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WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that corporations may spend as freely as they like to support or oppose candidates for president and Congress, easing decades-old limits on business efforts to influence federal campaigns.
Strongly disagreeing, Justice John Paul Stevens said in his dissent, "The court's ruling threatens to undermine the integrity of elected institutions around the nation."
By a 5-4 vote, the court overturned two of its own decisions as well as the decades-old law that said companies and labor unions can be prohibited from using money from their general treasuries to produce and run their own campaign ads. The decision threatens similar limits imposed by 24 states.
It leaves in place a prohibition on direct contributions to candidates from corporations and unions.
Originally posted by kosmicjack
People are outraged. Let's harness it.
In the context of election to public office, the distinction between corporate and human speakers is significant. Although they make enormous contributions to our society, corporations are not actually members of it. They cannot vote or run for office. Because they may be managed and controlled by nonresidents, their interests may conflict in fundamental respects with the interests of eligible voters. The financial resources, legal structure,and instrumental orientation of corporations raise legitimate concerns about their role in the electoral process. Our lawmakers have a compelling constitutional basis, if not also a democratic duty, to take measures designed to guard against the potentially deleterious effects of corporate spending in local and national races.
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. 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."
See Letter from Thomas Jefferson to Tom Logan (Nov. 12, 1816), in 12 The Works of Thomas Jefferson 42, 44 (P. Ford ed. 1905) ("I hope we shall . . . crush in [its] birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength and bid defiance to the laws of our country").
The majority declares by fiat that the appearance of undue influence by high-spending corporations "will not cause the electorate to lose faith in our democracy." The electorate itself has consistently indicated otherwise, both in opinion poll ... and in the laws its representatives have passed, and our colleagues have no basis for elevating their own optimism into a tenet of constitutional law.
Originally posted by anon72
Hooray for the Supreme Court. They stayed the course of it's responsibilities. It upheld the US Constitution.
Now, there will/can be more transparentcy of the money going to these politicians-instead of hiding it by using PAC's and groups ran by George Soros and other left wing nuts.
About time this happened.
I find it VERY interesting that Justice Kennedy wrote the winning decision.