounts of money they can bring to bear to skew our entire political system. The Fortune 100 alone has combined revenues exceeding $13 trillion. They can afford to buy outright every single member of congress for generations to come, and I believe they will now proceed to do so because it’s advantageous to their profits.

    The legal fiction that corporations are “persons” and are thereby entitled to the same constitutional protections as natural persons got its start in a Supreme Court case in the late 1800’s involving railroads. The Court itself made no such ruling, explicitly noting in the opinion that they avoided any such ruling; rather, the court reporter, in summarizing the case in a headnote (which has no force of law), erroneously (some say deliberately, he being the former head of a railroad) flatly stated that “corporations are persons” under the law. This was picked up and (erroneously) used as precedent in later opinions. Some decades ago it was explicitly against the law in most states for a corporation to have *any* involvement in the political process, to publicly favor one candidate over another. Penalties included heavy fines; imprisonment for corporate officers; and, significanly, loss of the corporate charter (ie, right to do business) in the state. Personally I would love to see a return to those laws.

    Incidentally, I would apply these same comments to labor unions, churches, or any other organizations. An organization of people is not the same thing as the individual people themselves, and the founders were deeply concerned to guard against the political influence of aggregations of capital (corporate or otherwise). I believe the notion that the Bill of Rights should apply to anything other than human beings would be anathema to them. We the People, and democracy itself, took a grievous blow today.

  40. After watching a long diatribe from Olbermann of how the republic will collapse after this decision, I saw Prof Turley come on the Keith Olbermann show and I dispaired as to what Prof Turley would say. After all Olbermann usually only invites guests who agree with him.

    I totally disagreed with Olbermann on this issue, and yet I totally respect Prof Turley’s opinion on almost everything.
    Imagine my surprise when Prof Turley actually (abeit apologetically) disagreed with Olbermann! I sighed a relief, we were still on the same page.

    Even his solution is almost exactly what I would say, the two party system has a stranglehold on our political system, and the problem is not to be solved by attacking the symptoms, and diluting the 1st Amendment in the process, but affecting the infrastructure that makes such donations so easily perverted.

    Although the corporations may now have a open unfettered field, it is better that that may be, then prevent anyone from TALKING about an upcoming election, or even putting money where anyone may feel like.
    The latter is simply freedom to do with your speech and your money as you see fit.

  41. Good history and analysis John. I have no problem with corporations having rights similar to individuals so long as they have consequences like individuals for wrong-doing like the death penalty or periods of long inactivity enforced by law.

  42. There is I think a legislative solution to this that would not be too hard to implement – in fact I think conservatives would have a hard time opposing it other than by stealth.

    The Stockholders’ Right Act
    -would prohibit the management or board of a corporation from any contact with government that entailed a cost – eg. campaign contributions or lobbying – without the express permission of the holders of 2/3 of common stock.

    Otherwise the stockholders could be forced to stand by and watch the officers supporting the candidate, party or policy that they opposed. Where’s the protection for their free speech?

  43. Strike, even if it starves us, because death is better than capitulating to totalitarianism. Fight and die, if necessary, it’s better than giving in to Corporate.

    Like my Folger (Folgur) relative, Benjamin Franklin, I stand firm. No longer will the People obey the Supreme Court, Professor. After this abominable ruling, all rules are off the table. That means our second revolution is on the next page and that page is being turned now.

    There’s nothing left to lose but democracy itself.

    Corporate’s first act will be to kill net neutrality, which will seal our fate.

    Watch it happen, and go ahead, let it happen. My ass!

  44. This decision put a large hole in stare decisis and it has basically opened the door for elections being bought by corporations at the detriment of our country. The fascist label can now be attached to the United States because the government has essentially merged with corporations. I agree with Prof. Turley that we should get rid of the Electoral College, but that won’t prevent the corporations from spending Billions to get “their” people into power and it will not happen in several lifetimes, if at all. If this law “chilled” First Amendment rights of corporations, doesn’t “Free Speech Zones” chill all of our First Amendment rights? If this law “chilled” Corporate First Amendment rights, how could the Chamber of Commerce spend over $120 million to try to defeat the health care reform???

  45. John,

    Thanks for the history and analysis.

    What was the railroad case you refer too? I’m not doubting you, I’m interested in reading the Court’s opinion.

  46. John,
    Do your really believe that corporations are entitled to the same rights as actual human citizens? That the founders meant the freedom of speech to apply to entities that are creations of the law, rather than flesh and blood people? I genuinely do not want to believe that you and other free speech advocates have embraced such a radically pro-corporate position, but that seems to be the implication of your post. Am I wrong?

    Your loyal reader,
    Isaac

  47. Professor Turley, you shockingly ignore the fundamental question of law…..is it time to overturn the odious decision in SANTA CLARA COUNTY v. SOUTHERN PACIFIC RAILROAD which mistakenly and unconstitutionally conferred the rights that PEOPLE have in the Constitution onto corporations, which are simply legal entities created for the purpose of making money for their owners.

    We have already suffered immense damage on may fronts from the legal protections that lawbreaking individuals can obtain by being part of corporations that cannot be legally punished for their crimes by incarceration, or even fined if they simply declare bankruptcy.

    Now, we gift corporations with a fictional right of speech, which will allow the wholesale purchase and intimidation of the people’s representatives, and continue us down the path of destroying democratic representative government of the people, by the people, and for the people.

  48. The constitution gives free speech rights to individuals and not corporations, Democracy has ended as Democracy is based on individuals and not kings or queens or corporate oligarchy. To cast it in any other light is simply to proclaim that I want to be the side that seems to be winning. Will see.

  49. “Money doesn’t talk, it swears” (from a Bob Dylan song)

    Over one hundred and fifty years ago the U. S. Supreme Court in the Dred Scott Decision of 1856 held that slaves imported from Africa and their descendants had no rights that Federal Law need recognize. Rather, the Constitution protected the property rights of slave owners. Supreme Court Chief Roger Taney even argued that the words “All men are created” referred only to white men. Our forefather’s failure to recognize the full humanity of people with recognizable African ancestory led to a great Civil War.

    Today [January 21, 2010], the Supreme Court ruled in Citizens United V. Federal Election Commission that Corporations are now entitled to the Full Protection of the First Amendment that heretofore have been applied to human beings. What this means is that the wealthy stakeholders and their political cohorts can buy even more political influence and television advertising in an American political system awash with misinformation (half-truths, quarter-truths, and outright lies) supplied by corporate coffers. WIth this ruling, five members of the current Supreme Court have once again invoked a convenient legal fiction to violate their solemn oath of office to “ administer justice without respect to persons, and do equal right to the poor and to the rich…”. Instead of denying the personhood of human beings, this contemporary court is allowing individuals with entrenched wealth to be more equal than others. Neither our Declaration of Indepedence nor our Constitution was based upon the principle that “All Corporations are created equal with unalienable rights such as Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of happiness.”

    The reply to this foolish court ruling is simple. No one’s private property rights give that person the right to pollute the oceans, rivers and watersheds that all people must use. You certainly cannot dump the waste of your factory or outhouse into my wash basin and bathroom. Giving corporate interests such special advantages in our current society is like allowing a wealthy person the right to play a very loud loudspeaker whenever there is a public discussion in the park, in the TV room or even in the bedroom. There is no way to describe much of the political and advertising propaganda of corporate capitalism as anything but an infusion of economic, social, and political filth based on greed and sustained by ideological pride. Much of our corporate political efforts are thinly guised attempts to confuse the American people about energy, global warming, health and other important issues. There is nothing ‘conservative’ about the contemporary court majority’s politics or that of their ideological supporters. What they are conserving are bank accounts — bank accounts of those who have more than they ever earned or deserved at the expense of the public good.

    Americans who believe that all men are indeed created equal must work to change this Court. Perhaps we need to change the Constituiton. In any case, the corporate greed of multinational corporations in our day can be just as evil as the corporate greed of slaveholders was in their day. If we cannot create a genuine democracy, we will find our special advantages and fortunes a gateway to disaster.

    A Frenchman once said that “The law in its majesty forbids rich and poor alike from sleeping under bridges.” Today, it is time for human beings in these United States to once again to raise their voices and tear down the idols of wealth and their well-reasoned and even articulate defenses of what is mostly entrenched greed.

    Lon Clay Hill, Jr.
    Miramar, Florida.

  50. We need emergency legislation now. Obama can’t help us: He’s just too placating and lost in his dream. Spine is what we need now. Courage. Raw courage. And that, he so sadly lacks. We need a revolutionary, not a mollifier.

    This is war. How many times must it be repeated?

    The president apparently wasn’t even abreast of the potential result of this ruling. Some chess player. We are running on patriotism now, plain and simple. He bails out banks. How about democracy? It’s not about money, stupid. It’s about democracy.

  51. Jon: I’m not a lawyer. I am a patriot, willing to die outright for his country. I believe with all my heart that you are wrong. The old rules don’t apply when democracy has been compromised by totalitarianism.

    Tell me, is isn’t so. I’ve read your logic path. It’s of another time. We have been overthrown by fascists.

    Tell me, you understand.

  52. RE John’s post: I think Isaac, Pitt and GSMAN need to RE-read it. John does NOT make the argument that corporations do have, or should have, the same rights as “actual human citizens.”

    The discussions here are good. I would suggest that it is a shame that in the cause of defending the right of one film to be heard (that someone somewhere decided to silence) has resulted in the destruction of what remains of “democracy” in this country. THAT seems ridiculous in the extreme.

    I do not know law but I hope that someone who does will find a way to counter this horrific development.

  53. Isaac:
    I wasn’t sure if you were addressing your post to me (John) and my earlier comment (above, timestamped 8:49pm), or the professor (Jonathan) whose blog this is?

    Duh:
    You can find the case, and a good summary, at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Santa_Clara_County_v._Southern_Pacific_Railroad. Rereading that, I goofed when I said the opinion itself stated they were not ruling on the question. It was Chief Justice Waite in his memo to the reporter, where he said “we avoided meeting the constitutional question in the decision”. Since the Court’s ruling applies only to what they actual rule on, it is highly significant when they avoid an issue and do not rule on it.

  54. Mr. Olbermann is way over the top on this one by comparing this Supreme Court’s judgment to the Dred Scott decision. I could only stomach a few minutes of his hyperbolic Special Comment.

    The last I knew there were still 3 branches of government and the electorate; now is the time for the other 2 branches and the electorate to do their jobs for our Republic/democracy.

    Remember, regardless of the amount of money spent on campaigns, the electorate still makes the final decision and if voters fail to vote, then no form of regulation will preserve our democracy.

  55. Like Sandra Day O’Connor, Justice Kennedy will bear deep, well-deserved guilt over another quintessentially stupid decision delivered this morning.

    Just how much was he paid? Because no one in their right mind-legal or not-would have sold their nation out as he so willfully did. That’s obvious to anyone but the scholars still stuck in a system of two parties. There’s only one party now. That’s what we’ve been trying to tell you.

    This is war, Jon.

  56. Perhaps someone on the negative side could explain to me the rationale for depriving corporations with unlimited stores of cash from participating in the political process as distinguished from depriving individuals with similar assets from participating in the political process. I hope the distinction is not that corporations do not have emotions detached from reason since we have too much of that already in this Country.

  57. Professor, how do you justify giving an entity the full rights of humans? How can these 5, who claim they are “originalists,” justify reading entity in the Constitution?

    It seems to me you write a loose First Amendment analysis, but you shouldn’t even be on that rung of the ladder.

    ***
    Leo says the internet is the great equalizer. Corporations are attempting to stifle that outlet…then what? I also find some of your statements elitist and patriarchal.
    **
    Good one:
    Tio Wally

    It’s time politicians cut the charades and don NASCAR-style jackets with their corporate sponsors’ logos on them.

  58. I’m glad the court correctly saw through the “less is more” argument as it relates to free speech.

    What will happen next?

    1. Corporations, particularly large corporations, will use their power to elect sympathetic representation to further their own interests. In many cases this can actually mean more regulation, which selectively creates higher barriers to entry for smaller competitors, thus protecting large corporate interests. I also expect to see more favorable tax treatment to big business.

    2. Foreign interests will have an easier time using government to advance interests that are clearly contrary to those of the United States, through their control of corporations that operate in the US.

    I won’t like either of these likely outcomes. Rather than blame the speech itself, how about placing blame on the expansive role we allow government to have over our lives?

    If government cannot mandate ethanol production and crop subsidies, would ADM still even exist? Would small farmers have been able to keep their business? If government cannot mandate $1B new drug approval costs through the FDA, would we see more new drug innovations and lower drug prices? If government could not legalize fractional reserve lending, would hundreds of banks be going under at taxpayer expense while consumers themselves remain debt slaves?

    Limit government. Not speech.

  59. I’m sure corporate CEO’s believe sincerely in their patriotic perspective. I do too, but as an individual, with rights guaranteed, such as they are for one person, I can’t come close to the quantitative power now afforded Corporate. I feel the corporation has divorced itself from the notion of equality the founders championed and used their power and reach to obliterate what once was a simple truth: that all are equal. How does one accommodate a corporate state when the individual cannot possibly equal the power and reach of an entity that has unlimited power? How can the People control information that is already largely corporate controlled? By surrendering our Internet? By caving to a force that doesn’t recognize the difference between one and a consolidated many?

  60. Stepehn Pitt:

    The founders never promised or even considered equality of economic position as a tenet of the Republic. Certainly corporations were present in their time and their abuses were manifest. Why the Massachusetts Bay Company, the Hudson’s Bay Company, the British East India Company were instrumental to the founding and formation of the colonies and were viewed with disdain for their single-minded emphasis on making money. The founders had no illusions about concentrations of economic power either. In their wisdom they did not proscribe corporations nor explicitly deny them rights. Jefferson did write: “I hope we shall… crush in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations, which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength and bid defiance to the laws of our country.” (Thomas Jefferson to George Logan, 1816), but made no move to circumscribe the public’s right to form these capitalistic engines of commerce. We might do well to have some confidence in the ability of the people to limit these oligarchies as Jefferson reminded us in a letter to an equally famous pen pal:

    “No nation however powerful, any more than an individual, can
    be unjust with impunity. Sooner or later, public opinion, an
    instrument merely moral in the beginning, will find occasion
    physically to inflict its sentences on the unjust… The lesson is useful to the weak as well as the strong.” (Thomas Jefferson to James Madison, 1804).

  61. I hope you are right, mespo. In times like these, is it not prudent to buttress and prepare? Your grasp of the law is superior to mine, and you must know, I speak from the heart. Please know, though, I worry deeply that, for once, checks and balances might fail. Am I a fool to brace for such a result? I think not. I agree entirely with Jefferson, but remain ready. The price of freedom is eternal vigilance. That means through disagreement, as well.

    Over the last nine years, I’ve lost some faith in our brothers and sisters. It would do me no good at this point to put my trust in the autopilot. It’s my nature.

  62. Turley, your post is factually misinformed. I can’t believe that you actually read Stevens’ dissent, at least not all of it (granted it was pretty long). You are usually quite reliable, and I was hoping to get some good legal and scholarly insight on this… What a disappointment.

  63. Mespo,

    I think you are wrong. I’ll let Justice Stevens summarize for me:

    ##

    1. Original Understandings

    Let us start from the beginning. The Court invokes “ancient First Amendment principles,” ante , at 1 (internal quotation marks omitted), and original understandings, ante , at 37–38, to defend today’s ruling, yet it makes only a perfunctory attempt to ground its analysis in the principles or understandings of those who drafted and ratified the Amendment. Perhaps this is because there is not a scintilla of evidence to support the notion that anyone believed it would preclude regulatory distinctions based on the corporate form. To the extent that the Framers’ views are discernible and relevant to the disposition of this case, they would appear to cut strongly against the majority’s position.

    This is not only because the Framers and their contemporaries conceived of speech more narrowly than we now think of it, see Bork, Neutral Principles and Some First Amendment Problems, 47 Ind. L. J. 1, 22 (1971), but also because they held very different views about the nature of the First Amendment right and the role of corporations in society. Those few corporations that existed at the founding were authorized by grant of a special legislative charter. 53 Corporate sponsors would petition the legislature, and the legislature, if amenable, would issue a charter that specified the corporation’s powers and purposes and “authoritatively fixed the scope and content of corporate organization,” including “the internal structure of the corporation.” J. Hurst, The Legitimacy of the Business Corporation in the Law of the United States 1780–1970, pp. 15–16 (1970) (reprint 2004). Corporations were created, supervised, and conceptualized as quasi-public entities, “designed to serve a social function for the state.” Handlin & Handlin, Origin of the American Business Corporation, 5 J. Econ. Hist. 1, 22 (1945). It was “assumed that [they] were legally privileged organizations that had to be closely scrutinized by the legislature because their purposes had to be made consistent with public welfare.” R. Seavoy, Origins of the American Business Corporation, 1784–1855, p. 5 (1982).

    The individualized charter mode of incorporation reflected the “cloud of disfavor under which corporations labored” in the early years of this Nation. 1 W. Fletcher, Cyclopedia of the Law of Corporations §2, p. 8 (rev. ed. 2006); see also Louis K. Liggett Co. v. Lee , 288 U. S. 517, 548–549 (1933) (Brandeis, J., dissenting) (discussing fears of the “evils” of business corporations); L. Friedman, A History of American Law 194 (2d ed. 1985) (“The word ‘soulless’ constantly recurs in debates over corporations… . Corporations, it was feared, could concentrate the worst urges of whole groups of men”). Thomas Jefferson famously fretted that corporations would subvert the Republic. 54 General incorporation statutes, and widespread acceptance of business corporations as socially useful actors, did not emerge until the 1800’s. See Hansmann & Kraakman, The End of History for Corporate Law, 89 Geo. L. J. 439, 440 (2001) (hereinafter Hansmann & Kraakman) (“[A]ll general business corporation statutes appear to date from well after 1800”).

    The Framers thus took it as a given that corporations could be comprehensively regulated in the service of the public welfare. Unlike our colleagues, they had little trouble distinguishing corporations from human beings, and when they constitutionalized the right to free speech in the First Amendment , it was the free speech of individual Americans that they had in mind. 55 While individuals might join together to exercise their speech rights, business corporations, at least, were plainly not seen as facilitating such associational or expressive ends. Even “the notion that business corporations could invoke the First Amendment would probably have been quite a novelty,” given that “at the time, the legitimacy of every corporate activity was thought to rest entirely in a concession of the sovereign.” Shelledy, Autonomy, Debate, and Corporate Speech, 18 Hastings Const. L. Q. 541, 578 (1991); cf. Trustees of Dartmouth College v. Woodward , 4 Wheat. 518, 636 (1819) (Marshall, C. J.) (“A corporation is an artificial being, invisible, intangible, and existing only in contemplation of law. Being the mere creature of law, it possesses only those properties which the charter of its creation confers upon it”); Eule, Promoting Speaker Diversity: Austin and Metro Broadcasting, 1990 S. Ct. Rev. 105, 129 (“The framers of the First Amendment could scarcely have anticipated its application to the corporation form. That, of course, ought not to be dispositive. What is compelling, however, is an understanding of who was supposed to be the beneficiary of the free speech guaranty—the individual”). In light of these background practices and understandings, it seems to me implausible that the Framers believed “the freedom of speech” would extend equally to all corporate speakers, much less that it would preclude legislatures from taking limited measures to guard against corporate capture of elections.

    The Court observes that the Framers drew on diverse intellectual sources, communicated through newspapers, and aimed to provide greater freedom of speech than had existed in England. Ante , at 37. From these (accurate) observations, the Court concludes that “[t]he First Amendment was certainly not understood to condone the suppression of political speech in society’s most salient media.” Ibid. This conclusion is far from certain, given that many historians believe the Framers were focused on prior restraints on publication and did not understand the First Amendment to “prevent the subsequent punishment of such [publications] as may be deemed contrary to the public welfare.” Near v. Minnesota ex rel. Olson , 283 U. S. 697, 714 (1931) . Yet, even if the majority’s conclusion were correct, it would tell us only that the First Amendment was understood to protect political speech in certain media. It would tell us little about whether the Amendment was understood to protect general treasury electioneering expenditures by corporations, and to what extent .

    As a matter of original expectations, then, it seems absurd to think that the First Amendment prohibits legislatures from taking into account the corporate identity of a sponsor of electoral advocacy. As a matter of original meaning, it likewise seems baseless—unless one evaluates the First Amendment ’s “principles,” ante, at 1, 48, or its “purpose,” ante , at 5 (opinion of Roberts, C. J .), at such a high level of generality that the historical understandings of the Amendment cease to be a meaningful constraint on the judicial task. This case sheds a revelatory light on the assumption of some that an impartial judge’s application of an originalist methodology is likely to yield more determinate answers, or to play a more decisive role in the decisional process, than his or her views about sound policy.

    Justice Scalia criticizes the foregoing discussion for failing to adduce statements from the founding era showing that corporations were understood to be excluded from the First Amendment ’s free speech guarantee. Ante , at 1–2, 9. Of course, Justice Scalia adduces no statements to suggest the contrary proposition, or even to suggest that the contrary proposition better reflects the kind of right that the drafters and ratifiers of the Free Speech Clause thought they were enshrining. Although Justice Scalia makes a perfectly sensible argument that an individual’s right to speak entails a right to speak with others for a common cause, cf. MCFL , 479 U. S. 238 , he does not explain why those two rights must be precisely identical, or why that principle applies to electioneering by corporations that serve no “common cause.” Ante , at 8. Nothing in his account dislodges my basic point that members of the founding generation held a cautious view of corporate power and a narrow view of corporate rights (not that they “despised” corporations, ante , at 2), and that they conceptualized speech in individualistic terms. If no prominent Framer bothered to articulate that corporate speech would have lesser status than individual speech, that may well be because the contrary proposition—if not also the very notion of “corporate speech”—was inconceivable. 56

    Justice Scalia also emphasizes the unqualified nature of the First Amendment text. Ante , at 2, 8. Yet he would seemingly read out the Free Press Clause: How else could he claim that my purported views on newspapers must track my views on corporations generally? Ante , at 6. 57 Like virtually all modern lawyers, Justice Scalia presumably believes that the First Amendment restricts the Executive, even though its language refers to Congress alone. In any event, the text only leads us back to the questions who or what is guaranteed “the freedom of speech,” and, just as critically, what that freedom consists of and under what circumstances it may be limited. Justice Scalia appears to believe that because corporations are created and utilized by individuals, it follows (as night the day) that their electioneering must be equally protected by the First Amendment and equally immunized from expenditure limits. See ante , at 7–8. That conclusion certainly does not follow as a logical matter, and Justice Scalia fails to explain why the original public meaning leads it to follow as a matter of interpretation.

    The truth is we cannot be certain how a law such as BCRA §203 meshes with the original meaning of the First Amendment . 58 I have given several reasons why I believe the Constitution would have been understood then, and ought to be understood now, to permit reasonable restrictions on corporate electioneering, and I will give many more reasons in the pages to come. The Court enlists the Framers in its defense without seriously grappling with their understandings of corporations or the free speech right, or with the republican principles that underlay those understandings.

    In fairness, our campaign finance jurisprudence has never attended very closely to the views of the Framers, see Randall v. Sorrell , 548 U. S. 230, 280 (2006) ( Stevens , J., dissenting), whose political universe differed profoundly from that of today. We have long since held that corporations are covered by the First Amendment , and many legal scholars have long since rejected the concession theory of the corporation. But “historical context is usually relevant,” ibid. (internal quotation marks omitted), and in light of the Court’s effort to cast itself as guardian of ancient values, it pays to remember that nothing in our constitutional history dictates today’s outcome. To the contrary, this history helps illuminate just how extraordinarily dissonant the decision is.

  64. Professor, in your zeal to defend the First Amendment you are willing to give equal standing to a multi-million dollar PAC and an individual citizen, and naively think that disclosure requirements will be an adequate safeguard against Corporate America buying outright the two parties. I respectfully submit sir that you have jumped the shark.

    In essence, you are advocating letting checkbook democracy have a free hand in order to protect the First Amendment. To go further and opine that third parties and anti-incumbency measures are an antidote assumes the people can magically push past Corporate America and the corporate media to institute these “reforms”. Unions will never be able to compete with the resources of Corporate America and conservative religion in this country, and good government groups will never be heard on these airwaves or on a soon-to-be-controlled Internet if they also have to go up against glossy, well-produced, and endlessly-funded opposition groups all calling themselves “X for Reform”.

    Civil liberties and personal rights were sold off today to the highest bidder, all for the sake of protecting the First Amendment.

  65. Mespo,

    The reason corporations are treated differently from living people with respect to electioneering is pretty obvious on the face of it, no? Corporations are not citizens. Corporations also cannot vote. Nor can they hold office. We do not treat corporations as identical to living persons because they are not identical to living persons.

  66. Greg:
    “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

    ***********

    Just as there is no limitation on the application of these rights to only US citizens I see no limitation as to natural persons either thus suggesting their derivatives also enjoy these rights. I agree that a collection of natural persons in the form of a corporation does not shed its collective right to speak, and I see nothing in Stevens’ summary that persuades me that the founders were anything other than cautious in their approach to the exercise of corporate economic power. They spoke as much with their legislation as with their judicial opinions and there is a dearth of evidence that they intended to limit the free speech of corporations in the manifest public policy of the United States.

    While I appreciate your wanting to let Stevens serve as your mouthpiece, your supported thoughts would be more welcome.

  67. Greg:

    There is a considerable difference between electioneering and voting. An alien may participate in electioneering but still may be legally prohibited from voting as may well an underage person or a convicted felon in many states. I do not see the argument there.

  68. Steve Soto:

    “In essence, you are advocating letting checkbook democracy have a free hand in order to protect the First Amendment.”

    ************

    Perhaps you could answer my question at 11:23 p.m. in the context of the above-sited portion of your comment. If we do that already with respect to natural persons with fat checkbooks why should it matter with respect to collections of natural persons with equally fat checkbooks?

  69. My question is: what happens when circumstances develop that allow for someone’s (the corporation’s) free speech to completely annihilate my free speech?

  70. Mespo,

    The question here is whether corporations should be able to use their vast capital resources to influence elections. Do you see no distinction between a corporation or a natural person? Or perhaps I should ask: What distinctions do you see between a corporation and a natural, living person? Let’s start with that one.

  71. Mespo,

    With respect to the framers, I see no evidence that the framers would ever endorse equating the freedom of speech of natural people with that of corporations. As you say, they were quite cautious about it.

    The Supreme Court has held on numerous occasions that the freedom of speech can be limited with respect to elections. Not every person or entity is entitled to contribute to campaigns freely – foreign nationals, or government employees, for example. These restrictions are in place as a result of the special status and identity of the groups in question. As Stevens notes (did you read his dissent?): In the election context, “the authority of legislatures to enact viewpoint-neutral regulations based on content and identity is well settled.”

    So, should US registered subsidiaries of foreign-based corporations doing business in the US be allowed to fund political campaigns?

  72. Mespo,

    From your comment at 11:23pm:
    “… explain to me the rationale for depriving corporations with unlimited stores of cash from participating in the political process as distinguished from depriving individuals with similar assets from participating in the political process…”

    IMHO the “distinction” is there is no such thing as “similar assets” when comparing corporate wealth versus individual wealth; for example, in 2009 Forbes put Bill Gates #1 with total assets of $45 billion, while $45 billion was just one year’s profit for Exxon.

    http://www.forbes.com/lists/

  73. IMHO, one of the most important reasons for not granting corporations the same rights or freedoms(in the political process) as living persons, is that corporations unlike we mortals are insensate they only exist; they do not Breathe, Feel, Love, Care or Die!

    P.S. Where are you Buddha?

  74. What about corporations that are not based in the United States or those who are based here that operate internationally? Doesn’t this involve a lot more than just internal politics?

  75. I can see the arguments here center around the concern of corporations having too much economic power compared to individuals, in funding a campaign, and thus justifying a curb to the corporation’s public speech or expression.
    The fear is that a concentration of money available to corporations will totally swamp any contributions that may be made by individuals in campaign finance, and thus control the process by inordinately representing the campaign effectiveness of politicians who favor the subject corporation’s interests.
    Although I might concede this is a concern, I still believe it cannot be a basis to curb voluntary speech or spending by any entity. Corporations are still made up of people, and the people who run them may have a preference for one candidate over another. To illegalize what that collection of people choose to do with their legally earned money, is simply a violation of the Constitution. People, whether they go solo or in collectives of unions or corporations, should not be curtailed in their participation of the political process. If there is a subversive element to the political process, to the point where the public is being prevented from getting the campaign promoted by lesser candidates (lesser in the sense of less money), then that should be dealt with, in a compartmentalized fashion – it is not justification for violating the precepts of the US Constitution.

  76. Money is not speech. But it’s really useful when your intent is to bribe. This is legalizing corruption. Welcome to Fascism.

  77. CEJ

    Not only do corporations/unions exist, though not live, they can exist forever. Corporations/unions in New Hampshire can influence elections in Iowa where they have no local interests. Their only interests are in controlling the election process and every elected official therein—forever.

    Gary T

    The Supreme Court has set precedent several times denying the broad claim that speech is money. As recently as 2007, this court ruled that a limited number of certain types of ads were exempt from the McCain-Feingold law, but left the bulk of the campaign limitations in place.

    Now this Roberts’ court went so far as to decide on issues not even before the court. They were asked to rule in a specific case to decide if a corporation must disclose the names of the shareholders of a corporation use campaign contributions were being used for ads. The court took the judicial activist route so decried by the hypocrites Kennedy, Scalia and Thomas and the perjurers Alito and Roberts and virtually gutted McCain-Feingold.

    If you like what’s going on in the corporate-owned Congress now, just wait 10 years. “The Senator from Exxon relinquishes two minutes to the Senator from Microsoft”.

    Why do Conservative hate America so?

  78. As no fan of big corporations, I welcome the decision. Unleashed by this opinion, the corporations, as they overstep, will do directly what they now do indirectly through trade groups etc. Once the public sees these wolves in their wolves clothing I think we will see the backlash that I have been waiting for, for a lot of my adult life. We may actually get a participatory democracy again instead of a populace that cedes their interests to those with enough money of charisma to make them think that it’s ok to merely get along with their own personal lives. Self-governance just isn’t that easy, and corporations would do well to remember that most favorable decisions come with unintended consequences. All persons, even the merely legal ones, answer in the court of public opinion. No one wants to be a pariah when you have to sell things and services to stay afloat. Can you say “W. R. Grace, Johns Manville, Phillip Morris, A.H. Robins, ….”

  79. I am so thankful the court has stepped in to protect the political speech rights of corporations! I’ve long been alarmed by the decline of the political system. It’s so utterly undemocratic that all these horribly unpolished ordinary citizens are allowed to clog the airwaves and monopolize all my representatives’ time. They’ve got no zing! No razzmatazz! I know my Senator, Blanche Lincoln, could be so much more effective in getting done what really matters if America’s great corporations could somehow get a foot in her door.

  80. I don’t like it. I hate to see one dollar spent in an attempt to elect anyone. If you add up all the money regardless if it comes from a one dollar donation or a million spent on a advertisement, I think the money would be better spent on solving real problems. Hunger, disease, the welfare of children in poor countries.

    In an interview with the wife of Jim McMann owner of WWF, I think thats it, World Wrestling Federation. She is running for political office for her state. It has been estimated that she will have to spend $50 million dollars of her personal money to achieve her political goal. I do not understand how some one would be willing to gamble that much money for political gain.

    That is one person, you do the math, add in the corporate sponsors and everything else to boot and the amount of money spent for political gain in one, two, three years could solve alot of problems for alot of people.

  81. Puzzling:

    I disagree with your first 2 points but you are spot on for the rest of your post.

    Corporations pay lobbyists to purchase face time with our elected officials now. I would rather have an advertisement being played on TV or in print that I can read vs. some slick K St. lawyer giving 200k to Rep. Smith for his “favorite charity” for consideration on the next dam project.

  82. Corporate lobbyists will have more power not less. They can go to a member of congress and literally bribe them by offering to advertise for them if they vote a certain or advertise against them if they vote another way. Politcal consulting firms will experience job growth.

  83. So does anybody think this supreme court will hear a challenge to NJ gov Christie’s executive order 7 limiting union campaign contributions? The contortions they’ll perform to limit unions without limiting corporations will be a sight to see.

    Let’s stop calling them republicans. They’re oligarchs.

  84. I understand the issue. It is simple but no less disheartening to find that sociopathy would become a desired quality in a corporation head, hubris the most common, and greed for power SOP…………The sad truth – our founding fathers never imagined our citizens turned corporatists would stoop so low

  85. I thought Bush v Gore was low. What is amazing to me is that republicans who say they are not for activist courts actually favor them as long as they have appointed them.

  86. I didn’t copy the whole definition but,what better place for me to ask this question.

    And is this what is meant when someone nominates some one to the bench and the opposition party raises this question?

    Judicial activism is not prisoner to any particular ideological or political viewpoint; it can be conservative as well as liberal. A long period of American history was characterized by conservative judicial activism, by a Supreme Court unwilling to allow the states or Congress to pass legislation that would regulate social or economic affairs. Typically such legislation—laws governing child labor, workers’ hours, and so forth—would be invalidated as violations of the Constitution’s Commerce Clause or Contracts Clause or of the judicially created doctrine of “liberty of contract” under the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment (see Contract, Freedom of). The best‐known example of conservative judicial activism is Lochner v. New York (1905), a case in which the Court invalidated New York’s law regulating the hours bakers could work as a violation of “liberty of contract,” a part of the doctrine of substantive due process under the Fourteenth Amendment.

  87. Mr. Turley I was quite surprised by you agreement with the court’s decision. No matter how much you analyze this case from an academic standpoint, in the end this does give free rein to corporate America to spend whatever it wishes from the corporate treasury to support candidates that will advance its goals. Right now we have broken government in Washington. Part of the reason is that so many congressmen are beholden to corporate interests. They are bought and paid for as some would have it. The average American cannot compete with an Exxon or Goldman. Therefore, corporate money will always trump the people’s interests. Honestly, I think you are denying the practical implications of the decision. And you are certainly not seriously discussing the politics of it where a court in an election year suddenly elevates a case far beyond its original importance, puts it on the fast track, and then cranks out (rams) a decision in record time. Don’t you find that just a tad distasteful? I know justice is not fair. But don’t tell that to the average guy in the street.

  88. I imagine someone politically savvy will print up a Congressional menu for corporate heads. “Let’s see,” says the CEO to himself as he rubs his palms together while salivating, “I’ll have two from Column A and six from Column B this election.”

  89. eniobob:

    isn’t the length of time a person works a private matter between the employer and the employee?

    And to be honest 1905 was a long time ago. The 40 hour week would have come about in any event as employers became more sophisticated about productivity and length of time worked. It actually goes down if you work too much and I believe I read something recently that one company was looking at a 6 hour day because more gets done than in an 8 hour day.

    most here seem to paint conservatives and free market capitalism with a very dark brush. I don’t think a child should work in a coal mine but at one point in our past history it was necessary and in certain developing countries it is necessary as well. is it good no, but then starving is not so good either. Most of what you call capitalism today is not, it is a mixed economy some socialist elements and some fascist elements. there are many people who believe the mixture is the problem and is a distortion of capitalism or laissez faire, “leave it alone”.

    most here say there will be a diminution of freedom by this decision, I don’t think so but only time will tell.

    And by the way if the NJ gov is limiting the free speech of unions he is wrong and is no friend of liberty. but then he really isn’t a true conservative to begin with.

    I suggest you look into BBT Bank and it’s Chairman, John Allison. BBT is one of the better run banks in the country and has a core philosophy of doing business that you may find interesting.

  90. Eniobob:

    So, I didn’t quite get where you lean on that decision, New York State limiting baker’s hours.

    I lean towards personal freedom, if a baker (or anyone) wants to work longer hours, why does govt have any right to stop him/her?

    BTW, I too am no fan of large corporations, or even of corporations being treated as persons, they should be treated for what they are, coalitions of people who have common goal. All rights currently retained by a corporation would still be retained by the people who run them, but so would the personal responsibilities and liabilities.

    If the corporate veil did not exist, then this whole controversy would deflate into whether rich people, or people who control other people’s money, have the right to donate to political causes or campaigns.

  91. From bdaman

    “I don’t like it. I hate to see one dollar spent in an attempt to elect anyone. If you add up all the money regardless if it comes from a one dollar donation or a million spent on a advertisement, I think the money would be better spent on solving real problems. Hunger, disease, the welfare of children in poor countries”.

    Couldn’t agree more. Heck, the money would be better spent within a company to lower prices or raise wages or improve work conditions or, for the me-firsters, pay a higher dividend.

  92. rcampbell–

    “…Heck, the money would be better spent within a company to lower prices or raise wages or improve work conditions or, for the me-firsters, pay a higher dividend.”

    I agree. Maybe the money could be better used to pay for their employees health insurance and pensions too!

  93. RCAMPBELL/ELAINE:

    “the money would be better spent within a company to lower prices or raise wages or improve work conditions”

    that is what a capitalist engaged in true rational self interest would do. Finally after beating my head against a wall you are beginning to understand.

    In fact I bet most true business men would rather spend time improving their companies than having to try and bribe congress to give them some breaks. When people are truly free things seem to work out as nature intended. The problem comes from too many cooks trying to have a say on what goes into the stew. laissez faire-leave it alone.

  94. If I boycott or choose not to consume ideas or products from corporations there are no negative consequences. If I boycot or choose no to give the government my $ I get fined and risk imprisonment and loss of my constitutional rights. Therefore I think that more information and less meddling by the feds is good. And when I see that XYZ Inc is behind maggot #1 I will vote accordingly.

    More Freedom = Less Government

  95. Byron–

    You siad: “Finally after beating my head against a wall you are beginning to understand.”

    I’m beginning to understand what…exactly?

    My husband has owned a couple of businesses. Maybe most small businessmen and women would prefer to spend time and money improving their companies. Unfortunately, I don’t believe this is true of many big corporations and the people who serve as their officers.

    You said: “In fact I bet most true business men would rather spend time improving their companies than having to try and bribe congress to give them some breaks. When people are truly free things seem to work out as nature intended. The problem comes from too many cooks trying to have a say on what goes into the stew. laissez faire-leave it alone.”

    Oh sure–and companies won’t pollute the air and land and water if we just leave them be. The bosses will forego huge bonuses in order to help provide their employees with health insurance and pensions and better working conditions. The head honchos of big corporations and banks and businesses on Wall Street care most about the common good and not about enriching themselves.

    I think you and I must live on two different planets!

  96. Elaine:

    Didn’t Clinton cap CEO salaries in the early 90’s so they had to pay using stock options? I believe he did just that and look what we have now-stock holders receiving fewer dividends and employees making less money because of high CEO bonuses.

    Seems to me that let the market work is good advice. We probably wouldn’t have these huge bonus packages if he had just “left it alone”.

    The road to hell is always paved with “noble” dreams.

  97. Byron–

    You’re not responding to the specific points I made about corporate bosses foregoing huge bonuses–and about corporations that would pollute the environment if left to do as they will. A number of corporate heads got bonuses even when their companies’ stocks took nosedives. The main problem is that too many people in business are GREEDY. They only care about themselves and how much money they can make. They’ll always find a way to get as much as they can for themselves–no matter the cost to their country and its citizens…to anybody else. They have an advanced sense of entitlement. It’s an “I got mine…who cares about the other guys” attitude. Greed is good, doncha know???!!!
    At least it is for them.

  98. jim wrote:

    “Even members of congress don’t read legislation before they vote on it, let alone ordinary citizens who spend far too much time trying to provide for thier families.”
    _________________________________

    I agree that those are 2 major problems. I was a workaholic, raised a family, and I could not concern myself with detailed political issues then, as I can now that I am retired. I would also agree that it is very difficult for the average family to be inspired to vote given all the pressures of trying to stay afloat in this economy. However, all things democratic evolve/devolve from the electorate, we are the ones to blame or thank for how our system works or fails, and we have to participate and pay now or recompense later and often at a greater price and sacrifice.

  99. “It ought also to be remembered that the citizens who inhabit the country at and near the seat of government will, in all questions that affect the general liberty and prosperity, have the same interest with those who are at a distance, and that they will stand ready to sound the alarm when necessary, and to point out the actors in any pernicious project. The public papers will be expeditious messengers of intelligence to the most remote inhabitants of the Union.” -Federalist 84

    Times, they have changed.

  100. Gyges:

    exactly, it failed because it didnt get implemented world wide. :)

    The cpaitalism part of this equation is not the part that is failing. what do you think has been moving us along? it sure hasnt been the governmental part.

    we are always going to have poor people for whatever reason and no amount of social engineering is going to change that. Jefferson said something to the effect that you cant build up one man by taking from another.

    I say give people their money to use as they see fit and there will be enough money to help people that cannot help themselves.

  101. Sorry Byron, but we tried trusting the rabid capitalists and that unbridled capitalism stuff. Reagan’s whole trickle down garbage and GWBush’s entire Presidency were based on that lie. Laisse-faire is a proven failure. Waiting to rely on CEO’s better instincts is how we got into this current economic mess.

    Now, I’m a capitalist, but…… I read Atlas Shrugged in the mid-70’s and believed she was right and that what you’re proposing was possible. Despite growing up in a blue collar, fiercely Democrat, Italian/American, Roman Catholic, JFK-loving household, I began voting mostly as a Republican from 1972-92 in support of those beliefs and that idealism. By 1992 it was apparent this was not the case at all.

    Greed was everything. During much of the eighties economy was good. It came tumbling down toward the end of the decade with huge debts, deficits, etc. When candidate Clinton suggested it was time for the government to get active for the benefit of non wealthy (his “…a rising tide raises all boats…” theory), what did the uber-capitalists cry for? More of the same. More tax cuts only for businesses and the wealthy. All that greed was too much for me. Not seeing the need to address the plight of the least in our midst was the death knell for respecting the GOP and it’s constant whining for corporate welfare.

  102. Remember this day. For it is the death of American Democracy. Corporations are not people. This talk of first amendment rights for corporations is ridiculous. Each and every person who works for any corporation in America has free speech. There’s no need to extend human rights to utterly manufactured, inhuman, entities.

    I complete agreed with Keith Olbermann. I think anyone who disagreed with the basics of what he said will regret it when we become a corporatocracy. The voices of millions of individual Americans has just been silenced. Our freedom of speech is nil because we don’t have the resources of the corporate machine.

    SHAME on anyone who supports this. You are supporting the end of America. She will either realize this mistake or die. That’s all there is to it. Goodbye Democracy, I will weep for you as I look for a nice place in Canada or Europe somewhere.

    Congratulations corporations, America, she works for you now.

  103. Watched JT on Keith and of course read this article. There is much that is persuasive in the argument that this removed a limitation on Free Speech. Certainly, the Election Commissions preventing the showing of this movie, no matter how scurrilous it might have been, was indeed an act of censorship. However, even in the field of Constitutional Law the importance of context cannot be discounted.

    The current context in the US is that our media, corporate controlled and limited to a few major entities, is doing a terrible job of informing the public on the issues of the day. Whether it is Fox News, that serves as an outright propaganda outlet, or the other cable news shows including Keith, the information provided to the public is incomplete and innaccurate. The concept that 60 senate votes is necessary to legislate in the Senate is an example. Without the contextual history, with the lack of Civics education, the general public is misled as to the truth. The fact is that most people aren’t stupid, or lack the ability to vote in their own self interest, they are just woefully misinformed as to the issues and blithely unaware of the inroads Corporate Power has made in controlling this country.

    Secondly, political campaigning is now indistinguishable from marketing. Marketing is a field where Advertising Agencies, Public Relations experts and Corporate sophistication has become an art. The idea is not the quality of the product, but getting the public to believe in its quality. The new paradigms in psychology are such that people can easily be influenced subliminally. Many scientists, influenced by the prospect of money, have begun to use their knowledge in the service of these goals. Elections are won by marketing and the experts in this field will dance to the tune of the dollar bill.

    Thirdly, money is the lifeblood of political campaigning. Senators and Congressman, Governors, Mayors and Legislators spend significant time each day just raising funds. Money always demands a quid pro quo and favors and facetime are dispensed to major contributors thus negatively influencing the governing process.

    Fourth, the concept that a Corporation is an entity that has equal rights to a citizen was never envisioned by our Founding Fathers, but is a byproduct of a SCOTUS of the late 19th Century packed with supporters of corporate interests. It is a concept that is harmful to our Republic. To be fair Unions too should not have these same rights, nor should religious institutions. This decision in effect gives all these entities a spurious “right of free speech” and those that talk the loudest will be those with the most funds.

    Due to that context this is a disastrous decision and will lead to a Corporate State and the end of the democratic republic that was and is envisioned. One might counter this by saying that the Internet will fill the gap, however, the currency of China as a Fascist State and their Internet information crackdown belies this. Soon “net neutrality” will be an empty term as corporate bought politicians take control.

    The concepts of the First Amendment have been basic principles for me for my entire life, once I learned that books by writers like James Joyce, D.H. Lawrence and Henry Miller were not allowed in this country. This passion for “free speech, however, must be put in context. While on the surface “free speech” provides a rationale for this decision, in truth when viewed in context this is not what it’s about. Holding onto a principle that can be viewed in context as dangerous, is a foolish consistency.

  104. “I hope we shall… crush in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations, which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength and to bid defiance to the laws of their country.”
    – Thomas Jefferson, letter to George Logan. November 12, 1816.

    Hey Tom, you’d roll over in your grave if you only knew what was going on now. America has just been hired by the corporations.

    Corporations will no longer have to defy any laws, because their employees, formerly known as senators, congressmen, and the president, et al, will make the laws as our new corporatocracy sees fit!

    Once corporations were merely our overlords with their political influence, now they are as gods.

    America is no longer a democracy! It is fast becoming a fascist (yes literally) corporatocracy.

    SHAME, SHAME, SHAME!

  105. Gary T & Byron:

    What i was asking is I hear the words “legislating from the bench” and also “activist judges”.
    Would this decision fit into those catergorys?

  106. I enjoyed your final appearance on Countdown. Did Olbermann know you were going to come down on the side of the First Amendment and claim that unions would benefit as much as corporations?

  107. Professor Turley,

    Let’s say China uses it’s $2 trillion US dollars to buy Walmart, GE, and Exxon-Mobil and a few other Fortune 100 companies.

    Let’s say it still has enough US Dollars to spend hundreds of times the campaign funds for all parties for all Federal offices in 2008.

    Which politician – federal or local, would be able to stand up to companies backed by China?

    How soon will we be able to enjoy the same free speech rights as the Chinese?

  108. BYRON: “I don’t think a child should work in a coal mine but at one point in our past history it was necessary and in certain developing countries it is necessary as well. is it good no, but then starving is not so good either.”
    —-
    Know why it was necessary? Profit margin. Tunnels to coal seams and shallow coal seams are not as profitable if you have to cut the rock tall and wide enough to get adults and mules in to them. Mules for pulling coal laden sledges are expensive to feed and tend to and replace. Having children do the labor meant shafts to shallow seams could be cut smaller and shallow seams could be worked more productively. Corporations have, do and will kill children to make an extra penny on the bottom line. The use of child labor has not ended BTW, child labor has just been outsourced to our third world trading partners (including China and India) these days.

    http://perryopolis.com/coal.shtml

    “And to be honest 1905 was a long time ago. The 40 hour week would have come about in any event as employers became more sophisticated about productivity and length of time worked. It actually goes down if you work too much and I believe I read something recently that one company was looking at a 6 hour day because more gets done than in an 8 hour day.”
    —-

    6 hours is legally part-time work, no benefits for workers legally mandated.

  109. Duh to Bdaman,

    You are still missing the letter “C.” You have pretty much hit every constants’ except C.

  110. Lotta:

    they would be paid for 40 and recieve benefits or so the article said. but these were not factory workers or Wal-Mart employees but white collar.

  111. “Which politician – federal or local, would be able to stand up to companies backed by China?”

    That would be a much greater danger if disclosure was not required. The question should be; What candidate can be endorsed, and paid for by a communist country, and still get elected? Are these people running unopposed? Wouldn’t their opponent point out who is backing them?

    If the candidate is being backed by Wal-Mart, do you think the Democrats are going to vote for them?

    The Court permitted the corporations to have a voice, but they also required them to disclose who that voice is. Or did I misunderstand the decision of the Court?

  112. Lotta:

    I would not personally have children work in a coal mine, it is not work for children. As far as child labor goes, I worked in restaurants starting in 7th grade and cut lawns and caddied in 5, 6, and 7. Not 40 hours a week but enough so that I know that work like that isn’t so bad if you need the money. It didn’t hurt me either and provided me with money to go to movies and buy a bike or go grab a hamburger.

    Having a child of around 11 or 12 in a third world country working and possibly learning a trade is not necessarily a bad thing for the child or the family of the child.

  113. AY,

    Please quit acting like a troll. If you have something to add to the discussion, please do so. If you’re just trying to flame the fire, go back to sleep.

    Troll; a troll is someone who posts inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community, such as an online discussion forum, chat room or blog, with the primary intent of provoking other users into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion.

  114. Byron,

    At the age of 11 or so, I remember looking forward to winter snow storms. More than the day off of school, I would go around the neighborhood and shovel driveways. My little brother (who is now an attorney) took it one step further. At age 13, he had saved enough to purchase a snowblower. That’s capitalism at its finest.

  115. Byron, we’re talking about two entirely different things. You’re talking spare change in modern America now but you started off talking about coal mines. I worked as a child, running errands and doing ironing and housecleaning with my mother.

    Child labor in tune with your original statement meant/means child labor (kids starting at 5-6 yrs old) like child miners in most of the third worlds, children sorting through electronic parts while squatting next to or in puddles of hazardous chemical runoff in open dumps/reclamation centers in China, child weavers sitting over carpet looms 10 hours a day in the Middle East, piece-work fabrication of hard and soft products (Remember NIKE?) and just about doing every odious, dangerous job most everywhere that there aren’t strong laws enforced to prevent it. Just sayn’.

  116. Byron–

    You can’t compare the caddying, mowing of lawns, and working in a restaurant that you did when you were to make money for movies and hamburgers to what these child slave laborers are required to do.

    From Child Labor Coalition
    For Teen Workers and Students
    Iqbal Masih

    Third Anniversary of the Murder of Iqbal Masih, Pakistani Child Activist (1983-1995)

    Iqbal Masih Remembered

    WASHINGTON, D. C. (April 15, 1998) Iqbal Masih made a difference. His was the voice of a child pointing out to adults the horrible costs and injustices of child slavery. Twelve years old and one of the mightiest voices in Pakistan against child labor, Iqbal was a compelling survivor of slavery in Pakistan’s carpet industry.

    For half of his life, Iqbal was bonded in the hand-knotted carpet industry. Enslaved at the age of four, for an advance of less than $16 to his parents, he was chained to his loom, tying tiny knots for twelve hours a day, every day. Six years later, when he confronted his boss demanding his freedom, the debt he owed had risen to $419.

    Iqbal’s slavery is not unusual in a country where estimates of bonded child labor run as high as eight million. At least half a million children are bonded to the carpet industry. Although outlawed in 1992, under Pakistan’s Bonded Labor Abolition Act, the “advance” system that bonds people — and often entire families or generations of families — to their employers continues.

    Receiving international attention as the recipient of the 1994 Reebok Youth In Action Award, Iqbal was known as a champion for bonded children. He was the president of the youth wing of the Bonded Labor Liberation Front (BLLF) in Pakistan, helping to free hundreds of children from slavery over the last two years of his life.

    You can read the rest of the article about about Iqbal at the following link:
    http://www.stopchildlabor.org/teensandstudents/iqbal.htm

    Pegi Dietz Shea wrote a children’s book about Iqbal titled “The Carpet Boy’s Gift.”

    Rachel Maddow Explores Big Business Ignoring Slavery & Child Labor

  117. Ok, D to B.

    Got ya……You keep posting and I’ll do the trolling. I think ts safer that way. Not as inflamed.

    Just remember to focus and stay on the topic. You are doing better. Troll Savant.

  118. Question for Byron:

    Where in the framework of the Republic, much less the social compact, do legal fictions such as “corporations” trace their rights to and what specifically enumerated power in the Constitution empowered the Fed to deem them “persons?”

  119. Corporate “persons” shouldn’t get the same scope of Constitutional benefits afforded to human persons. Corporations should never be allowed to vote in elections. They shouldn’t become eligible to run for President upon reaching age 35.

    Since all corporations are run by humans, this decision gives a new second voice to those few humans who run corporations. Now, people (as in “of the People, by the People, for the People”) are separated into two unequal classes: those with two political voices, and those with only one.

    Government regulation of commercial speech by corporations has been upheld as constitutionally sound, and commercial activity is the primary purpose of corporations.

    It defies common sense to treat political speech by corporations, which is purportedly far from central to their purpose, as somehow untouchable by government.

  120. lottakatz–

    “Child labor in tune with your original statement meant/means child labor (kids starting at 5-6 yrs old) like child miners in most of the third worlds, children sorting through electronic parts while squatting next to or in puddles of hazardous chemical runoff in open dumps/reclamation centers in China, child weavers sitting over carpet looms 10 hours a day in the Middle East, piece-work fabrication of hard and soft products (Remember NIKE?) and just about doing every odious, dangerous job most everywhere that there aren’t strong laws enforced to prevent it. Just sayn’.”

    ***************

    I’m with you on this one. We even have places in our own country where people work as slave laborers.

  121. Elaine:

    and Pakistan is a pretty backward country for the most part and not politically or economically free. China is not a free country either, I don’t have time to do a search and see where all the child labor is but I am seeing a trend with those 2 countries, assuming of course there is child labor in China.

    Economic (Capitalism) and political freedom go a long way toward eradicating child labor and slavery.

  122. I am not for child labor unless they want to work. This is not 1905 nor is it Pakistan. Selling someone into slavery is by all civilized measure barbaric. Making children work 12 hours a day or more is barbaric. these atrocities happen in countries with little political or economic freedom, in fact most are what you would call command economies.

    I dont buy Nike shoes and I only buy stuff like shampoo and shaving cream at Wal-Mart.

  123. Bryon,

    I do not shop at Wal-Mart. I avoid them. I go to Albertson, TomThumb, Krogers or HEB.

    If enough of us quit shopping at walmart they would not see the need to build.

  124. Byron–

    A lot of big American corporations import and make tons of money off of products made by slave laborers in third world countries. You don’t think they bear any responsibility for the inhumane treatment of the children and adults who make these products? Do you think the heads of these corporations aren’t aware of where the goods are coming from? In addition, many of these companies closed plants in the US and moved their manufacturing to countries where there is cheap/slave labor. It means a bigger margin of profit for them. So what if they put millions of Americans out of work. I think the US is well on its way to becoming a third world country.

  125. Bob Esq:

    “Where in the framework of the Republic, much less the social compact, do legal fictions such as “corporations” trace their rights to and what specifically enumerated power in the Constitution empowered the Fed to deem them “persons?”

    I am doing research on this and I am trying to figure out the genesis of the “legal fiction” and it’s implications to this case. It is probably going to take awhile for me to figure this out, not being a lawyer.

    A question for you: if corporations cannot engage in free speech can any group of people, like unions or a trade association for example or a charitable orginization or the RCC? What would the difference be? Or what if a 1000 people formed the Organization of Concerned Myopics and started running poltical ads? I dont see one on a purely philosophical level.

  126. Byron–

    I think corporations should have freedom of speech. What concerns me so much is that the freedom is equated with use of unlimited amounts of money. How can ordinary citizens compete with corporations that have millions of dollars to spend on elections to help their chosen candidates win?

  127. Voomba

    Many good points. You mentioned, as have others, that corporations are comprised of people. Some, including the SCOTUS see this as a partial justification for this outrageous ruling. This line of thought avoids two realities.

    The first is that the make up of corporations is not exclusely human. Hedge funds, charities, UNION PENSION FUNDS, and other corporate entities are shareholders of corporations. So, in some cases, a corporation could quite easily influence an election several times over where we mere mortals–and non-Republicans–get one vote. The GOP loves that.

    The second point is that chruches/synagogues/mosques are also made up of humans and we have laws on the books, at least for the time being, that ban direct political contributions to candidates. There NO reason we can’t do the same with corporate/union contributions.

    I submit we’d better get to the business of limiting contributions to exclusely human or ban all contributions and require federally funded campaigns before the perjurers before Congress, Roberts and Alito change the above as well. Either of these would require a Constitutional Amendment, but there may be enough outrage from this moronic decision to propel such an effort.

    Otherwise, this is confirmation that we as citizens, as people don’t matter any longer. This is not democracy, it’s corporatocracy and the GOP is revelling in it. What does that tell you about where humans fit in the scope of GOP priorities?
    I can’t figure out how a rational person could indentify with such an anti-American citizen group so bound on destroying the foundations of this country. They’re are malicious bloodsuckers who care nothing about America except as consumers.

  128. “AP
    Obama & Biden Button
    —————————————————————–

    If dollars translate into votes then tech’s top companies are squarely behind Barack Obama, by a better than 5 to 1 margin if you believe the Center for Responsive Politics and its latest stats on the issue.

    The group put together donation records for some of the top companies in Silicon Valley and the numbers are striking. Overall, Obama outraised John McCain $1,434,719 to $267,041. Google was Obama’s single biggest corporate donor, racking up $485,961 in donations, compared to only $20,600 for John McCain. It’s no accident that Google is Obama’s top donor, especially with a high profile endorsement by Google CEO Eric Schmidt, who appeared in the candidate’s infomercial recently. As for McCain’s biggest corporate donor? That’d be Cisco Systems where CEO John Chambers is a vocal supporter of McCain as a co-chairman of his campaign. Employees there forked over $80,676 to McCain. But those donations still didn’t measure up to the $149,078 Cisco employees also sent Obama’s way.”

    http://www.cnbc.com/id/27537699

  129. FF LEO–

    “I was a workaholic, raised a family, and I could not concern myself with detailed political issues then, as I can now that I am retired. I would also agree that it is very difficult for the average family to be inspired to vote given all the pressures of trying to stay afloat in this economy. However, all things democratic evolve/devolve from the electorate, we are the ones to blame or thank for how our system works or fails, and we have to participate and pay now or recompense later and often at a greater price and sacrifice.”

    ***************

    I’m retired too–and have more time to do my “political” homework. Even still…I find it difficult. I think the fourth estate isn’t doing a very good job. There are still “real” journalists–but I think they are a minority. I believe we’re seeing the effects of corporate-controlled media for the most part. I think we have lots of journalists and members of the TV news media who socialize in the same circles as politicians and corporate leaders. We have news programs with “blathering” heads talking about insignificant crap–like the gossip in GAME CHANGE and whether or not President Obama is really an American citizen–while our country is involved in two wars and millions of Americans are out of work and losing their homes and health insurance. We have political pundits like Liz Cheney and Republican and Democratic strategists just spouting off talking points on TV. We have David Gregory emailing Governor Sanford to tell him “coming on Meet The Press allows you to frame the conversation as you really want to.” We have fewer and fewer newspapers–and existing newspapers closing down their offices in foreign countries.

    I think it’s becoming more and more difficult for the electorate to get the truth and the real news. I wish I could be more hopeful about what’s going on in this country.

  130. Duh

    What’s your point? Not many here care whether Obama or McCain raised more corporate dollars. It’s ALL bad. The problem is that ANY dollars must be raised and that the Supremes just upped the ante for both parties and elections from municipal to federal.

  131. Byron: “A question for you: if corporations cannot engage in free speech can any group of people, like unions or a trade association for example or a charitable orginization or the RCC?”

    Free speech for corporations have been recognized/created for years; e.g. how else would you have a case called Times v. Sullivan?

    Byron: “What would the difference be? Or what if a 1000 people formed the Organization of Concerned Myopics and started running poltical ads? I dont see one on a purely philosophical level.”

    The difference comes down to the corruption of the framer’s playing field with the power shift resulting from extending the legal fiction to deem corporations as equivalent to mankind with natural rights.

    Sovereignty rests with the people, land of the States and then the Fed; both Hamilton and Jefferson would agree that corporations were never part of the equation.

  132. rcampbell,

    My problem is that many see this as a Republican takeover. The corporate influence has been to the benefit of both parties. In the last PResidential Election, it was Obama that appears to be the one who benefitted more. Union involvement is just as bad as corporate involvement.

    The only saving grace I see from the Court’s decision is disclosure. If Wal-Mart buys candidate A, both Wal-Mart and candidate A will be linked together. When the majority speaks, it will also speak to the corporation. I think that will hold them accountable.

    This play for pay scheme has been around for 100 years, if not more. The name Pendergast is one that I recall.

  133. We the corporation, in order to form a more perfect board of directors….

    I looked through the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution and didn’t find the above nor did I find ANY mention of corporations. People? Yeah, saw that many times, but not corporations.

    This makes the position of those two perjurers to Congress, Alito and Roberts, all the more puzzling as they both told Congress–under oath–they believed the Constitution should be taken literally and strictly enforced. Lying corporatist bastards.

  134. The air will become even more polluted in this country as the utility companies and cement companies try to bribe officials to allow them to pollute. With respect to bribing I mean supporting candidates with offers of campaign money if they allow them to pollute. Also in red states where union members are few and far between the unions will not be able to counter balance the utility and energy companies with campaign workers.

  135. Other than corporations, are there any other entities whose speach is restricted?

    Why didn’t anybody find anything wrong with this?

  136. Bob Esq:

    aren’t corporations voluntary associations of individuals? So don’t corporate rights derive from the individuals engaging in this voluntary association? Dont partnerships and LLC’s offer the same limited liability as corporations? Wouldn’t an argument against corporations also be an argument against partnerships and other limited liability vehicles? And since individuals set these instruments up, isnt what you and others are proposing actually/ultimately a denial of individual liberty?

    These are some of the questions that I have as I do a little research on your question.

  137. “The moral core of the essays [The Federalist Papers] was that simple majority rule was dangerous because it could easily lead to oppression of minorities. This was not, as some have claimed, a desire to protect the wealthy few from the impoverished masses.

    In his most famous essay, Federalist 10, Madison declared that the most “common and durable” reason that society will ever be segmented is economic—“the various and unequal distribution of property.” People’s interests vary depending on whether they are debtors or creditors; farmers, manufacturers, and bankers, affected differently by various tax and trade policies, will always be at odds over the proper path for the government to follow.

    But in his discussion of the causes of factions, Madison explored many aspects of the human condition apart from the merely financial. In fact, he began his analysis with the simple observation that mortal man is “fallible.” Since fallible people will inevitably make errors, he said, subsequent disagreements as to wisdom and truth are equally inevitable.”

    Taken from an excellent essay entitled “Disrespecting the Federalist Papers”.
    http://hnn.us/articles/49975.html

  138. Byron,

    Let’s say that I join a commune, and my wife and son come with me. Would the rest of the commune suddenly gain parental rights regarding my son? If not, does that mean I’ve lost my parental rights?

    The individual is not the group.

  139. Gyges:

    Some communes do accept responsibility for raising children. But then isn’t free association an individual right? And isn’t a commune made up of individuals?

    If you want to divest yourself of those rights and have the commune raise your son, isn’t that your individual right?

  140. Byron, This is quite simple. No business entity is a person. No such non-persons are entitled to vote and therefore should not be contributing to any political campaign. No exeptions, no equivocating. NO CONTRIBUTIONS are approriate except from humans. We do this with religious and we can pefectly legally do the same to business entities.

  141. rcampbell:

    we still do limit contributions directly to politicians, this decision doesn’t change campaign contributions or am I missing something?

    Obviously if a company says I like Rep. Smith over Rep. Jones it is money Smith doesn’t have to spend. But what if you are Smith and you don’t want the XYZ Corp running an ad for you because they are in bed with Dolphin killers and your constituents are all environmentalists?

    I imagine this can cut both ways, and the people will ultimately make up their own minds. Which is at it should be in my opinion.

    If my congressman was being endorsed by GE I would not vote for him, but there will be people who will because he is supported by GE. Overall this seems to me to be an increase in freedom rather than a diminution.

  142. Byron,

    One word: Inalienable.

    Also, you have yet to prove that the lack of rights of a group as an entity is equivalent to a lack of individual rights. You don’t loose your right to free speech because your company can’t lie in an advertisement.

  143. Gyges:

    do I need to? A group is made up of individuals, how do you deny rights to a group and not end up denying rights to the individuals who make up the group?

    Please help me understand why denying rights to a group is not denying rights to the individuals who make up the group.

  144. Gyges:

    “One word: Inalienable.”

    so you would deny me my right to join the group of my choice? So my right to free association is limited?

  145. Byron: “aren’t corporations voluntary associations of individuals? So don’t corporate rights derive from the individuals engaging in this voluntary association?”

    Corporations are strictly creatures of statute; i.e. owing their entire (possible perpetual) existence to the body of state law creating them. As such, unlike mankind, they have no inalienable rights and are therefore not parties to the social compact.

    Byron: “Dont partnerships and LLC’s offer the same limited liability as corporations?”

    Partnerships offer no limited liability; all partners are equally personally liable for acts of the partnership and the (business related) acts of other partners. C.f. Limited partnerships. Distinguishing LLC’s from corporations would take a bit more time than I’d like to spend at this moment.

    Byron: “Wouldn’t an argument against corporations also be an argument against partnerships and other limited liability vehicles?”

    Just to keep it clear in your head, try thinking of partnerships as a bunch of sole proprietors bound by blood. NO LIMITED LIABILITY.

    Byron: “And since individuals set these instruments up, isnt what you and others are proposing actually/ultimately a denial of individual liberty?”

    Again, the founders did not set up this republic based upon the social compact with legal fictions in mind as parties to said compact. The main theme going through their minds, if you were to put in in a few words, was ‘no oppression/tyranny’.

    Only John Yoo would argue that the Founders envisioned corporate empires wielding their great financial influence so as to stifle the will of the people.

  146. Gyges sed:
    “You don’t loose your right to free speech because your company can’t lie in an advertisement.”

    Likewise, I wouldn’t lose my free speech rights, if all non-citizens were denied that right.

    Does that mean I shouldn’t care about the denial of that right, because it doesn’t affect me?

  147. “The severe educational qualification which has been imposed upon the electorate today has done more than merely deprive the voter of the power to vote. It has presented to others the opportunity to direct the voter how to vote and thus in effect to cast his ballot for him. That opportunity has at once been taken advantage of by men who have been quick to perceive the vast political power which the privilege of casting the voter’s ballot for him confers. This combination of opportunity and selfish motive is the complete cause of the passing of a considerable part of the political power of the electorate at large to the few who direct it how to vote.”

    “Not only, however, does the political ignorance of the voter present an obvious opportunity to someone to direct him how to vote and thus cast his ballot for him, but an overwhelming self-interest on the part of individuals invokes at once the strongest motive to use the opportunity. The man that can control the power of the electorate will secure the power to appoint to office. He who can regularly place the candidate in office will soon control the holder of the office and exercise the governmental power which the officeholder wields. The securing of such governmental power has always been an object in itself to a proportion of the individuals in every community. When seen as a source of personal profit and advancement, the numbers who will strive for it and the efforts which they will make are greatly increased. Indeed, the prize which the successful secure is such as to produce the keenest competition and the most exhaustive effort.”

    “The professional adviser and director to the politically ignorant voter aims to secure control of as much of the power of government as possible. His means to that end consist in becoming the most important single factor in the filling of the offices of the legal government. Success in advising and directing a majority of the politically ignorant voters how to vote places in his hands the power to fill by appointment all offices for which candidates are presented who are unknown to the electorate generally. Our political boss naturally tends to appoint men who are loyal to him and to his power, and by this means he naturally secures a certain control over part of the local governmental power. In the same way, the prize of a combination of successful local bosses is the power to appoint the majority of the officeholders of some more extensive and important local municipal government and thus obtain control of a part of its governmental power. When the state-wide organization of the feudal army of directors and advisers to the politically ignorant voter has been thoroughly perfected, with a man of great ability at its head, the prize to be obtained is the principal part of the entire governmental power, whether state or local. More and more such an organization will fill with men loyal to its leaders the local and state legislative bodies, the local and state executive offices, and even places upon the bench. Such an organization, when continuously successful for any length of time, will have actually filled all of the less conspicuous and less important offices in the executive, legislative, and judicial departments of the state and local governments.”

    Albert Kales “Unpopular Government in the United States” 1913

    The public has been told how to vote for over 100 years. The only thing that has changed are the faces of those instructing the voters.

  148. Byron, It’s only about what you call these voluntary associations are called under the law. The voluntary association you call a corporation (not an apt description IMO) is recognized as a citizen. It has the same rights to the election funding process as a citizen with the same limits on contributions- DIRECT CONTRIBUTIONS- as citizens. ANY citizen has the right to spend unlimited funds on issues advertisements. Now corporations can do the same thing.
    If you, or you and 10 friends wanted to pool a million dollars apiece and make a movie(or take out ads) about an issue you could do that If Ross Poirot wanted to spends 20 million dollars and make a movie (or take out ads) about an issue he could do that. If BOA now wants to spend 150 million dollars and make a movie (or take out ads) on an issue, say bank regulation, it now can based on this decision. The same rules apply because soylent green is people… no, corporations, corporations are citizens with the same rights as any other citizen has regarding access to the funding of candidates and issue ads.

    EXACTLY why this is ‘unfair’ at it’s most basic was stated above by Voomba- Voomba, the brevity and clarity of your statement is outstanding:

    Voomba
    …”Since all corporations are run by humans, this decision gives a new second voice to those few humans who run corporations. Now, people (as in “of the People, by the People, for the People”) are separated into two unequal classes: those with two political voices, and those with only one.”

  149. Citizens United Revisted.

    (1) SIMPLE LOGIC: Once share owners take the protection offered to their personal fortunes by accepting the governmentally enabled privileges of corporation [a legal fiction], they forgo the privileges of using those invested funds as instruments of their free & independent political will.

    (2) UNDERLYING POLITICAL-LEGAL LOGIC. Only Justice John Marshall Harlan recognized that the ostensible premises of Plessy’s “Separate but Equal Logic” were legal tokens masking the harsh realities of American racism and especially Southern racism.

    Plessy was wrong legally when decided because it violated the Civil War Amendments. It was, of course, also dependent upon a fabricated exaggeration of the actual differences between humans with (easily noted) African ancestry and those of European ancestry.

    Citizens United was wrong when decided because it invests & creates ACTUAL POLITICAL POWER for those parties who have used the publicly protected privileges of corporation to further private and factional financial interests. At bottom this invented, fictional multiplicative extension of political influence for wealthy individuals under the guise of corporate personhood is every bit as dishonest as the pretenses of slavery & segregation.n

  150. “Which politician – federal or local, would be able to stand up to companies backed by China?”

    From Duh:
    “What candidate can be endorsed, and paid for by a communist country, and still get elected? … Wouldn’t their opponent point out who is backing them?

    “If the candidate is being backed by Wal-Mart, do you think the Democrats are going to vote for them?”

    I’m sure 30 years ago, there were those who never thought Americans would buy so much from a communist country.

    What if it’s not endorsements and ads but extremely expensive and effective get out the vote efforts? A fleet of Volvo taxis? Or Hummers dispatched by Lenovo employees?

    Finally, Democrats don’t decide as many elections as Independents and Republicans do.

  151. Well, I guess this proves the old adage that anyone who uses the word “paradigm” is talking smack.

    Professor, your insouciance in this matter is maddening. ‘Hey, there goes the democracy. Bummer!’ Change the electoral college?? Right, that should be doable in another century or two. In the meantime, there are many of us who need to live outside the theoretical debates in our own heads.

    Everything hangs in the balance here…and you come down firmly on the side of big money and entrenched power. I love how you don’t even favor a constitutional amendment to change this. Nope, this is God’s law, as transmitted through Justice Roberts and Jonathan Turley, forever immutable. Now you little mortals go out there and change the electoral college, or maybe bring me the witch’s broomstick, I forget which. The great and powerful Oz has spoken.

    And just for the record…NO, this is NOT something that people of good faith can disagree on, and it does not become such just because you say it is. I have NO faith in your desire to preserve our republic.

    Kevin

  152. Corporations Speak Out Against SCOTUS Ruling, Call On Congress To Approve Public Financing Of Campaigns
    by Zaid Jilani
    (Think Progress, 1/22/2010)

    Excerpt:
    Yesterday, “all five of the [Supreme] Court’s conservatives joined together … to invalidate a sixty-three year-old ban on corporate money in federal elections,” a move that Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) said “opens the floodgates for the purchases and sale of the law” by big corporations.

    Today, in response to the Supreme Court’s catastrophic decision, “dozens of current and former corporate executives” from corporations including Delta, Ben & Jerry’s, and Crate & Barrel sent a letter to Congress asking it to immediately pass the Fair Elections Now Act, which would publicly finance all congressional campaigns out of a special fund created by a fee levied on TV broadcasters:

    Roughly 40 executives from companies including Playboy Enterprises, ice cream maker Ben & Jerry’s, the Seagram’s liquor company, toymaker Hasbro, Delta Airlines and Men’s Wearhouse sent a letter to congressional leaders Friday urging them to approve public financing for House and Senate campaigns. They say they are tired of getting fundraising calls from lawmakers — and fear it will only get worse after Thursday’s Supreme Court ruling. […]

    “Members of Congress already spend too much time raising money from large contributors,” the business executives’ letter says. “And often, many of us individually are on the receiving end of solicitation phone calls from members of Congress. With additional money flowing into the system due to the court’s decision, the fundraising pressure on members of Congress will only increase.”

    http://thinkprogress.org/2010/01/22/corporations-public-financing/

  153. Kevin wrote,

    “Professor, your insouciance in this matter is maddening. ‘Hey, there goes the democracy. Bummer!”
    ________________________________

    That was very funny Kevin.

    However, I think the Prof is correct and his position is not mere legalistic hypothesizing.

  154. FFLEO,
    “However, I think the Prof is correct and his position is not mere legalistic hypothesizing.”

    Perhaps. But, there comes a time when the distinction between academic exercise and practical reality collide. What then? Discard what’s “good” for what’s “right”? I agree that this whole situation is grounded in the Santa Clara v SP, which, in my view, was/is as constitutionally untenable as Dred Scott or Plessy.

  155. President Wal-Mart or President AFL-CIO will not change the fact that Washington does not and will not listen to what the American people think. Corporations are legal fictions designed for profit with no regard or capaicity for humanity. Seems like Washignton has always been a corporation.

  156. This could lead to blowback that some corporations can’t afford: when their stock prices tank because Jon Stewart associates them by name with their ridiculous propaganda. (Or version thereof…)

    The founders did not write about the future scaleability of the Constitution to our current day scale of 300,000,000 people and our concentration of wealth. Add in the structural problem of members of the house always being in campaign mode, and, gerrymandering, and I’d tend to agree that the principal problem lies elsewhere.

    Albeit ‘speech’ line-drawing is very difficult when it comes to paid speech in a free speech environment.

    The spectre comes in some future when powerful corporations come to back (with glossy, torrid propaganda) law-and-order candidates because they’ve pissed off the little people with the severe tilt of the table, and, those people have become disorderly.

    This would be ironic.

  157. Justice Stevens criticized the Roberts wing of the court for being activist. That wing of the court has a corporate bent to it. Remember what they did in the Exxon Mobil case.

  158. “The ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission radically reverses well-established law and erodes a wall that has stood for a century between corporations and electoral politics. (The ruling also frees up labor unions to spend, though they have far less money at their disposal.)

    The founders of this nation warned about the dangers of corporate influence. The Constitution they wrote mentions many things and assigns them rights and protections — the people, militias, the press, religions. But it does not mention corporations.

    “In 1907, as corporations reached new heights of wealth and power, Congress made its views of the relationship between corporations and campaigning clear: It banned them from contributing to candidates. At midcentury, it enacted the broader ban on spending that was repeatedly reaffirmed over the decades until it was struck down on Thursday.

    This issue should never have been before the court. The justices overreached and seized on a case involving a narrower, technical question involving the broadcast of a movie that attacked Hillary Rodham Clinton during the 2008 campaign. The court elevated that case to a forum for striking down the entire ban on corporate spending and then rushed the process of hearing the case at breakneck speed. It gave lawyers a month to prepare briefs on an issue of enormous complexity, and it scheduled arguments during its vacation.”

  159. As someone sitting on the other side of the “pond” I can only see how democracy IS changing in your country. For the first time last year you elected a President whilst also giving him the financial support (in bucket loads) to enter the White House as a truly and completely INDEPENDENTLY supported President of the people.
    Corporations are SCARED – please don’t miss this point. Overturning a 20 year ruling is an act of panic and can only lose what little credibility corporations and the judiciary currently have!
    Believe in yourselves and the power of the internet – you have already achieved so much to others on this planet like myself (and I am not alone by any means!!!).
    Keep giving your President all the support you can – he needs it – and your pioneering actions will motivate the rest of us to action.

  160. (Where’s Buddha these days? I miss his comments. Jill’s too.)

    An interesting read:

    The Supreme Court Just Handed Anyone, Including bin Laden or the Chinese Govt., Control of Our Democracy

    By Greg Palast, AlterNet. Posted January 22, 2010.

    http://www.alternet.org/story/145354/the_supreme_court_just_handed_anyone%2C_including_bin_laden_or_the_chinese_govt.%2C_control_of_our_democracy

    “Greg Palast is the author of the New York Times bestseller The Best Democracy Money Can Buy.” Palast investigated Triad Inc. for The Guardian (UK). View Palast’s reports for BBC TV and Democracy Now!”

    (Where’s Buddha these days? I miss his comments. Jill’s too.)

  161. (Moved the Buddha/Jill remark and didn’t delete the latter one. No harm in saying it twice. :-))

    I agree with John C about the power of the internet and will add to it. Good, decent people coupled with “the power of the internet” may be our last, best hope. (While things are bad, they could be so much worse.)

  162. Bob,Esq:

    “Again, the founders did not set up this republic based upon the social compact with legal fictions in mind as parties to said compact. The main theme going through their minds, if you were to put in in a few words, was ‘no oppression/tyranny’.’

    ***********************

    How would you square your notions of the founders’ intent with the First Amendment’s right to freely associate as in the formation of a corporation? Would not your precept,if carried to its logical extension, deny to the many what is guaranteed to the individual? Why are groups of citizens denied a voice available to them individually? If so, isn’t this the very definition of tyranny? All salient questions addressed by the Court — and Byron.

  163. Mespo: “How would you square your notions of the founders’ intent with the First Amendment’s right to freely associate as in the formation of a corporation? Would not your precept,if carried to its logical extension, deny to the many what is guaranteed to the individual?”

    You’re engaging in the fallacy of arguing from the parts to the whole; or the fallacy of composition. The entire framework of our republic is based upon the distinction between usurpation and tyranny which in turn is based upon the distinction between alienable and inalienable rights. Corporations my dear Mespo are not mankind born in a state of nature, they are creatures of statute; owing their existence to the body of law that created them. Accordingly, they are not even products of the mere gathering of individuals.

    Mespo: “Why are groups of citizens denied a voice available to them individually? If so, isn’t this the very definition of tyranny?”

    First of all Mespo, you know damn well that the Court never EVER refers to a corporation as a ‘group of citizens’ because it is ALWAYS treated as an entity unto itself; even when you’re dealing with a sole shareholder. The entity, as a creature of statute, is not found within the set known as ‘mankind’ and is therefore not party to the social compact.

    Finally, to paraphrase Locke, Tyranny is the exercise of power over an inalienable right. Tell me what inalienable right is at issue here.

    Well, the answer is zero, as shown above in the explanation as to why corporations are not parties to the social compact.

    qed

  164. Bob,Esq:

    Interesting points all, but again I am unsure how corporations are not protected by the First Amendment as an association of individuals like trade unions enjoy.First Nat. Bank of Boston v. Bellotti, 435 U. S. 765, 784 (1978) thinks they are so protected. That clearly was the rationale for the majority in this decision. If so, why do they enjoy any lesser free speech protections?

    Surely it can’t be their vast economic resources as that would also affect Gates, Buffett, et als….maybe even Bob,Esq! As the majority said,“’…resources amassed in the economic marketplace’ [are irrelevant to the protections afforded by the Amendment]. First Amendment protections do not depend on the speaker’s ‘financial ability to engage in public discussion.'” [citations omitted]. Isn’t your argument really based on your rejection of this premise?

  165. I think some are treating the corporation as if it were some sort of artificial intelligence. While artificial intelligence is gaining some ground, and I will be in full support of limiting the speech of a truly artificial entity, the corporation’s voice is that of persons. The corporation has no voice without the persons directing that speech.

    To limit the speech of a corporation would be no different than limiting the speech of an anonymous blog owner.

  166. Prof. Turley correctly notes that the American system is broken, opining that ways to fix it include breaking the strangle hold of the ongoing corrupt two party charade.

    Then he concludes with regard to the decision: “It really broke along a fine line. It depends on whether your gravitational point tended to fall along the free speech line or the good government line.”

    I would suggest that without good government, protected by the court, free speech becomes a theoretical issue, almost a luxury.

    I would also suggest, as to orientation and motives of the majority, Prof. Turley’s analysis is inapposite as much as would a scholarly analysis be anything but laughable for, say, Bush v. Gore, good governance. Face it, the motivation is political and ideological, and does not nearly rise to the level of seriousness that Prof. Turley outlines. The majority doesn’t deserve his help in putting lipstick on this pig.

    I must say, if I had to be gullible, I am touched by the majority’s kumbaya attitude toward free speech.

  167. “I would suggest that without good government, protected by the court, free speech becomes a theoretical issue, almost a luxury.”

    And I would suggest that without free speech, good government would be what that government tells us is good.

  168. Mespo: “Interesting points all, but again I am unsure how corporations are not protected by the First Amendment as an association of individuals like trade unions enjoy.First Nat. Bank of Boston v. Bellotti, 435 U. S. 765, 784 (1978) thinks they are so protected. That clearly was the rationale for the majority in this decision. If so, why do they enjoy any lesser free speech protections?”

    In the interest of brevity…

    Bellotti “held that states cannot prohibit corporations from spending money to express their views on referendum questions even if such issues are not directly related to their business interests.” (Nowak, Rotunda, Con Law 5th ed. p. 1083)

    The Bellotti Court did go on to say: (and I’d double indent this quote here if someone showed me the proper coding…)

    “our consideration of a corporation’s right to speak on issues of general public interest implies no comparable right in the quite different context of participation in a political campaign for election to public office. Congress might well be able to demonstrate the existence of a danger of real or apparent corruption in independent expenditures by corporations to influence candidate elections.” (Bellotti, 435 U. S. 765, 787, n26 (1978)

    Mespo: “Surely it can’t be their vast economic resources as that would also affect Gates, Buffett, et als…”

    See note 26 above.

    Mespo: As the majority said,“’…resources amassed in the economic marketplace’ [are irrelevant to the protections afforded by the Amendment]. First Amendment protections do not depend on the speaker’s ‘financial ability to engage in public discussion.’” [citations omitted]. Isn’t your argument really based on your rejection of this premise?

    No. I said, or my premise is -if you will, that corporations, being creatures of statute, have no inalienable rights and are not parties to the social compact. The implication being that whatever commercial speech rights AFFORDED/BESTOWED upon them would be incidental to their business interests (i.e. the very purpose of their existence). To wit, denying a corporation like the NY Times the right of free speech would defeat the purpose of running a newspaper.

    There can be little doubt that, when a State creates a corporation with the power to acquire and utilize property, it necessarily and implicitly guarantees that the corporation will not be deprived of that property absent due process of law. Likewise, when a State charters a corporation for the purpose of publishing a newspaper, it necessarily assumes that the corporation is entitled to the liberty of the press essential to the conduct of its business. [Footnote 4/3] Grosjean so held, and our subsequent cases have so assumed. E.g., Time, Inc. v. Firestone, 424 U. S. 448 (1976); @ 376 U. S. 761-770 (1976). Although the Court has never explicitly recognized a corporation’s right of commercial speech, such a right might be considered necessarily incidental to the business of a commercial corporation.

    Since you cited Belloti, let’s take a looksie at the points raised by Rehnquist in his dissent:

    “It cannot be so readily concluded that the right of political expression is equally necessary to carry out the functions of a corporation organized for commercial purposes. [Footnote 4/5] A State grants to a business corporation the blessings of potentially perpetual life and limited liability to enhance its efficiency as Page 435 U. S. 826 an economic entity. It might reasonably be concluded that those properties, so beneficial in the economic sphere, pose special dangers in the political sphere. Furthermore, it might be argued that liberties of political expression are not at all necessary to effectuate the purposes for which States permit commercial corporations to exist. So long as the Judicial Branches of the State and Federal Governments remain open to protect the corporation’s interest in its property, it has no need, though it may have the desire, to petition the political branches for similar protection. Indeed, the States might reasonably fear that the corporation would use its economic power to obtain further benefits beyond those already bestowed. [Footnote 4/6] I would think that any particular form of organization Page 435 U. S. 827 upon which the State confers special privileges or immunities different from those of natural persons would be subject to like regulation, whether the organization is a labor union, a partnership, a trade association, or a corporation. …. I can see no basis for concluding that the liberty of a corporation to engage in political activity with regard to matters having no material effect on its business is necessarily incidental to the purposes for which the Commonwealth permitted these corporations to be organized or admitted within its boundaries.” (Bellotti, 435 U. S. 765 at 825-828)

    N.B. I have not read the full opinion yet; but I’m champing at the bit to see the outcome deterministic reasoning employed by the majority.

  169. Correction:

    This was part of Rehnquist’s dissent; should be part of the whole quote:

    Rehnquist Dissenting: “There can be little doubt that, when a State creates a corporation with the power to acquire and utilize property, it necessarily and implicitly guarantees that the corporation will not be deprived of that property absent due process of law. Likewise, when a State charters a corporation for the purpose of publishing a newspaper, it necessarily assumes that the corporation is entitled to the liberty of the press essential to the conduct of its business. [Footnote 4/3] Grosjean so held, and our subsequent cases have so assumed. E.g., Time, Inc. v. Firestone, 424 U. S. 448 (1976); @ 376 U. S. 761-770 (1976). Although the Court has never explicitly recognized a corporation’s right of commercial speech, such a right might be considered necessarily incidental to the business of a commercial corporation.”

  170. If a corporation can be put to death “involuntarily dissolved” for the minor infraction of failing to pay state franchise fees, if they are in fact the equivalent of “natural persons” could they not be put to death for criminal activities, ecological terrorism (Exxon in Alaska), condoning murder(XE), engaging in slavery (garment manufacturers in South America, Asia and even Los Angeles)?

  171. Duh @ 2:59 “And I would suggest that without free speech, good government, would be what that government tells us is good.”

    Duh, I was well aware that the obverse cold be suggested. I’ll not pretend to know at base which is more fundamental. But I will reiterate that this majority has far more of a political agenda than an interest in wrestling with the difficult issues of fidelity to the law. My 2 cents. Good government ensures the environment in which free speech is meaningful. If you are suggesting that we have (already) descended to a degenerated state of government where free speech is paramount because good government is an oxymoron, I might agree.

  172. “If you are suggesting that we have (already) descended to a degenerated state of government where free speech is paramount because good government is an oxymoron, I might agree.”

    I am. The information we receive from those who are close to the seat of government, and those whose duty it is to sound the alarm, is far from a complete or honest representation of the facts.

    I like FOX NEWS. Not because they provide the complete truth, but because they’re at least honest about their partisan bias. (Truth be told, I get most of that type of information from the Sunday morning shows. All of them.)

    I have close friends on both sides of the aisle. I know them well enough that we can discuss political issues without expressing outrage when we disagree. The doctor’s perspective is just as important as the patients.

    I’m not afraid of speech I don’t agree with, as much as I am the silencing of that speech.

    I think every time a political ad is bought, it should be (included in the price) the same amount of time for opposing information. I wouldn’t require the opposing viewpoint to be presented, but I would make sure that the opportunity for such exists.

  173. AN,

    I think as a matter of expecting the good citizens to appear when they are summoned for Jury Duty he should have dropped everything and gone. It is up to the Court and Attorneys to excuse him. This is bad publicity that he can expect to come back and bite him, regardless if Bush did it or not.

    I think that he as a Democrat should hold himself to a higher standard. But we can see that he is as bad or worse than Bush.

  174. Bdaman–

    Quoting from the article you provided the link to:

    “More specifically, 61% of Americans think the government should be able to limit the amount of money individuals can contribute to candidates and 76% think it should be able to limit the amount corporations or unions can give.”

  175. More Information about the Gallup Poll article I quoted from in my previous comment:

    Survey Methods

    Results are based on telephone interviews with 1,023 national adults, aged 18 and older, conducted Oct. 1-2, 2009, as part of Gallup Daily tracking. For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±4 percentage points.

    ***************

    That poll was conducted more than three months ago.

  176. I just posted the link folks I tend to let people smarter than me disect it. Thats why I didn’t comment. You guys are doing my homework.

    That poll was conducted more than three months ago.

    Good find Elaine!!!! It pays to read the small print, so really this poll means nothing because the mood of the country could have swung the other way.

  177. First let me say This Is No Joke and involves the recent US Supreme Court decision that allows corporations to have unlimited resources to buy off our religious or political elected officials and this affects US all.

    I am writing you because, I am Satan, Risen Reborn and in the Flesh of a regular Christian woman. I need a lawyer to represent me in a case against my employer, now before an US District Court judge in Maryland but will probably end up in the Supreme Court. I intend to use a King James Version of the Holy Bible as a fully, legal and binding contract and promise passed down to US citizens by our constitutional forefathers and Complain of Mass Religion Fraud brought about by the word no in the first amendment. “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or…” The word no clearly denies US a: Choice, Vote, and Even a Decent Respect of Redress, especially since even the courts used the Bible as an Instrument of Law and all US presidents swore swear their oaths upon it. I am sure you can understand how difficult it is to find a lawyer or person who believes me.

    I don’t think anyone has ever come before a judge claiming to be Satan, the Daughter of God, Sister Spirit and espoused Bride of Jesus Christ before, and I can prove that I have been sent by the Lord. (Rev. 2:24, 3:9, 19:7-10, 21:9 and 22:16-17). I Have to use the Bible as my Proof and Warn Yall that Time Is Short. I was thrown down with Great Anger By GOD and SHe’s Really Pissed Off. So, Believe it or Not; I Satan and when I go to court, I’m willing to put my hand on a Bible and Promise to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth so help me God; this time.

  178. Well Burnt,

    You sound toasted. To a crisp. I have met some that I could have sworn might have been related to you. Good luck in your court case. who knows divine intervention may come just your way.

  179. Roughly 40 executives from companies including Playboy Enterprises, ice cream maker Ben & Jerry’s, the Seagram’s liquor company, toymaker Hasbro, Delta Airlines and Men’s Wearhouse sent a letter to congressional leaders Friday urging them to approve public financing for House and Senate campaigns. They say they are tired of getting fundraising calls from lawmakers — and fear it will only get worse after Thursday’s Supreme Court ruling.

    The court ruled that corporations and unions can spend unlimited money on ads urging people to vote for or against candidates. The decision was sought by interest groups including one that represents American businesses, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. They argued that restrictions on ads they could finance close to elections violated their free-speech rights, and the court agreed.

    Congressional candidates who find themselves attacked by a flood of special-interest TV ads in the 2010 elections will likely reach out to their party’s biggest donors for money to help them counter the blitz.

    “Members of Congress already spend too much time raising money from large contributors,” the business executives’ letter says. “And often, many of us individually are on the receiving end of solicitation phone calls from members of Congress. With additional money flowing into the system due to the court’s decision, the fundraising pressure on members of Congress will only increase.”

    http://abcnews.go.com/Business/wireStory?id=9635062

  180. Sorry Elaine my bad, I missed it. Maybe the corporations are just as sick with the people in Washington as the majority of us.

  181. eniobob – Thanks for the link. Great article.

    And the Motion carried, with all present and voting Aye. No nays were heard.

  182. EmpirePrincess,

    In opening the floodgates for corporate money in election campaigns, the Supreme Court did not simply engage in a brazen power grab. It did so in an opinion stunning in its intellectual dishonesty.

    I like the ring to that. Good link.

  183. burntoffering: “I don’t think anyone has ever come before a judge claiming to be Satan, the Daughter of God, Sister Spirit and espoused Bride of Jesus Christ before, and I can prove that I have been sent by the Lord. (Rev. 2:24, 3:9, 19:7-10, 21:9 and 22:16-17). I Have to use the Bible as my Proof and Warn Yall that Time Is Short. I was thrown down with Great Anger By GOD and SHe’s Really Pissed Off. So, Believe it or Not; I Satan and when I go to court, I’m willing to put my hand on a Bible and Promise to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth so help me God; this time.”

    So if you’re Satan, does that mean Lord Scalia is your designated agent for service of process? Or is it really the other way around?

  184. JT: “I was sympathetic with Citizens United and the free speech groups. In the end, I have to favor more speech than less in such conflicts. While I would have written a concurrence and have difficulty with aspects of the majority opinion, I probably would have voted to support the majority in the result in this case.”

    With all due respect sir, the Court’s decision in this case is as sound as the one they handed down in Kelo.

    As I explained to Mespo, the argument suffers from the fallacy of composition. The entire framework of our republic is based upon the social compact which is rooted in the distinction between usurpation and tyranny which in turn is based upon the distinction between alienable and inalienable rights. Corporations do not fall within the set known as ‘mankind born in a state of nature’ since they are creatures of statute; owing their existence to the body of law that created them. Accordingly, they are not even products of the mere gathering of individuals.

    Further, to lean on the crutch that ‘more speech is better than less’ is a load of tripe, with all due respect sir, since it begs the question as to the very order of operations from which rights are derived.

    To put it bluntly sir, the Ninth Amendment, as a rule of construction, is proof positive that corporations have no inherent right of political speech; they did not retain said right upon the creation of this republic, it was just bestowed upon them by the grace of a sovereign of five and the misguided sophists that support them.

  185. Hell-O Bob, Esq.
    You’ve got it all wrong, I am the victim or Plaintiff in this case against these 5 men who have statutorily raped me and my kind from having the same laws of nature and natures GOD, that our forefathers relied upon and says We should Trust.

    I’m just a (Plain American Indian Negro) and Assimilated Christian woman, or A Pain ND Ass for short, who wants to Sioux this body of government cause I wasn’t even allowed a vote, choice or decent respect of being asked if I as the Head of my household (Iroquois) bestowed land rights and blessings from Mother to Daughter upon death or marriage. The only reason my ancestors let the White man in was because they said they came “In the name of GOD, Amen” and said they were looking for the Son of God, Jesus Christ a.k.a. the Bridegroom to Come. They considered my kind as “the People of Satan” or merciless savage Indians and that’s completely different from thos who believe in a Father, Son and Holy Ghost religion that doesn’t recognize the Female gender as a Holy Hostess, Goddess, and man’s only means of Survival. By the words themselves; there can be No Father or Son unless the Holy Spirit or Ghost is a Mother or Daughter ie. a FeMale.

    As an inter vivos heir of the Wheeler-Howard Indian reorganization Act, I don’t see why I cant use the Mayflower Compact, NW Ordinance and Declaration of Independence since I Am One People born with Inalienable Right to: Abort, Dissolve, Separate and Throw Off a White Christian body of government men. The Mayflower Compact was signed by Kings, Queens etc, is under Article III a “prior engagement and debt” and valid against the Constitution of these United States.

    These men were given ALL Power to make laws and wars, but CHOSE to “make no law respecting an establishment of Religion” i.e., GOD. According to the definition of Religion from a common dictionary it says Religion means; 1. Belief in, or the worship of, God or a group of gods. 2. A particular system of belief or worship built around God, moral ideals, a philosophy of life, etc. Dont they think “Trusting in GOD” is proper and Good for We the People?

    It seems to me the word ‘no” makes our Courts Impotent to Affirm, Enforce, Honor or Uphold their own Oaths. And What in the name of God; is this in MaryLand’s constitution, that said “under His dispensation they will be held responsible in this life or the next”? Well one thing for sure “Deeds are masculine and Words are Feminimn But there will Never have a New Heaven, New Earth, Rebirth of Freedom, Son of Man or Son of GOD born without 1st the Pain and Travail of a Woman. Only SHe knows when it Time to Give Birth and Push! I use Isa. 66:6-9 as my Mark of the Beast and to show this was indeed in God’s plan.

    But When in the course of Human events it becomes necessary for One People, i.e., Satan to Assume Among the Powers of the Earth; Her Separate and Equal Right and proclaim that although God created all men equal and even 1st, God created Women 2nd, Better which is Greater than the Alpha as His Beta. I think since its a Fact; that men have become too accustomed to thinking with their little middle head and are genetically unable to stop thinking about sex every 7-10 seconds to Right Themselves.

    This is A Shame Before GOD. So I think We the People have a Right to Know; What Is the name of this GOD they claim to know and say We should Trust? Is it Allah, Jesus Christ, Uncle Sam, the Almighty Buck or GOD Damn? I tremble in FEAR, as Thomas Jefferson did; cause I know GOD is Just; and the Almighty has No Attribute that will take sides with US in this Contest”. God asked these sons of guns; America, Will You Respect the Established GOD of Your Oath? But their answer appears to be; Hell No GOD We are Free of Religion” so don’t have to keep our Promises to You or US citizens.

    Well take it from me; If I were You’ll; I drop down to my knees like the cowardly lion of Oz. Id believe in Ghost, Jesus Christ, and FEAR GOD to the utmost as a woman scorned. One GOD Parent whose been in charge of Heaven, Earth and Hell All Along. Now I on the other Hand or Side of GOD’s am a Triple Agent, Angle and Angel much like Oliver North, but Ive been working for God all along. I truly love my God given government Job.2:1-9 “And Satan answered the Lord and said skin for skin, yeah all that a man hath will he give for his life; but put forth thine hand and Touch his Flesh and bone, and He will curse the to your face.

    Anyway, unless they can prove I am not who I claim, they have no reason not to believe my or his sworn testimony in Rev. 22:16 But if the congress and judges who swore their oaths on a Bible really believe in this Book; than it makes perfect sense and cents to me; that if God could beget a son using a normal virgin woman; then GOD could and would beget a daughter using the Mother of Harlots;(Rev. 17:1-9) especially since the Only thing GOD ever made that was not Good; is A Man Alone. duh Why wouldn’t God provide a wife for Him; just like She did for the 1st Adam, Moses, David and even Joseph his step daddy. Well as a Native New Yorker, born under the Flags of Lady Liberty and Justice, I hold a different Double Edge Sword, also known as the Word of GOD. I suggest instead of spending all that money to cover the breast of a statute, they claim offends them; that they remove the Blindfold from Lady Justice. She is not Deaf, Dumb, Blind or a Blond and she needs to identify the Masonic brothers who have severely retarded her Gender’s Abilities and Cut them back to the bone where she came from. As the Angel of Death, Queen of the Sourth or Lady of the Lake; I alone hold Excalibur.

    Thats why I also asked in my case that I be given the Top Ring on the Flag Flown by my employer,after they made me take a 6 week Zig Ziglar positive attiutude training while I was Pregant with my son. The word No stops me from having Affinity with Him as a decendant of the slaves and French American Indian Wars. I asked for at least 40 acres, and 4 Black mules as a show of Good Faith. But if they won’t Settle for that, than I want All My Land Back i.e., NY to Florida and West to Snake Canyon, due to An Anticipatory Breach of Contract, Honor, Oaths, and Promises sworn on a Bible; and Mass Religion Fraud caused by the denial of Religion Law such as the laws of Nature and Nature’s God.

    So in closing if; you can represent me; then I’m sure I can get You 1 Get Out Of Hell Free card

    Sincerely,

    Satan, aka Burnt Offering(Hebrews 10:7-10), God’s Other Kid and the Black Sheep in the Trinity Family (hey everybody’s got one)

  186. burntoffering,

    Carl Jung, a gnostic, deemed frogs to be God’s first attempt at making humans. Ya see, in the beginning was the word; and the word was “doing.” And since there was so much to do, the Big Guy created a race of perfect beings to help him get things done; enter the frogs.

    Trouble was, He made them so perfect that the frogs found they didn’t really need The Big Guy; and if there’s one thing the Big Guy likes is to feel needed. But I digress.

    Long story short, there’s been, how shall we say, a troubled relationship between the frogs and the Big Guy.

    For example, Exodus Chapter eight contains no reference to the protracted contractual negotiations between the frogs and the Big Guy per the assistance of Moses in freeing the Jews from Egypt. Instead, the frogs are depicted as a mere plague; this despite the illustrations of the frogs in the “Good News New Testament” in which said frogs are smiling. Remember, but for the frogs, Moses never makes it out of Egypt.

    But that’s not what’s got the frogs pissed. Ya see, if you’re really Satan, which I sincerely doubt since historically speaking the spirit of contradiction has never been one to brag -like you-, you should be preparing for a lawsuit for this little ditty:

    “And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet.” (Revelation 16:13)

    Those three frogs, aka Murray, Bertram & Stanley, never took kindly to the aforementioned passage and have been itching to sue for defamation quite some time.

    So if you really are who you say you are, and this assumes of course that you haven’t stopped your Lithium treatment, then you’d best keep an eye out for the frogs; cause they got their eyes on you.

    Bill Murray: “So you better be good for goodness sake. Whoa–oh. Somebody’s coming….”

    http://www.webelements.com/lithium/

  187. I am not talking about Carl Jung, I am talking about myself, I guess which is why I am pro se. But even Satan isnt foolish enough to respresent herself. So Yes, frogs, boils, and demons in Man or our in American “Legion” have to make a choice. The sons of Abraham, Lincoln or even Moses, still have to look upon My Face, if they want to live.

    As Satan I’m now transformed into an Angel of Light or Brass Serpent Moses lifted up in the widerness. The Hidden Manna or B/Read of Life, Jesus promised was write before our eyes this whole time and the frogs or other beast are all under Satan’s control.

    I am your Final Warning; just as God sent to Noah, and Jonas thats been sent by GOD and come in the name of the LORD i.e., Mrs. Jesus Christ to collect His Rent aka the Final Judgment; i.e., at least 1/3 credit for every cent; that has In God We Trust depicted upon it.Even Jesus said “Shew me a penny; whose subscription hath it on it? Than give unto to Ceasor the things that be Ceasars and unto God the things that be GOD’s.

    So incase you dont recall; I am the 7th Angel with the cup of the 7th last plagues and abominations of the Earth in my hand. Rev. 18:6 says “Reward Her even as she reward you, and Double unto Her doubling according to her works; in the cup which she hath filled fill to her double. How much she hath glorifed herslef, and livee delicously, so much torment and sorrow give her: for She saidth in Her heart, I sit as a Queen and Am No Widow, and shall see no sorrow. Do you think its a coincidence, my 1st husband that I married on April Fools day; actually died unexpectly at a Holy Cross, hospital?

    It’s not important that you believe me; the fact is Many people believe the Bible but didnt think it could be proved True. Its just slightly Miss Understood because a Man due to his gender was Never skuppose to figure it out. i.e. Rev. 5:2 And I saw a strong Angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals there? And No man in heaven, nor in Earth, neither Under the earth was able to open the book, Neigher to look thereon. And I wept much because No man was found worthy to open and to read the book neithr to look thereon.

    Jesus Christ is/was a Real Man; so that Includes him. This job has to go to a Woman because the Lion of Judah, is actually a Lioness since Judah is the Treacherous Backsliding Sister who got the part as a harlot. Jesus and Satan were just given separate missions. He came first, to Save the World, and Die for YOur Sins, whereas my job was to Deceive the Whole world and remain Silent till the last day or Hour. The Bible is just One Big Joke; But GOD is not mocked; You are and SHe figured out a way for Her only betgotten son and daughter to live happily forever after the Fall. I wouldnt expect an Hypocrite like you, or Pat Robertson to Believe me or the Book since Jesus said; in Luke 11:46 Woe unto you also y lawyers! for ye lade men with burdens grievous to be borne, and ye yourselfves touch not the burdens with one of your fingers. Woe unto you for ye build the sepulchres of the prophets, and Your fathers killed them….That the bloold of All the prophets, which was shed from the foundation of the workld, may be requed of this generation. For the blood of Abel unto the Blood of Zacharias” i.e., A-Z.

    So instead of telling me about frogs; could you at least tell me if I can use the N.W. Ordinance, Mayflower Compact, Title VII and 1978 Native American Indian Religion Protection and Preservation Act; if I can prove my employer refused to promote me because of my Religous, Ancestry, Gender and Ethics (RAGE) beliefs. Also in reference to the man made drugs and NIVs New Improved Versions of the Bible, I voluntarily sought psychiatric help. Unfortunately, most of the drs. I went to Dont Believe in God, Dont Believe in My God; or Think They are Gods, but none had a clue what Jesus meant; when he said Physician Heal Thyself.

    So instead of waiting for some Fat Lady to sing, I suggest you hearken to the voice of this Daughter as in Jer. 8:19 Behold the voice of the cry of the daughter of my people because of them that dwell in a far country; Is not the Lord in Zion? Is not Her King in Her? Why have they provoked me to anger with their graven images and with strange vanities? The harvest is past, the summer is ended and we are not saved. For the hurt of the daughter of my people am I hurt I am black astonishment hath taken hold on me.

    Yep thats Right; GOD is Fat and Black as Aunt Jemima grinning at US on the pancake box’ (Job: 42:14) whereas I more like Bell and Koonta Kinta’s duaghter Kizzi from the mini series Roots.In fact Our Momma is So Fat even Jesus Christ himself calls Her Our Fat Her who art in Heaven.

    Peace out

  188. By;ron:

    Why would you Assume that? I’m just a born sinner whose been whose been forgiven for my sinning; just like any other Christian. Jesus Christ saved a wretch like me from a Terrible Fate. I heard told that We All Fall short of the Glory of God. Well actually I took a Dive and could have been a real contender and thats why when God sent me to try and tempt him in the wilderness, to told me to get behind him. So you really should have been expecting Satan to show up. The Death of Jesus upon the cross Defeated me and put a big stake in my heart. So he Cast me into a Bed, Healed Me and told me to play dead for about 1000 years. Then one day he came as a thief in the night and we eloped.

    So I already told you; Im just a Plain American Indian Negro and Assimilated Christian woman, who was Chose to come forth in the name of the Lord.

    So my job is Three fold; although I am your fellow servant I also have to Warn You To Repent; Collect His Rent and send out the invitations to a Weeding and Wedding designed to End All Time. I Promise it Will Be To Die For!

    Jesus just figured; the best way for Him to get the Word out was to Tell A Woman she’s getting married to the King of Kings. So His Black Widow Spyder decided to tell My Angel Lou, Oprah and You using the World Wide Web. So you can write me down in History with your Bitter Twisted Lies; You can trode me into the very dirt; but like Dust Still I Rise. I also know why the cage bird sings. So I sing because I’m Happy and I Sing Because I’m Free, cause His eye is on the sparrow, I know he watches me. So to quote a well known Republican and King alls I can say is this

    Free At Last; Free At Last; THANK GOD ALMIGHTY, I was Born Free, Black and Last. Especially since it the Last who shall be First to Inherit the Kingdom.

    Peace out

  189. While I wholeheartedly agree with Professor Turley’s statement that a good part of the problem with our current political landscape is a two-party system, I wholeheartedly disagree with him that money isn’t the larger problem; it is a HUGE problem.

    Giving corporations,whether they be for-profit, non-profit, or unions, the same protections as individual citizens goes against everything the Framers stood for; I hardly think they would be in favor of equating corporations, with seemingly endless coffers, with the people, most of whom have limited coffers.

    SCOTUS disregarded years of legal precedent with this ruling, which, in my mind, is a true miscarriage of justice. This decision reeks of judicial activism, the very thing the majority claims to abhor.

  190. […] Jonathan Turley then bats clean up on this one: The ruling went down the ideological line with Justice Anthony Kennedy giving the majority the fifth vote and then writing the opinion. He stressed that “[o]ur nation’s speech dynamic is changing, and informative voices should not have to circumvent onerous restrictions to exercise their First Amendment rights.” That is the sentiment that motivated another of civil libertarians and free amendment advocates to support the conservative litigants. This is a case that split the free speech community with the ACLU and free speech advocates like Floyd Abrams supporting the conservative filmmakers in this case. […]

  191. When I think about the corporations being able to spend freely, and without limit, I wonder what influence they will have.

    Technically, it is still the individually registered voter that makes his or her way to the polling place and punches or ex-es a ballot, that puts people in office.

    A corporation can try to influence you with propaganda and ads. But they cannot vote for you.

    So, the fear of influence by the money spent by the corporations – regardless of the free speech arguments – doesn’t seem valid.

    An intelligent, competently critically thinking country of voters should be able to wade through all of the political ads and propaganda, make up their own minds, and cast their ballots in a way that would be beneficial to the country.

    THAT SAID… In my humble opinion, many of this country’s voters may not be able to boast of being intelligent or capable of good critcal thinking or reason.

    But we cannot legislate intelligence. Should we go back to the days of only allowing the white, male, landed gentry to vote? Of course not.

    This country is supposed to be one man (woman) one vote.

    And if many of the voters refuse to do their homework; watch their slanted cable news programs and get brainwahsed with its talking points; and care more about the Home Shopping Network than C-Span, we cannot stop them.

    Intelligence, a world view, and the ability to critically think is subjective, and not subject to legislation.

    As a dislaimer, I too, believe, that the Supreme Court ruling… well… sucks. I am very concerned about the upcoming elections – especially the votes cast by those who were postive that a Public Option was going to kill grandma.

    I am not educated in Law, so I’m trying to understand the issue of a corporation being treated as a person. That does not make sense, as the people that MAKE UP that corporation ALREADY HAVE the rights of all individuals (like me) – and so I see no reason for a constitutional standing of a corporation. Obviously I’m missing something.

    I have also not heard if individual donations will also be unlimited… or was the ruling strictly for corporations. And if that is so, are coproations not now “more equal” than I am?

    Thank you for this website. I enjoy Mr. Turley’s appearences on MSNBC. His exacting commentary reminds me of Sam and Toby going at it on West Wing… Sam being the Letter of the Law, and Toby being the Spirit of the Law.

  192. Mespo: “Not sure what you meant by “ring and run” with respect to the Bellotti case, but Justice Lewis Powell (writing for the majority) clearly says that corporations have free speech rights both for their benefit and the benefit of the public at large”

    I’m well aware of the holding in Bellotti, and I did point out that the ‘rights incidental’ arguments, with which I agree, were from the dissent. But the point you continually gloss over, as did the Court in an unabashed display of hypocrisy and judicial activism

    to wit: http://articles.latimes.com/2010/jan/22/opinion/la-oe-chemerinsky22-2010jan22

    was this point made clear by the Bellotti court:

    “our consideration of a corporation’s right to speak on issues of general public interest implies no comparable right in the quite different context of participation in a political campaign for election to public office. Congress might well be able to demonstrate the existence of a danger of real or apparent corruption in independent expenditures by corporations to influence candidate elections.” (Bellotti, 435 U. S. 765, 787, n26 (1978)

    People like you & Glenn Greenwald, et. al., pat yourselves on the head by making the hasty generalization that prior decisions recognizing CERTAIN corporate first amendment rights somehow necessitates FULL first amendment rights for corporations.

    However, people like me, and as I suspected Mike Appleton, question your reasoning. For example, if we asked you to, metaphorically speaking, how shall we say, run a title search on both the rights of the individual and the rights of corporations to confirm the alleged equality between the two, as fallaciously alluded to in Santa Clara & progeny, your desire to maintain that your resolution is correct would tempt you into acts of intellectual dishonesty.

    As I and Mike pointed out, corporations have no inalienable rights. And why is that important? Because making the social compact non-illusory necessitates the existence of inalienable rights. And the last I checked, in that great equation stating that rights confer power, not vice versa, corporations were never included in the set of ‘beings endowed by their creator’ with all rights. IOW, the argument that corporations fall under the protection of the 14th amendment, that corporations have rights in the same way as individuals do, necessitates the contradiction of social compact established here between individuals and the state. Your argument necessitates the contradictory theory that rights are conferred by the constitution upon people and corporations ‘equally.’ You don’t get any more ‘Un-American than that.

    Therefore Mespo, that’s why I cited the dissent’s ‘rights incidental’ argument as being correct; notwithstanding the majority’s oversight.

  193. So therefore JT, Bob Esq.and Mike;

    If A Pain ND Ass such as myself comes forth; asking the USSC for saftey and protection for Native American Indian Religion As Christians; Would Tiitle VII Cover, a Gender of People denied a vote, choice or decent respect against People like “The Freedom From Religion Foundation, et.al. V. The Congress of the US of America Civ. # 07356(SM) Many prominent republicans named ie., Mike Pence, Joe Wilson, Marsha Blackburn, Jeb Hensarling said they are for the Protection of the words “UNDER GOD” in the Pledge of Alliance, along with so many other including our Nation’s Motto “In God We Trust”.

    Well I sure as Hell need protection from those who dont believe in GOD such as Corporations and Congressmen given all power to make laws and wars but Defraud We the People with claims they know GODs name but just use it constanly in vain. Really what the Supreme Court Did is a Shame Before GOD, and We The People.

    Peace out

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