Friday, January 22, 2010

The Radicalism of the U.S. Supreme Court

It began with a coup d’etat: Bush v. Gore, in which the Court intervened to halt the Florida recount arguing that it was a violation of the Equal Protection clause and handing George W. Bush the election. That, by itself, was one of the most glaring examples of judicial activism of the kind liberals are always accused of but that conservatives like to practice.

It ends with a stunning decision reversing established law and electoral politics protections dating back to when Teddy Roosevelt warned of “malefactors of great wealth.” Or rather, the beginning of a new phase in which corporations, deemed to be persons with First Amendment rights of free speech, can freely spend as much as they like in support of candidates for president or Congress.

There is no group –- not the unions, not the Sierra club, not netroots activists such as MoveOn –- that has the overwhelming purchasing power of the corporations. We have seen it in action already, working its will in the halls of Congress, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce boasting of its power to “influence” the Massachusetts Senate race with its millions. Thanks to SCOTUS the corporations no longer need to find creative ways to sidestep electoral laws. Their capacity to buy elections and own politicians is now guaranteed.

If 2009 was the year of the lobbyist, 2010 looms as the year democracy ended in America.

1 comment:

I'm Not Ned said...

This one boggles my mind. The corporation already had full 1st amendment rights through the rights of it's individual shareholders and board members. They have free speech and they are the corporation. But in addition to that it ("it" being the ethereal entity that is a corporation) has and extra level of rights that the individual loses by setting foot on the corporations grounds. ???

The SCOTUS overreached the argument presented to them. It's as if I addressed the SC for a bias case against my employer and they found I was a gun owner so they ruled people can carry guns in the workplace without restriction. The justices used this case to create legislation and overturn existing legislation in a means that is beyond the scope of the case presented.

Second, if the corporation has the rights and responsibilities of the individual then corporations can no longer be "multi-national" and must opt for either US or other citizenship and will be subject to tariffs and taxes as such.

And there can be no wholly or partially owned subsidiaries because owning all or part of an individual is illegal. It's called slavery.

But it's not all bad. Now when corporations are assumed to be harming the US we can fly them off to Gitmo and torture them until they come clean and confess. All board members of the banks, pharma and health insurance can start lining up for their orange jump suits.