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Thursday, September 29, 2016

After enduring two years of relentless criticism and satire, could Citizens United, the case responsible more than any other for channeling unlimited donations into political campaigns, be argued again before the U.S, Supreme Court?

That’s the possibility raised by the Court blocking on Friday a Montana law banning most corporate donations in state races. Two Supreme Court justices have now urged their colleagues to revisit the broader constitutional questions in the era of Sheldon Adelson, Restore Our Future, Foster Friess, and Stephen Colbert:

In Friday’s order, Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen G. Breyer said the upheaval in the world of campaign finance since the Citizens United decision does not bear out the majority opinion.

“Montana’s experience, and experience elsewhere since this court’s decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, make it exceedingly difficult to maintain that independent expenditures by corporations ‘do not give rise to corruption or the appearance of corruption,’ ” Ginsburg wrote.

“A petition for certiorari [from those challenging the Montana court’s decision] will give the court an opportunity to consider whether, in light of the huge sums currently deployed to buy candidates’ allegiance, Citizens United should continue to hold sway.”

 

We’ll have our own analysis of the prospects for reversal — and what reversal would actually mean for the organizations making headlines in this race — soon, but for the moment, suffice it to say the Court’s rulings are now only more likely to be on the minds of the public come November. Campaign finance reform is in fact a salient issue with voters, and should the president wish, he could make a play for their votes much the way he did in 2008: by decrying the sordid interests funding his enemies. Indeed, his first major TV ad campaign suggests he’ll do just that.

 

  • Artful

    I long ago lost any illusions that the Supremes will ever be able to regain their independence and their essential honesty. Justice Scalia has wrecked their reputation for good, and Roberts, Alito, and Thomas seem committed to destroying what is left.

  • ThiloUllmann-Zahn

    Campaign finance is the clearest demonstration of the shortcomings of the Adam Smith’s “invisible hand” cult. It smells more of Gresham’s law, where bad money crowds out the good. I can understand that Congress is loath to shed the fat checks that ensure their very comfortable livelyhood, but someone should be belling this cat, before it devours what is left of our democarcy.

  • caylajhc

    What a major disgrace the Supreme Court has become because of its Republican members. It’s hard to believe the things they have been up to and doing these last 10 years. They shouldn’t even be allowed to be judges in some small city court, they’re so biased any obviously influenced by big money. What happened? Oh yea, I remember now. Greed. Somehow we should be able to kick the worthless buffoons out.

  • Frank3

    Justice must not only be done but appear to be done. If you want to experience the difference in which people rationalize matters listen to our politicians. I have never come across a more analytically impaired group who make decisions impacting our lives. The are supposed to be three arms of Government but right now we can only recognize two. Also, the people who speak loudest about upholding our Constitution are the ones who support the supremacy of the rich. Are we still a bastion of Democracy?

  • ceskmost

    I have tried to instill in my children concern for the less fortunate by donating to Amnesty International, One World Health, Open Door Mission, Christian Appalachia Project etc. My children are so disillusioned by corporate and personal greed of others that they are saying that they won’t bother to vote in the next election because of the influence of PACs and Super-PACs big dollars buying candidates! They are all their 40s so they are not teenagers who might be easily influenced!

  • lane leard

    If the supreme court justices aren’t bought off they certainly give that impression,
    including their decision re Bush’s election as well as the fiasco of citizens united.
    Add to this Scalia’s and Thomas’ actions and circumstancial evidence would certainly
    convict them in any reasonable courtroom. Thomas should be removed as should Scalia
    and probably the rest of them if we knew the facts.

  • PatrickHenry

    Looks like the Democrats are afraid of the competition when it comes to raising money! National Unions and George Soros can donate huge sums of money, but when corporations donate to the Republican Party, (and the Democrat Party as well) they cry foul. Justice Ginsburg is the one that should go, she told a foreign leader that she doesn’t think our Constitution is a good model, when she is sworn to uphold it! Kagen had to recluse herself because she had conflict of interests in Obamacare, and didn’t Sotomayor say Hispanics were better than Whites in some things? Justices are supposed to follow the Constitutionality of any Laws, NOT legislate from the bench, and that goes for any Justice!

  • wayne c

    After the egregious decisions this bunch has rendered over the last decade, it has certainly jaded me toward our justice system. Their insistence on rewriting our constitution to fit the far right’s ideology and agenda is a total disgrace, God help us all and God bless the United States.

  • hgltraveling

    For a US Supreme Court Justice to aptly criticise our constitution is heroic and a move that should earn her sainthood. Only those who have not read our constitution word for word and have not read those constitutions more effectively drafted by other countries would beleive otherwise. Our constitution was crafted in an era where there were no TV’s, Computers, Internet Access, etc. Our founding fathers could not have anticipated these technological advances and therefore failed to take into account modern day opportunities for corruption that require our constitution to be revisited and revised. Only myopic attorneys -who seek to abuse the intent of our laws– hold fast to legal details in our constitution that are clearly outdated and have outlived their usefulness and propriety. We desperately need LEGAL REFORM and more courageous Supreme Court justices like Ginsburg to move this country forward towards greater equality for all; election law reforms that preclude corrupt influences and allow each and every American Citizen to truly have an equal say in how our government is run and who gets elected to represent their interests. Laws against gerrymandering and manipulation of geographical boundaries to favor one party over the other, have to be enacted. As long as our legislators are beholden to self-serving and despicable men like Grover Norquist who –according to our current laws– was within his rights to “buy legislator’s allegiance to his self-serving agenda” , our purported democratic country is defrauding not only the American Public, but the world. We must update and make appropriate changes to our Constitution and it’s amendments as well as conflicting State laws, taking into account the intent of our forefathers in light of modern day technological advances.Antiquated Laws that drag down the original intent of our forefathers –to create a union of States that give citizens equal rights under our laws, regardless of the economic prowess, must be changed.
    Laws must be created to prevent people like Grover Norquist, who has coerced and manipulated republican legislators now beholden to a self-serving “contract” precluding them from voting for legislation that includes tax hikes for the wealthy, from acting an a manner tantamount to treason, election fraud and other criminal causes of action. People who use and abuse our antiquated laws for their own corrupt self-interest must be tried and imprisoned for their “ethical lapses” and forced off the political radar and into the dungeons or back under the large dank rocks from whence they came. Citizen’s United was a bad decision [as history has borne out] facilitating and enabling political corruption and election fraud and needs to be revisited and overturned, yesterday.

  • zya

    @hgltraveling
    I LOVE YOU!!! Thanks so much for this post. Finally, someone who understands.

  • AlanAlanApurim

    . . . The Supreme Court mistake “Citizens United vs. F.E.C.” opened up corporate bribery of legislators! The solution: voters will initiate a Constitutional Convention (bypassing Congress) under Article V to pass amendments to curtail this flagrant corruption. Harry Braun proposes 21st-Century amendments at http://Braun2012.US/Amendments.html. . . . Study http://Braun2012.US for true solutions to the real problems facing our nation
, including changing the corrupt campaign-finance system. Harry Braun would bring real manufacturing jobs (creating renewable energy solar and turbine generators, converting vehicles to run on clean hydrogen as a fuel, which is not new technology) to employ millions of Americans, not menial service jobs that some Republican governors count as “creating jobs” in their state. A new electrical car typically costs $40,000, and they don’t tell you the batteries will need replacing in a few years (costing more thou$and$), whereas converting existing automobile gasoline engines to also burn hydrogen can be done for about $3,000 each (and it’s not new; hydrogen-fueled buses are common in Europe). There isn’t enough elementary material to make enough batteries for all present and future cars in the world (meaning there will be resource-control wars whether economic-trade or military, just as is done now for oil used as a fuel). Hydrogen needs no importation or drilling, does not pollute whatsoever, and is easily made from and converted back to water – all that is needed is cheap electricity made from wind, tidal, rivers or ocean currents, geothermal, etc.


    . . . Think outside the box, enter a new way of thinking! Start a Constitutional Amendment group and push for Real Systemic Changes as proposed by Harry Braun; the USA is NOT a democracy, it is a republic. See his amendments listed at https://Braun2012.US/Amendments.html

  • DorisV

    Many human beings have been upset since the court ruled that corporations are “persons”. This is one of the worst court rulings of all times. I am very disgusted with it and would love to see it overturned. Yes, it sure seems that some of the justices have been bought just as elected politicians have been for a long time.

  • Sine

    Of course the Supremes are talking about reconsidering the decision: the Republicans are already slaughtering one another so badly in the primaries that whoever emerges from the demolition derby might be unelectable. This thanks to their respective “super PACS”, those Frankenstein monsters of which (or of whom?) they had been so fond only a year ago. It didn’t take long for the disastrous effect of this decision to become manifest, did it. I don’t suppose that if the Democrats were the ones being bloodied, anyone in the court majority would give it a second thought Couldn’t have happened to a nicer bunch.

  • dlgreen

    The Declaration of Independence says we are all created equal, but if corporations are people and you incorporate, that makes you two people; and we are no longer equal. If the airwaves are public property, then we are no longer equal when access is determined by wealth. The concept that corporations are people comes from English Common Law – not the Constitution. The founding fathers specifically rejected English Law in favor of the common sense of a jury of your peers. Having endured the persecution of the English and Dutch corporate trading cartels, I doubt their failure to include corporations was and oversight. Citizens United has no foundation in the Constitution or American History.