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No, Obama is politicizing the decision. Big difference.

Roe v. Wade hasn't been politicized? EVER?

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Sure it has. So condemn the action in one instance, but defend it in another?

I am not really sure what you are saying. Personally, I am not that twisted up over what Alito said, and personally, I hope the recent decision becomes a rallying point to force real campaign finance reform and raises awareness of the pervasive and corrupting effect corporate money has (and will increasingly have) on politics.

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Especially when, based on a justice's reaction, it's clear the decision is political.

 

if it's so abundantly clear that the Supreme Court's decision was purely political--as opposed to a decision based upon interpretation of constitutional law--please tell me (or offer a list of) which candidates and/or sitting politicians benefit directly from the ruling.

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if it's so abundantly clear that the Supreme Court's decision was purely political--as opposed to a decision based upon interpretation of constitutional law--please tell me (or offer a list of) which candidates and/or sitting politicians benefit directly from the ruling.

Really?

 

Well, obviously this decision allows corporations with mammoth funds to, without limit, promote candidates who favor their business interests and promote defeat of those who do not. Those candidates who typically favor the interests of big corporations, such as oil, banks, and health insurance are . . . Reeeepublicans. So, Republicans would benefit directly from this ruling. This would apply not only to the largest and wealthiest corporations, but also to those with more localized, modest interests.

 

That is the simple answer to your question. But, that is not necessarily why I characterize this as a political decision. For me, the decision is politically driven more as a result of the process by which it was made than the impact it will ultimately render.

 

This decision was issued by a majority that has, despite proclamations of judicial restraint, taken an activist approach to overturning any consumer rights cases in its path. They have had an agenda. And their agenda has outweighed any adherence to judicial restraint or reluctance to overrule settled precedent. Having an agenda eliminates any presence of impartiality. Without impartiality, the court becomes political.

 

Take for example, the decision of Citizens United v Federal Election Commission! Before the court was the issue of whether the McCain-Feingold Act could bar the broadcast of a politically driven documentary about a presidential candidate by cable companies on an on-demand basis. Rather than rule on the narrow grounds presented and hold that the on-demand broadcasts were not susceptible to the Act, or that documentaries were not addressed by the Act, this court, two months after hearing the initial arguments, took the unnecessary step of expanding the issues and ordered the parties to brief whether the court should overrule the Austin and McConnell cases. Cases that really had nothing to do with whether the documentary fell under the cited act; but cases restricting corporations from funding campaigns outside the use of allowed Political Action Committees. Apparently, the promotion of corporate interests by funding candidates through PACs was not enough for this court. It has an agenda and took this opportunity to further its agenda rather than adhere to its pose of judicial restraint. Thus, the court took a political approach in its review of the case.

 

And, to further this view, Alito, by engaging in theatrics when Obama voiced his objections to the decision, waived any hint of impartiality and became defensive, showing it was personal and, as such, political.

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And, to further this view, Alito, by engaging in theatrics when Obama voiced his objections to the decision engaged in theatrics, waived any hint of impartiality and became defensive, showing it was personal and, as such, political.

 

Is he supposed to be impartial with respect to his own decisions?

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Well, obviously this decision allows corporations with mammoth funds to, without limit, promote candidates who favor their business interests and promote defeat of those who do not. Those candidates who typically favor the interests of big corporations, such as oil, banks, and health insurance are . . . Reeeepublicans. So, Republicans would benefit directly from this ruling. This would apply not only to the largest and wealthiest corporations, but also to those with more localized, modest interests.

 

That is the simple answer to your question. But, that is not necessarily why I characterize this as a political decision. For me, the decision is politically driven more as a result of the process by which it was made than the impact it will ultimately render.

 

This decision was issued by a majority that has, despite proclamations of judicial restraint, taken an activist approach to overturning any consumer rights cases in its path. They have had an agenda. And their agenda has outweighed any adherence to judicial restraint or reluctance to overrule settled precedent. Having an agenda eliminates any presence of impartiality. Without impartiality, the court becomes political.

 

Take for example, the decision of Citizens United v Federal Election Commission! Before the court was the issue of whether the McCain-Feingold Act could bar the broadcast of a politically driven documentary about a presidential candidate by cable companies on an on-demand basis. Rather than rule on the narrow grounds presented and hold that the on-demand broadcasts were not susceptible to the Act, or that documentaries were not addressed by the Act, this court, two months after hearing the initial arguments, took the unnecessary step of expanding the issues and ordered the parties to brief whether the court should overrule the Austin and McConnell cases. Cases that really had nothing to do with whether the documentary fell under the cited act; but cases restricting corporations from funding campaigns outside the use of allowed Political Action Committees. Apparently, the promotion of corporate interests by funding candidates through PACs was not enough for this court. It has an agenda and took this opportunity to further its agenda rather than adhere to its pose of judicial restraint. Thus, the court took a political approach in its review of the case.

 

And, to further this view, Alito, by engaging in theatrics when Obama voiced his objections to the decision, waived any hint of impartiality and became defensive, showing it was personal and, as such, political.

 

I 100% agree that the Court's reasoning for not issuing a narrower ruling was pretty weak, but I think the "agenda" of the decision's majority is to stick to their beliefs about the constitution, not to effect an outcome for a political party. I think the overturned cases were wrong to begin with, and I think the ruling here is the correct one--for now--although I think (as expressed above) that eventually facts may emerge which establish a compelling enough interest to curb corporate speech vis-a-vis electionering communications.

 

I know the big bad corporations are always evil on this board, but they typically back both sides of the aisle in elections, and until there's data establishing that this type of corporate speech results in influencing elections in a harmful manner, I think the court should err on the side of more, not less speech.

 

My view on this would be the same regardless of which party might be helped by the ruling--and while your guess as to whom the ruling will benefit will probably be unanimously embraced by this board, (and may very well turn out to be accurate) at this point it's still a guess.

 

Obama could have very easily and tactfully expressed his feelings about corporate speech in the election arena without making such a pointed attack on the decision, and I think the much ado being made about alito's reaction is silly.

 

And while I disagree with some of your opinions, thanks for such a well-reasoned and thoughtful post, Leo. They are all too lacking in these threads.

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Obama could have very easily and tactfully expressed his feelings about corporate speech in the election arena without making such a pointed attack on the decision, and I think the much ado being made about alito's reaction is silly.

 

 

As I am not an attorney, my opinion on Constitutional law is irrelevant. As a citizen however I am very concerned about the implications of this decision. I want this on the forefront of Americans' minds.

 

The court was called out, and Alito responded in a way that hinted at allegiance. It was a dramatic moment.

Americans forget about things unless there is drama attached. Silly? Perhaps. But that drama revived this thread and hopefully put the spotlight back on the questionable decision rendered by this court.

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As I am not an attorney, my opinion on Constitutional law is irrelevant. As a citizen however I am very concerned about the implications of this decision. I want this on the forefront of Americans' minds.

 

The court was called out, and Alito responded in a way that hinted at allegiance. It was a dramatic moment.

Americans forget about things unless there is drama attached. Silly? Perhaps. But that drama revived this thread and hopefully put the spotlight back on the questionable decision rendered by this court.

The Court decided issues of constitutional law, not right or wrong. I understand your concerns, but the Court's one and only job is to interpret laws and their allegiance to our Constitution.

 

Alito responded in a way that hinted at allegiance to what? His own decision? I see nothing wrong with this. It may have been a breach of etiquette, but it could have been avoided if President Obama truly showed deference to separation of powers and saved his criticism for the decision for a speech that didn't have the members of the Court sitting 20 feet away from him while they were surrounded by a group of people who would stand in approval of his words against them.

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The Court decided issues of constitutional law, not right or wrong. I understand your concerns, but the Court's one and only job is to interpret laws and their allegiance to our Constitution.

 

 

 

I made no mention of it being "right or wrong."

 

If this case was as clear cut an interpretation of the constitution as you're positing here, it would have been a unanimous vote.

 

When the evolution of law begins with a questionable premise, in this case the personhood of a corporation, all that arises from that is going to be somewhat bent.* Some would say that the definition of personhood is the crux of the Roe v Wade debate as well.

 

 

Alito responded in a way that hinted at allegiance to what? His own decision? I see nothing wrong with this. It may have been a breach of etiquette, but it could have been avoided if President Obama truly showed deference to separation of powers and saved his criticism for the decision for a speech that didn't have the members of the Court sitting 20 feet away from him while they were surrounded by a group of people who would stand in approval of his words against them.

 

Leo made the logical progression better than I could:

 

 

 

Apparently, the promotion of corporate interests by funding candidates through PACs was not enough for this court. It has an agenda and took this opportunity to further its agenda rather than adhere to its pose of judicial restraint. Thus, the court took a political approach in its review of the case.

 

waived any hint of impartiality and became defensive, showing it was personal and, as such, political.

 

Again, I am not in a twist about the drama that played out in the SOTU address, I'm thankful for it. In fact I thought it was particularly awesome. For the furthering the dialogue, and for pulling aside the curtain revealing the true identity of the judge standing behind it.

 

 

* Edited to add: The Oxford English Dictionary defines corporation as a group of people

authorized to act as an individual. I guess that is the legal definition as well?

 

Yet...

 

These influences came together in the body of canon law built

around the conception of the church as corporate structure in the

Middle Ages. Different theories of the church as corporate body

were favored by different individuals but all agreed on one key

component: that the church was more than just its members and

could maintain an existence perpetually, regardless of the death of

any individual member.

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I know this point gets lost in some of the discussion, because of how the big for-profits are going to rig all elections to kill puppies, etc., but this decision also opens the way for non-profits and other corporate groups to put up ads for candidates they think will do good in the world. Which points out that in the end most want this type of speech restricted for its content (i.e. the for-profit backing of candidates is bad, but the non-profit backing of candidates may be good)--which is what our government is not supposed to do unless there is actual evidence of a compelling interest in restricting the speech. I didn't say that very well but maybe my point still came through.

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I know this point gets lost in some of the discussion, because of how the big for-profits are going to rig all elections to kill puppies, etc., but this decision also opens the way for non-profits and other corporate groups to put up ads for candidates they think will do good in the world. Which points out that in the end most want this type of speech restricted for its content (i.e. the for-profit backing of candidates is bad, but the non-profit backing of candidates may be good)--which is what our government is not supposed to do unless there is actual evidence of a compelling interest in restricting the speech. I didn't say that very well but maybe my point still came through.

It did, but omits the fact that for-profits have a lot more money to throw around, so any sort of balancing effect will not, in my estimation, be observed.

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It did, but omits the fact that for-profits have a lot more money to throw around, so any sort of balancing effect will not, in my estimation, be observed.

 

but we aren't supposed to be in the business of prohibiting speech based on its content. just because for-profits may make MORE speech or better-looking speech than non-profits (or more for repubs than for dems) is not a good enough excuse, on its face, to deny corporations the right to speak in political matters.

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but we aren't supposed to be in the business of prohibiting speech based on its content. just because for-profits may make MORE speech or better-looking speech than non-profits (or more for repubs than for dems) is not a good enough excuse, on its face, to deny corporations the right to speak in political matters.

That's the deontological approach. I am taking the utilitarian approach, saying that in this case, the potential for abuse and bad things happening if one stays to the moral absolute of allowing any person or personlike entity unfettered donation powers is so great, the absolute should not be held to.

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That's the deontological approach. I am taking the utilitarian approach, saying that in this case, the potential for abuse and bad things happening if one stays to the moral absolute of allowing any person or personlike entity unfettered donation powers is so great, the absolute should not be held to.

 

but this case has nothing to do with donation powers to candidates--it struck the ban on entities making ads that are candidate-specific (did I misread what you were saying?).

 

the court can't just restrict speech because it suspects that the speech might lead to a problem. a demonstrable harm must be shown that is compelling enough to limit the right to free speech.

 

again, I know that people don't want to see for-profits making ads in support of republican candidates whose views they don't agree with, but that is not a good enough excuse to prevent every entity from being able to make ads in support of or in opposition to political candidates--unless and until there is hard data showing that said ads are corrupting the political process in a manner egregious enough to warrant restricting said speech.

 

we don't restrict the amount of money that a billionaire can contribute to a political campaign based on the party affiliation of the recipient (i.e. the content of the speech), we restrict the amount of money because there is evidence of quid-pro-quo corruption in said circumstances.

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but this case has nothing to do with donation powers to candidates--it struck the ban on entities making ads that are candidate-specific (did I misread what you were saying?).

 

the court can't just restrict speech because it suspects that the speech might lead to a problem. a demonstrable harm must be shown that is compelling enough to limit the right to free speech.

 

again, I know that people don't want to see for-profits making ads in support of republican candidates whose views they don't agree with, but that is not a good enough excuse to prevent every entity from being able to make ads in support of or in opposition to political candidates--unless and until there is hard data showing that said ads are corrupting the political process in a manner egregious enough to warrant restricting said speech.

 

we don't restrict the amount of money that a billionaire can contribute to a political campaign based on the party affiliation of the recipient (i.e. the content of the speech), we restrict the amount of money because there is evidence of quid-pro-quo corruption in said circumstances.

I see your point, and you see it from a perspective that I can't. A panelist on Bill Moyers, Monica Youn, the other night had this to say: "“The marketplace of ideas doesn’t give anyone, any corporation or any individual, the right to buy an election. The First Amendment is an important part of our Constitution, but so is the idea that this is a democracy. This is a society based on the idea of one person – one vote, and our elections should not be marketplaces. They should be about voters. They should be about helping the electorate make an informed decision, and the electorate is not going to be able to make an informed decision if all they can see on the air, hear on the radio, are attacks ads funded by hidden corporate agendas... There’s a reason our Constitution was set up the way it was, and there’s a reason you can’t buy an election, because we didn’t intend for those who have the most money just to be able to get everything in the system the way they want it every time.”

 

Which I agree with. Then there's Glen Greenwald, who uses the u-word too, but from a different angle. “I’m deeply ambivalent about the court’s ruling... Even on a utilitarian level, the long-term dangers of allowing the Government to restrict political speech invariably outweigh whatever benefits accrue from such restrictions... The speech restrictions struck down by Citizens United do not only apply to Exxon and Halliburton; they also apply to non-profit advocacy corporations, such as, say, the ACLU and Planned Parenthood, as well as labor unions, which are genuinely burdened in their ability to express their views by these laws... Laws which prohibit organized groups of people – which is what corporations are – from expressing political views goes right to the heart of free speech guarantees no matter how the First Amendment is understood... The invalidated statute at issue here exempted media corporations – such as Fox and MSNBC – from these restrictions, since the government obviously can’t ban media figures from going on television and opining about elections (the way they do all other corporations)... It allowed the views of News Corp., GE, and Viacom to flourish (through their ownership of media outlets) while preventing the ACLU and Planned Parenthood from speaking out.”

 

From Dan Barton's perspective: "It's like opening a newspaper on Sept. 2, 1939, and saying, 'Hey, it'll be OK. The Poles have guns, too, just like the Germans.'"

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