Thursday, January 28, 2010

Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission

Last week the Supreme Court overturned a rule that prohibit corporations from spending money on political campaigns in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. It was a 5-4 decision with Justices Roberts, Scalia, Thomas, Alito, and Kennedy in the majority and Justices Stevens, Ginsburg, Breyer, and Sotomayor in the decent.

The Cato institute explains what the rule had meant.

Video embedded below.

Obama is vehemently apposed to the decision calling on Congress to overturn it legislatively. I agree with the Cato Institute. The Court made the correct decisions and struck a blow in favor of free speech.

"President Obama ordered his aides on Thursday “to get to work immediately with Congress” to develop “a forceful response” to the Supreme Court’s ruling in the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission case. In a statement, the President denounced the decision, saying it “has given a green light to a new stampede of special interest money in our politics.” It was obvious, therefore, that he was interested in working with Congress to overturn the decision, or at least to narrow it significantly.

Unless he has in mind an amendment to the Constitution, however, it is most unclear at this point whether the lawmakers could do anything — or much of anything — to cut down on “special interest money” in American politics. This was a constitutional decision, laying down (essentially for the first time), a sweeping free-speech right in politics for “special interest” bodies of all types with the concept of “speech” clearly embracing spending money to influence election outcomes. If individuals have considerable freedom to express themselves politically, corporations, labor unions, and other “special interest” entities now do, too.

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