The U.S. Supreme Court: Brought to you by …

Posted on January 22, 2010

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The United States Supreme Court decided Thursday, by a 5-4 ruling, that corporations are no longer limited in how much money they can give to political campaigns.  And it was a new or novel decision. They just overruled and reversed a Supreme Court ruling from nearly 30 years ago. Citing “freedom of speech” rights, the Court ruled that corporations — including unions – are no longer restricted or prohibited from giving as much money as they want to whatever candidate suits their agenda.

The U.S. Supreme Court now maintains that corporations have exactly the same personal rights and liberties as individuals have.  As expected, the reverse isn’t true.

How interesting that this reversal of a decades-old prior court ruling should come just as union officials are outraged over President Barack Obama’s stated intention to limit union and corporate influence on elections and elected officials, beginning with the ill-fated “health care reform” bill.

With the growing abuse of the filibuster and “political theater”; the Democrats’ failure (either through the lack of will or the lack of competence) to take the adamant actions necessary to fix the economy and regain the public trust; with the airwaves and cable television increasingly dominated by demagogic fact-skewing loudmouths; and with the ever-growing influence of corporate money on Congress and public opinion, what hope do we have as a nation? As a people?  Even, as a concept?

The United States, with all of its great power and potential, is becoming increasingly ungovernable, increasingly in the hands of the myopic, and the greedy, and the ever-amplifying voices of ignorance.

Aside from its sheer partisanship, this decision is arguably the most naked act of judicial activism in our history. This court — of its own accord — decided an issue that had not been raised by the parties challenging the law, and which had not been raised as an argument of the people. This decision must be prompted by what one can only assume was corporate pressure. Why else would the highest court in the land suddenly and without notable deliberation, reverse a decision that even the arch conservatives William Rehnquist and Byron White had supported 20 years ago and which had just been re-affirmed in 2004?

After this blatant pandering to corporate interests, I should never again hear another word from conservatives about how “liberal” judges are activist. With this act, the Roberts court is more “activist” in overturning acts of our democratic branches of government and overturning long-standing precedent — than even the Warren Court. And when you complain that Congress is dominated by money, greed and power, you now know the reason.

Where in Article III does it say that the Supreme Court can declare acts of Congress to be unconstitutional, especially in light of the 10th Amendment?  Marbury vs. Madison — the first time the Supreme Court ever declared something “unconstitutional” — set in motion the slow destruction of our liberties and the dismantling of democracy because it took power from the people en masse and gave it to a small, politically motivated group of people who are in the position to effect changes without the consent or counsel of the American people.

Opposing the overruling were Justices John Paul Stevens (appointed by George W. Bush), Ruth Bader Ginsburg (appointed by Bill Clinton), Stephen Breyer (appointed by Bill Clinton) and Sonia Sotomayor (appointed by Barack Obama).

Supporting the overruling were Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. (appointed by George H.W. Bush), and justices Samuel A. Alito Jr. (appointed by George W. Bush), Clarence Thomas (appointed by George H.W. Bush), Antonin Scalia (appointed by Ronald Reagan), Anthony M. Kennedy (appointed by Ronald Reagan).

Imagine that:  A decision favoring corporate America that splits right down the stereotypical party lines, with only Justice Stevens being the lone “wildcat” (or is “rogue” the preferred term these days?).

A corporation is not an individual. A corporation is a group of like-minded people (these days a federally subsidized group of like-minded people) who unite to advance a profit-based agenda. PEOPLE vote, not corporations. And it is PEOPLE who need to understand the unabashed leniency and permission this decision gives with regard to corporate spending for — or against — the PEOPLE’S interests.

Think of it this way:  What happens when we find out that Corporation-X donates a large amount of cash to a particular candidate’s campaign, but that corporation has not yet repaid the federal tax dollars it received via TARP?  Without equivocation, that corporation has just diverted our tax dollars to the candidate that the corporation wants in power. As a result of this ruling, corporations can now buy candidates (and subsequently the offices to which they’re elected) and use OUR money to buy them.

There is no line you can draw between the right to free speech of corporations vs. individuals that will not ultimately disadvantage the individual.

It is time to revisit the absurd idea that corporations should have any of the rights of individuals. Clearly those rights are being “interpreted” to the point of lunacy.

I think it is time to change our legislature wholesale both House and Senate. Throw them all out and literally start from scratch, because the machine is irreparably broken.  It can’t be fixed. It’s warranty has expired. It’s simply time to get a new machine.

I have read recently that we, as a nation, have lost the perception (and the insistence) of politicians as public servants. What we have now are career politicians who will do whatever it takes to further their career, retain their power, and fatten their personal bank accounts. This ruling will help them continue to do that, but it is just another step along the long, destructive path we have been treading for some time.

Decisions like this, in times like these, are how revolutions begin and how nations crumble.

If you listen carefully, you can hear Nero fiddling.

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