Citizens United Ruling Screws All Citizens

It’s hard to understate the potentially devastating impact of the Supreme Court’s decision in the Citizens United case yesterday.  Here’s Matthew’s take on it:

Without having read the entire 183 pages of the decision and the dissents, it appears to me that this decision overturns Rhode Island’s current ban on the use of corporate dollars in a state election.

In other words, the decision appears to make plausible the following scenario.

Textron could spend $500,000 on television ads that urge voters to vote for John Robitaille for Governor.

And the movie whose airing started it all:


3 thoughts on “Citizens United Ruling Screws All Citizens”

  1. I assume then, Durishin, that you’ll have no problem with foreign corporations running all the political ads they want. And if free speech is just free speech, then you also won’t have any problems with al-Quaeda running ads as well?

    Despite court rulings appearing to say differently, it’s only sensible that corporations are not people. Corporations are potentially deathless, guiltless, and free of the kind of pain, suffering, and fear and anxiety that real human beings feel. They also don’t experience the world in the same way we do. While it’s unlikely that a bank might run a red light, it might commit fraud. But the penalties applied to real-life criminals affect corporations differently. You can’t jail a corporation, and they don’t experience fines and punishments (even capital) the way people do.

    Corporations are made of people. Most of those people, in most of them, are also citizens. (Some are aliens who cannot vote.) In effect, executives get to vote twice. While their second vote is not a full vote, the total is still more than non-executive citizens get, when corporations get to run all the political ads they want, with no restrictions. I might also remind conservatives who think this is just dandy that by this ruling, the same advantage now also falls to labour unions, NGOs, and the like. We are looking at a future of political strongarming between the likes of Exxon and PETA, with the rest of us relegated to second-class spectators.

    The SCotUS vote fell along political lines, which tells you all you need to know about that. This is indeed our Dred Scott, in that political values of justices overtook more sober principles of democracy. A future court may find a way around this, though the political process to reach that may be fatally tainted from now on, and thus prevent it. Or maybe there will an Amendment. Don’t hold your breath on that one, especially now that those who stand to suffer from it have unlimited access to politicking.

    Many of us have long feared a day when corporate influence in government would tip over the edge and those with financial power would seize permanent political power. That day may have just arrived. Enjoy your Coke.

  2. So, then, we should let back room, undisclosed contributions and deal-making with lobbyists be the way campaigns are financed? I think not!

    Free speech is free speech and it should be allowed to roam free.

    But what we MUST do is go back to fully enforcing fair balance doctrines to make both M$NBC and Fox present both sides equally.

  3. And now the slow poisonous drip-drip of the Bush legacy as his court dismantles democracy. This, combined with the degraded condition of our press, really worries me.

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