Supreme Court Unleashes Corporate Campaign Cash In Citizen's United Decision

images5thumbnail1.thumbnail11The stunning and decisive loss by Martha Coakley to Scott Brown in the Massachusetts Senate special election has already caused a tsunami of fear among Democrats, and corresponding joy among Republicans, heading toward next fall’s midterm elections. If you think this is cause for concern for Democrats looking forward to the 2010 midterm elections, picture the scene if the Republican party were also able to benefit from removal of restrictions on corporate and financial industry cash infused into their electoral coffers heading into the midterms and 2012 Presidential election.

As I wrote back last August, the Supreme Court took very unusual steps in a case by the name of Citizens United v. FEC to craft a case – originally argued on separate grounds – into a vehicle to make a Supreme Court declaration on the constitutionality of campaign finance restrictions and regulations. As Adam Cohen of the New York Times put it:

If the ban is struck down, corporations may soon be writing large checks to the same elected officials whom they are asking to give them bailouts or to remove health-and-safety regulations from their factories or to insert customized loopholes into the tax code.

Citizens United v. FEC was originally argued on March 24, 2009; but subsequently noticed for re-argument on the new grounds involving the opening of corporate campaign contributions on September 9, 2009. The general consensus among the cognoscenti is that the Justices were leaning heavily toward blowing up the regulations and restrictions on corporate campaign contributions. For a complete blow by blow procedural and substantive history leading up to the decision, see Lyle Denniston’s SCOTUSWiki on this case.

Well, the decision in Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission is in and attached hereto. As you can see, it is a 5-4 split decision with Justice Kennedy writing the majority opinion. The decision below is reversed in part and affirmed in part, and the seminal case of Austin v, Michigan is hereby overruled as is that part of McConnell v. FEC which upheld the resitrictions on independent corporate expenditures. In dissent, and/or partial dissent is Justice Stevens, joined by Ginsburg, Sotomayor, and Breyer. Justice Thomas also filed an opinion concurring in part and dissenting in part.

Today’s decision in Citizens United v. FEC abolishes the previously settled distinction between corporate and individual expenditures in American elections and would appear to apply to state and local elections as well as Federal ones given that the Court recognizes such a First Amendment right. This is literally an earth shattering change in the lay of the land in campaign finance, and it will have ramifications in every way imaginable for the foreseeable future.

Quoting a very interested observer, Senator Russ Feingold, he of McCain-Feingold fame, John Nichols had this to say in The Nation:

But U.S. Senator Russ Feingold, the Wisconsin Democrat who has been in the forefront of campaign-finance reform efforts for the better part of two decades, is worried.

“This would be in my view, a lawless decision from the Supreme Court,” says the senator who gave his name to the McCain-Feingold law. “Part of me says I can’t believe they’ll do it, but there’s some indication they might, and that means the whole idea of respecting the previous decisions of the Supreme Court won’t mean anything anymore.”

A lawyer who chairs the Constitution Subcommittee of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Feingold notes with regard to controls on corporate campaigning: “These things were argued in 1907, when they passed the ban on corporate treasuries. It was argued in 1947, Taft-Hartley did this. The Supreme Court has affirmed over and over again that it’s not part of free speech that corporations and unions can use their treasuries (to buy elections).”

If the court does overturn both law and precedent to advance a corporate agenda, Feingold says, “It’s just an example of activism, and legislating by a court, if they do this.”

It is, as well, dangerous for democracy.

Says Feingold: “If they overturn a hundred years of laws, it means that corporations or unions can just open their treasuries (and) just completely buy up all the television time, and drown out everyone else’s voices.”

Looks like we will be swimming in danger just like Russ Feingold feared. And when you couple the newly unleashed and unfettered corporate cash with the resurgent masters of corporate symbiosis and subservience, the Republican party, you have a recipe for the Democratic party heading into the perfect storm.

image_print
  1. cobernicus says:

    It is now official. The US Government is now a wholly-owned subsidiary of US corporations. We may as well suspend all elections and auction off seats in the Congress and the Presidency.

    • Mauimom says:

      It is now official. The US Government is now a wholly-owned subsidiary of US corporations. We may as well suspend all elections and auction off seats in the Congress and the Presidency.

      Isn’t there some point at which, when all of us are without jobs, health care or housing, we just don’t have any money to buy what the corporations are selling, and they’ll fail?

    • Michael in Ohio says:

      It is now official. The US Government is now a wholly-owned subsidiary of US corporations. We may as well suspend all elections and auction off seats in the Congress and the Presidency.

      That’s as accurate an assessment of what just happened as any I’ve read. As far as the corporatocracy is now concerned, the only voices that count for anything anymore are the ones that come from people with a lot of money. No one else has a say in government anymore. It’s all the property of rich people.

      The sickest part of this cruel joke at the expense of the American people is that it could have been prevented. If Democrats had had the integrity to filibuster Roberts and Alito — you know, to actually use that legislative tactic they now want eliminated — we might not have gotten this unconstitutional ruling.

    • MickSteers says:

      Oh, Come on – A Legalized Union is a Beautiful Thing!

      After a long and fractious affair, the happy couple can be as one.

      About time too. It’s not like we didn’t know the affair was going on, and the pretense was getting a little hard to stomach. All the crazy fake organizations and willful blindness was making fools of us all.

      So now legislators and CEOs no longer have to sneak around in sleazy PAC hotel rooms. They can come out into the open, let their friends and families see them together. God, this will be so liberating!

      I finally understand why the legal recognition of a union of soul-mates is so important. Hey, gay people, you were right all along. Well, now that the formalities are over with, let’s get on with the consummation.

      Just so you know, there’s going to be a quiet honeymoon (just between the newlyweds) but there’s gonna be a huge national party later this year and you’re all invited!

  2. SmileySam says:

    So much for honest testimony from Alito and Roberts during their confirmation hearings. Both went on and on about how much they respected Stari Decisus (sp). Surprisingly it has been Roberts that has been more likely to ignore decided law.

      • eCAHNomics says:

        My only surprise was that Sotomayor didn’t vote with the majority. First time my cynicism proved wrong.

        • emptywheel says:

          Soto has actually already raised questions about corporate personhood. She may be a big surprise on corporatist issues.

          Too bad once Stevens steps down and our do-nothing Senate approves Cass Sunstein for SCOTUS, it won’t do a damn bit of good.

        • redX says:

          Well she did not need to though, did she? Though I agree that I will give her some benefit as an individual actor – and see a bit more of the track record. This was a huge one that she was on the right side of – but its still worked out for corps just as they wanted.

          Last nail in the coffin.

          Funny irony in the idiot poster trolls at HuffPo – that this will help kill “liberal neo-facism”… umm this is fascism.

          Sucks that most of these corps suck out taxes on things like no-bid cost-plus contracts, pay little or no taxes (GS effective tax rate last year was 1%), and then use the money to buy (or print) more.

          HOPELESS

    • bobschacht says:

      The Dems are now meeting in a steel-enforced panic room.

      I’m just starting to work my way through all the comments, but I can’t resist comment here. This ruling strengthens the Corporatist wing of the Democratic Party (i.e., the Clinton’s DLC, Rahmbo, et al.)

      It also strengthens Naomi Wolf’s argument for, and accelerates, the fascist takeover of America by Big Business.

      The silver lining in this dark cloud is that it also “frees” Unions and groups like the ACLU from restrictions. All the more reason for us to support such organizations.

      But I hope that some organization will take on this notion that corporations have the same rights as individual persons. Perhaps it is time to begin a campaign to amend the Constitution in this regard, as a coalition of groups has established.

      Bob in AZ

      • marcos says:

        The silver lining in this dark cloud is that it also “frees” Unions and groups like the ACLU from restrictions. All the more reason for us to support such organizations.

        Does the ruling exempt non-profit 501(c)3 corporations from the ban on contributions to candidate campaigns?

  3. marcos says:

    This can play several ways. There has been common disgust across the divide that corporate rule is a bad thing as relates to the Health Insurers and Pharma Corporate Welfare Act of 2010, that the Democrats have spun this weird hybrid political philosophy that has them offering up public guarantees of business to private corporations using the coercive power of government to compel purchase.

    This overreaching by Obama is one major reason why Brown won the MA Senate seat.

    Could this similar overreaching by the SCOTUS, an overreaching that has the same political harmonics as the hated Individual Mandate, spur a similar reaction as was seen in MA, but towards eliminating corporate person hood explicitly?

    • figaro says:

      My thoughts exactly! This could unite the whole country against our corrupt system and create the space needed to enact some major change. This shock doctrine could work in our favor much as Coakley’s loss has.

    • bmaz says:

      You may not agree with the decision; but, legally, it is not necessarily overreaching. There is such a thing as the 1st Amendment you know, and its protections are not just for causes you like, but those that you may not as well. I am not sure I agree with the opinion, but I would not characterize it as you do.

      • scribe says:

        Your point is well-taken, but the problem is that to achieve that end the Court blew through a whole bunch of precedent because it didn’t like the precedent, tossed the statute on the basis of a facial challenge which Citizens United (originally known as “Ciizens United Not Timid”, a name it changed when it decided to go to the Supreme Court) had expressly abandoned in the lower court, and blew up the whole statute on a facial challenge when its recent precedent – the Indiana voter registration case – required it to facially invalidate only the narrowest parts possile, and only in the cases where it could not avoid facially invalidating it.

        Face it: This is the Republican party exerting itself over the political process.

      • figaro says:

        I understand your point. How do you feel about the difference in ‘weight’ between what influence a corporate ‘person’ can have over what an actual person can have. We don’t seem to have a legal mechanism for allowing all to have equal access to a megaphone but that isn’t part of freedom of speech. Do other laws apply here that can rectify the inherent unfairness of this decision?

        • marcos says:

          Do other laws apply here that can rectify the inherent unfairness of this decision?

          Public financing of election campaigns.

          • figaro says:

            I would think the corporations could outspend even public financed campaigns. Every election, the corporations would spend even more causing the people to have to shell out even more of their money to keep up. There would be no ability to control the rising costs. I don’t see how that would solve the problem.

        • bmaz says:

          I don’t know. Still sorting through the implications of this. Heck I am still reading the opinions, and will be for a while….

      • marcos says:

        You may not agree with the decision; but, legally, it is not necessarily overreaching. There is such a thing as the 1st Amendment you know, and its protections are not just for causes you like, but those that you may not as well. I am not sure I agree with the opinion, but I would not characterize it as you do.

        SP v. Santa Clara was illegitimate overreaching by the court, and everything that derives from it is similarly tainted.

        • bmaz says:

          Well, much of that is based on legend that may or may not be accurate and, secondly, it has been upheld since; so, I am not convinced your categorical statement is accurate in the least.

          • marcos says:

            Well, much of that is based on legend that may or may not be accurate and, secondly, it has been upheld since; so, I am not convinced your categorical statement is accurate in the least.

            Is the law really ever settled? Wasn’t “separate but equal” upheld over and again before it wasn’t?

        • Praedor says:

          Corporations are NOT persons and the Supreme Court NEVER made a ruling that they were. What happened was a court recorder added an off-the-cuff side comment by a justice at the time way back when that indicated THAT ONE JUSTICE thought MAYBE that corporations should be considered ‘quasi-persons’.

          Never EVER did the court actually and officially declare that corporations are “persons”. That FACT should be brought up to the court to render their declaration illegitimate in this case.

          • marcos says:

            Corporations are NOT persons and the Supreme Court NEVER made a ruling that they were. What happened was a court recorder added an off-the-cuff side comment by a justice at the time way back when that indicated THAT ONE JUSTICE thought MAYBE that corporations should be considered ‘quasi-persons’.

            Never EVER did the court actually and officially declare that corporations are “persons”. That FACT should be brought up to the court to render their declaration illegitimate in this case.

            I agree with this analysis, but that is not the prevailing sentiment at the SCOTUS and the Democrat government does not seem poised to nail anything down.

      • madmatt says:

        Explain why corporations get MORE rights than citizens then? Why is their freedom of speech unlimited, yet citizens can only spend $2400?

        • marcos says:

          Explain why corporations get MORE rights than citizens then? Why is their freedom of speech unlimited, yet citizens can only spend $2400?

          I did not see where the SCOTUS eliminated contribution limits, just struck down the ability of corporations to contribute directly from their treasury to candidate campaigns. Did I miss something?

      • sinestar says:

        The issue is that Corporations ARE NOT INDIVIDUALS. That 192(3?) decision that endowed them as such was flat wrong. Not being individuals, they do NOT HAVE INALIENABLE RIGHTS OF MEN, including unrestricted free speech. Even real flesh and blood people can’t proclaim ‘FIRE!’ in a crowded theater.

        This decision amounts to little more than the start of full scale march from our democratic Republic to our now inevitable date with Fascist Dictatorship.

        • bmaz says:

          You are buying into common fables. Please read the discussion above, especially @193. You might also want to take a look at 1 USC 1 which specifies for all US laws:

          In determining the meaning of any Act of Congress, unless the context indicates otherwise – words importing the singular include and apply to several persons, parties, or things; words importing the plural include the singular; words importing the masculine gender include the feminine as well; words used in the present tense include the future as well as the present; the words “insane” and “insane person” and “lunatic” shall include every idiot, lunatic, insane person, and person non compos mentis; the words “person” and “whoever” include corporations, companies, associations, firms, partnerships, societies, and joint stock companies, as well as individuals; “officer” includes any person authorized by law to perform the duties of the office; “signature” or “subscription” includes a mark when the person making the same intended it as such; “oath” includes affirmation, and “sworn” includes affirmed; “writing” includes printing and typewriting and reproductions of visual symbols by photographing, multigraphing, mimeographing, manifolding, or otherwise.

          • sinestar says:

            And oh yeah, it is doubly irrelevant because it is the job of The SCOTUS to determine the constitutionality of the law (interpret it) and if they determine it to be faulty, strike it down. So they could all just agree that code is unconstitutional and strike corporation from the definition of persons. They do not create the law and they are supposed to honor precedents, especially their own!

        • sinestar says:

          “The power of the lawyer is in the uncertainty of the law”

          I was mistaken, the case I am referring to was Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad Company (1886). Sometimes trying to remember something off the top of you head causes these mistakes. So is making a flippant comment, as I will explain.

          Now prior to even that decision, and we are getting into early US law, a problem started when corporations started to exist. Before individuals or partners ran their concerns and it was easy to assign them liability for debts.

          When corporations formed, shareholders argued they are not personally liable for the corporations’ debts, as they are mere investors. Hmmm. A conundrum. The law created a legal fiction that assigned corporations the status of legal person, an entity that has a legal standing comparative to the individual, or real person. I can swallow that and I think that was a creative solution. But was also a harbinger of how dangerous a corporation can become!

          Now in the case mentioned at the top, I have to expect it was already commonly understood by an SCJ that corporations had some aspects as a person, technically a legal person. So in a passing remark, a justice essentially exclaimed that a corporation enjoys all protections under the 14th amendment, which was a civil rights amendment, not a corporate rights amendment.

          At any rate this was not the OPINION of the court, but was merely recorded in the courts records. But now it is widely cited that a corporation is an entity just like you and me real feeling breathing people. And it is my understanding that cases at The SCOTUS when relying on case law are restricted to decisive opinions of the it’s own and other courts, not something the judge said in passing.

          It’s like if a person was on trial for shoplifting and the judge responded in passing we ought to give you 20 years, even though the maximum sentence allowed by law was 1, then it would somehow be legal to sentence the person to 20 years in spite of it being illegal.

          And anyway, we can look around and take a sniff of what corporations are doing to individual REAL people, the nation, the planet, and the world. Although we are in the midst of unprecedented wealth worldwide, we are in the grip of perpetual uncertainty.

          We have now stepped through a door that may close and lock behind us where the voice of the real person is irrelevant to the fictional person. This unbridled power of corporations will be noose for the fictional entity called the United States puts it’s collective head.

          Thanks for the legal grammar lesson. But it means nothing since it was revised multiple times, last time in 2002. Show me what the text of that law code was in 1856-1886 and maybe it would be meaningful.

    • EarthquakeWeather says:

      No, because the media won’t report much on this (not in their interest because they just LOVE raking in that corp cash). So the public won’t know about it. And most of those who do won’t care. This is what a democracy in its death throes looks like.

  4. veganaz says:

    Does anyone really debate that we’ve arrived at fascism, as defined by Mussolini? “the merger of corporate and government power” is now complete, no?

  5. OrganicGeorge says:

    “The censorship we now confront is vast in its reach,” Justice Anthony Kennedy said in his majority opinion, joined by his four more conservative colleagues.”

    What fairy tale world do these guys live in?

  6. Prairie Sunshine says:

    Bring back the handbill. In easy pdf form that ordinary citizens anywhere can download and distribute to their neighbors, post on community bulletin boards. Do not back down. Do not roll over. Build an army of citizens in every town in America. Let truth not be trumped by money.

  7. ricecakes says:

    Well, here we go.

    The only consolation is that this is just one more step in our system becoming untenable.

    When things get bad enough there won’t be any other option but real and substantive reform.

    It has to get worse before it gets better folks. Many of us including myself thought the Bush years would be he tipping point but…apparently the pot is just on simmer.

    • tosh says:

      The “reform” will be bought and paid for by those with the $$$.

      That isn’t *us*. We are being marginalized by the growing spread in wealth. Add that individual spread to Corporate Wealth which utterly drawfs us, and we are meaningless.

      The whole healthcare process has shown that money can control the Narrative, and that too much of this country is too stupid to grasp when they’re getting worked. The “populist” teapartiers are supporting the GOP is a classic example of how money has controlled the Narrative. It would be akin to Civil Rights advocates in the 50s voting for Strom Thurmond.

      We

      Are

      Doomed.

      :/

      John

  8. tjbs says:

    Bring back the draft to finish the wars including drafting the corporations, at no profit, to defend the father land. Should cut the defense deficit real quick.

  9. Gitcheegumee says:

    and it will have ramifications in every way imaginable for the foreseeable future….bmaz

    I wonder WHAT ramifications it will have on this? Please note that the back room negotiations on this “secret deal” began LAST week-BEFORE the Coakley-Brown elections in Massachusetts.

    Big Tobacco Seeks Deal in Federal Racketeering Case

    January 19, 2010

    A secret meeting between U.S. Justice Department officials and representatives of major U.S. tobacco firms included talks about both sides dropping planned Supreme Court appeals of a major racketeering case, the Associated Press reported Jan. 16.

    Tobacco executives reportedly asked Solicitor General Elena Kagan to drop an appeal of a lower-court ruling that the government couldn’t collect a requested $280-billion in past industry profits or compel the companies to fund a $14-billion nationwide stop-smoking campaign. In return, the tobacco firms discussed the possibility of the industry dropping its own appeal of the lower-court case, which found tobacco firms guilty of racketeering.

    Internal documents show that the Justice Department is considering a deal, although possibly one including a multibillion-dollar settlement from tobacco firms.The decade-long racketeering lawsuit ended with U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler ruling that the industry falsely denied the health impact of smoking, hid evidence about the addictiveness of nicotine, and manipulated nicotine levels in cigarettes to encourage addiction. Those findings were later upheld by a federal appeals court.

    … US tobacco firms included talks about both sides dropping planned Supreme Court appeals of a major racketeering case, the Associated Press reported Jan. …

    JoinTogether.org – 362 related articles »

    Big Tobacco makes secret plea to avoid payout – Addictions- msnbc.comJan 16, 2010 … Big Tobacco makes secret plea to avoid payout. Industry wants to keep Supreme Court out of racketeering lawsuit …

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/34894780/ns/health-addictions/ – Cached

  10. SusanH says:

    Isn’t one of the only ways to remedy this is to work to amend the Constitution with a separate amendment?

  11. razorbrain says:

    This decision takes the enormous lie that is “corporate personhood,” first foisted on the public in Santa Clara County v. Union Pacific Railroad (1870), and seeks to explicitly enshrine it in the law forever as our highest value. Now, not only are corporations to be “persons,” but they will actually be “super-persons,” and so much more important than the rest of us, who are relegated to mere insect status by comparison.

    Can we start talking about the Declaration of Independence and real revolution now?

  12. scribe says:

    Not to worry. Justice Kennedy reminds us in his opinion for the Court:

    “The appearance of influence or access, furthermore, will not cause the electorate to lose faith in our democracy.”

    Fucking clown.

    • marcos says:

      “The appearance of influence or access, furthermore, will not cause the electorate to lose faith in our democracy.”

      You ain’t got nothin’ when you’ve got nothin’ left to lose.

  13. moster says:

    So, if I understand this correctly, the only cure now is campaign finance reform? (Based on this premise that ‘companies are people too!’)

    *rolls eyes*

    Fucking clown.

    Amen that

    • SusanH says:

      I actually thinks thismeans that Congress is stymied and the only way to effect campaign reform is through a Constitutional amendment

      • bmaz says:

        I am not sure about that. Complete federal funding of elections might be able to blunt this; need more time to analyze the decision to figure these things out though.

  14. SusanH says:

    Well,now we can add another Supreem Court decision to those school childrenmust remember that are as bad as the Dred Scott decision.

    Poor kids…..that list is getting longer every year it seems

    Poor us.

    There goes democracy…the Supreme Court just put a big thumb on the election scales

  15. Gitcheegumee says:

    @22

    No, it is not new. But the timing of the request to DOJ is interesting to me-just prior to the Scotus ruling re:corporations.

    Perhaps what will be new is a new source of corporate funding from big tobacco in exchange for certain “considerations”.

  16. Gitcheegumee says:

    We know now that Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob.

    FDR,1936

  17. giantscauseway says:

    Scalia & the other political whores on the Court can no longer pretend they adhere to what the framers wanted. They adhere to what the Republican-Corporate cabal wants.

  18. CalGeorge says:

    Terrible news.

    Stevens, p. 85:

    The Court’s blinkered and aphoristic approach to the
    First Amendment may well promote corporate power at
    the cost of the individual and collective self-expression the
    Amendment was meant to serve. It will undoubtedly
    cripple the ability of ordinary citizens, Congress, and the
    States to adopt even limited measures to protect against
    corporate domination of the electoral process.

    Death to corporate personhood!

  19. Praedor says:

    So not is it time to unleash the Fairness Doctrine again? FORCE media (CABLE/SATELLITE TOO!) to give EQUAL time to opponents of any and all advertisements.

    Also, Congress needs to strip the court of the ability to review a new corporate limitation law. If there was ever any area that this was a legitimate tool to us, this is it. The SCROTUS just officially handed the USA to corporations. We are no longer citizens, we are slaves.

    • ThingsComeUndone says:

      I like it besides the MSM can’t deny that repealing the Fairness Doctrine has resulted in decades of lost readers, listeners, viewers etc this could help them get those people back.
      Or they could just keep watching us Net folk take over:)

  20. ThingsComeUndone says:

    So just what will Obama do if he does nothing he’s a one term President he has to pass a law, tax the shit out of corporations so they have no money or maybe get tough on lobbyists.
    I’m not sure what options he has I’m speculating but love or hate Obama this is bad news for Progressives. What remedy’s do we have.

  21. Sufilizard says:

    It’s horrifying to see this actually take effect – although it’s not surprising. The Oligarchs have been pushing their pro-corporate justices through for years in the guise of being anti-abortion.

    I’m reminded of the dystopian future imagined in the movie Robocop and it’s shocking how accurate it was.

  22. MsAnnaNOLA says:

    Is it possible to have a constitutional amendment stripping “corporations” of personhood?

    It seems to me the problem is not defining that money=free speech so much as the fact that the right of the people have been extended to these non-person entities, corporations.

    We the people have consented to be governed by this constitution, not we the corporations.

    I know this seems far fetched but if we start this movement now, perhaps we can change it in our lifetime.

  23. Loo Hoo. says:

    This is fantastic, huh? Perhaps we don’t need financial disclosures either, since free speech can be private.

  24. ThingsComeUndone says:

    Cut the Supreme Courts pay thats what da Mayor would do if Obama and Rahm were real Chicago pols that would be the next bill passed.

  25. ThingsComeUndone says:

    I expect the Tea Baggers to get a huge check soon and to buy a first rate web site but I wonder who will write for it and will they allow comments like Jane does? Without the ability to dissent like Jane lets us I think the Tea Baggers will lose interest soon.
    What else will the GOP buy with all this money Fox News Rupert is getting old and his stock is not doing well.

    • Gitcheegumee says:

      Oh, you are about three years behind on that-GW took care of his pals back in ’06:

      Sat May-27-06 01:43 PM

      What really happened the day Porter Goss resigned

      http://www.businessweek.com/bwdaily/dnflash/may2006/nf2

      President George W. Bush has bestowed on his intelligence czar, John Negroponte, broad authority, in the name of national security, to excuse publicly traded companies from their usual accounting and securities-disclosure obligations. Notice of the development came in a brief entry in the Federal Register, dated May 5, 2006, that was opaque to the untrained eye.

      Unbeknownst to almost all of Washington and the financial world, Bush and every other President since Jimmy Carter have had the authority to exempt companies working on certain top-secret defense projects from portions of the 1934 Securities Exchange Act. Administration officials told BusinessWeek that they believe this is the first time a President has ever delegated the authority to someone outside the Oval Office. It couldn’t be immediately determined whether any company has received a waiver under this provision.

      The timing of Bush’s move is intriguing. On the same day the President signed the memo, Porter Goss resigned as director of the Central Intelligence Agency amid criticism of ineffectiveness and poor morale at the agency. Only six days later, on May 11, USA Today reported that the National Security Agency had obtained millions of calling records of ordinary citizens provided by three major U.S. phone companies. Negroponte oversees both the CIA and NSA in his role as the administration’s top intelligence official.

      William McLucas, the Securities & Exchange Commission’s former enforcement chief, suggested that the ability to conceal financial information in the name of national security could lead some companies “to play fast and loose with their numbers.” McLucas, a partner at the law firm Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale & Dorr in Washington, added: “It could be that you have a bunch of books and records out there that no one knows about.”

  26. Gitcheegumee says:

    1.Start enforcing anti-trust ,RICO statutes.-If they are too big to fail, too big to jail-then they are too damn big to bail!

    2.Clamp down on the offshoring of US tax monies by US companies

    Tax Justice Network promotes transparency in international finance and opposes secrecy. We support a level playing field on tax and we oppose loopholes …

    http://www.taxjustice.net/ – Cached – Similar

    About TJN

    Corruption and Offshore

    Contact us

    More results from taxjustice.net »

    About TJN – taxjustice networkJan 28, 2009 … The International Secretariat operates as Tax Justice Network International Secretariat Limited, a UK registered company limited by …

    http://www.taxjustice.net/cms/front_content.php?idcat=78 – Cached – Similar

    Tax Justice Network: Tax Justice Network (TJN) is an international, non-aligned coalition of researchers and activists with a shared concern about the harmful impacts of tax …

    taxjustice.blogspot.com/…/ending-offshore-secrecy-system.html – Cached – Similar

  27. stevepatriquin says:

    This is good for the progressives. Obama is progressive. Obama bails them out so they can not fail. Big corporations donate to Obama.

    • marcos says:

      Will Union spending be freed up too?

      If so, then we can only be outspent 1000:1, assuming that labor includes the general interest in advancing its own particular interests.

      • ThingsComeUndone says:

        Thanks right after I wrote that comment I realized the amounts were a joke still I had to ask.

        • marcos says:

          Thanks right after I wrote that comment I realized the amounts were a joke still I had to ask.

          I was talking with a progressive labor politico here in SF this past week, asking if they thought it would be a fair trade if progressives gave up labor money if conservatives would give up corporate money. Many conservatives have problems with corporate dominance but see labor participation as requiring corporate participation to balance. When they bring this up, I ask them if they’d support restrictions on corporate campaign speech in exchange for restrictions on union campaign speech, and most conservatives say yes.

          My prog politico friend could not get his head around this, saying that union speech was so much smaller than corporate speech that it did not make sense. When our opponents have been brainwashed into believing that union spending is equal and opposite to corporate spending and would be willing to forfeit their overwhelming corporate advantage just to take a shot at the evil unions, then that represents an opportunity for us.

      • eblair says:

        I wanna get caught up on this. The SCOTUS server is very slow right now. How many pages is the relevant case law-say Citizen’s United and the case law leading up to it?

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          The .pdf is 183 pages. The dissenting opinion starts on about p. 88 of the pdf. I’d read that first, then tackle Kennedy’s opinion and the concurring opinions.

        • Fenestrate says:

          From good ole wiki, in date order:

          * Text of Dartmouth College v. Woodward, 17 U.S. 518 (1819)

          * Text of Slaughter-House Cases, 83 U.S. 36 (1872)

          * Text of Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad, 118 U.S. 394 (1886)

          * Text of Chicago, B&Q Railroad v. State of Iowa, 94 U.S. 155 (1876)

          * Text of Peik v. Chicago & N. W. Railroad, 94 U.S. 164 (1876)

          * Text of Chicago, Milwaukee, & St. Paul Railroad v. Ackley, 94 U.S. 179 (1876)

          * Text of Wheeling Steel Corp. v. Glander, 337 U.S. 562 (1949)

          * Text of Yick Wo v. Hopkins, 118 U.S. 356 (1886)

          You can find links to the above cases at wiki, it’s at the bottom of the page.

      • yellowsnapdragon says:

        More reason for the evil critters try to defeat upcoming legislation. Unions are doomed to lose now.

    • Praedor says:

      Yes but so what? ALL the law changes and momentum for the last 30 years has been against unions. Unions are shrinking, not growing, and there is NO chance that the Dems will pass card check to counter the official trend. What union today can really compete against Exxon-Mobile, Goldman-Sachs, etc?

      The answer is an end-run: Fairness Doctrine applied to ALL media. For every corporate-run add, the network MUST provide a counter add as balance. Totally negate the advantage and hurt the networks so that they wont be inclined to accept corporate adds in the first place.

      • ThingsComeUndone says:

        Will the Fairness Doctrine force Fox News to stop lying? Without that we are still in trouble. Fox always has fake liberals like Juan Williams to argue our side but the fake liberals always lose.
        Never mind it takes the commenters on the Lake 5 minutes to debunk your average Fox lie.

        • figaro says:

          We have anti-propaganda laws that can be used right now to stop Fox from lying but you’ll never see that happen.

          • RoyalOak says:

            Can’t we grass-roots a class action lawsuit to force the anti-propaganda issue against Fox? I can think of several attorneys who would take limited fees just for the kind of media exposure they could get….

  28. jo6pac says:

    Well this is a good sign now I can just vote for golden sacks and cut out the middle person. I think I’ll become a lobbist.

  29. fwdpost says:

    NBC, GE and Comcast urge you to vote for Sarah Palin with $200 million in ads. She is suddenly a rocket scientist, because GE is one of the largest coprorations in the world.

    You can buy most of the people most of the time. – fwdpost.com

  30. ThingsComeUndone says:

    Raise taxes to 90% on anything over a million dollars bleed the Corporations so they can’t afford to spend plus we do have to pay for the war:)

    • redX says:

      The top rate should be anything over that amount is 100% on what goes over. The only problem with your plan is they would pay someone 200M just so they could take home 5M or whatever.

      Also its already dirt cheap to buy these guys. A 50K or 100K kick-in could send billions of the people money your way – and the Sentor is just fine with pissing away Billions to get 100K for themself or their election.

  31. sailmaker says:

    My question is probably naive but here goes: Given that there is a $2000 limit on individual contributions to some elections, could corporate spending be held to the same level?

  32. okii says:

    There’s no such thing as global warming. Cigarrette smoking is good for you. You should drive a gas guzzler. Now U.S. corporations can be owned by the Saudi Royal Family & the Bin Ladens, and the Chinese communist party. This should help American politics. If I have $100 I have 100 times more free speech than a guy with $1. Sounds good to me. Finally, we have capitalism. The green back is free speech. Anyway, nobody reads Supreme Court decisions.

    • ThingsComeUndone says:

      Now U.S. corporations can be owned by the Saudi Royal Family & the Bin Ladens, and the Chinese communist party

      Did they say that? If not how many GOP friendly corporations have majority foreign ownership? Would Corporate People still be allowed to contribute campaign cash if majority foreign owned? Or if a unfriendly foreign power like China or maybe a bin Ladin had a stock ownership interest?

      • robspierre says:

        I hadn’t thought of that.

        Maybe we need to put Limpbaugh, Coulter, Fox, and the Teabaggers onto the fact that ReaganBush packed the Court with Amurrica-hatin’, damn Ayrab-luvin’, pro-terrorist, ChiCommie sleeper agents! “Corporatism is all a vast, Commie, Ayrab plot to take away our God-given right to drive gas guzzling Detroit iron. The next Court vacancy goes to the Bin Laden corporation!” Etc.

        In all seriousness, Ms. Edmond’s revelations, the Bush and Clinton connections with Saudi business/government, and past experience with South Korean intelligence using corporate cash in Nixon-era politics show that we already have a problem. Heaven help us.

      • Fenestrate says:

        InRe: foreign owned corporations, here’s a quote from Justice Kennedy’s opinion of the Court

        We need not reach the question whether the Government has a compelling interest in preventing foreign individuals or associations from influencing our Nation’s political process. Cf. 2 U. S. C. §441e (contribution and expenditure ban applied to “foreign national[s]”). Section 441b is not limited to corporations or associations that were created in foreign countries or funded predominately by foreign shareholders. Section 441b therefore would be overbroad even if we assumed, arguendo, that the Government has a compelling interest in limiting foreignin fluence over our political process. See Broadrick, 413
        U. S., at 615.

        My bold.

        From http://www.supremecourtus.gov/opinions/09pdf/08-205.pdf (6 pages)

  33. Petrocelli says:

    If anyone gets something tangible from Feingold’s office, please post it here; McCain too, for that matter.

    It will be interesting to see what they propose, if anything at all.

  34. cbl2 says:

    oh fuck it

    now looking forward to the Nike State of the Union, Verizon Prayer Breakfast, and Miller Lite Swearing In Ceremonies

    and set your tivo’s for Macy’s First Monday In October !

    of course the whole General Dynamics War On Terror could prove problematic :D

    • CalGeorge says:

      And the [insert corporation name here] Senator from [insert your state here].

      Oh, wait. We already have that.

  35. RoyalOak says:

    So if corporations are now granted the right of free speech (which heretofore was only granted to individuals), will they also eventually be granted the right to vote?

  36. yellowsnapdragon says:

    Since corporations are people, I suppose they can pull a lever in the voting booth too. One corporation, multiple votes.

    • marcos says:

      I would like to have the fine justices explain how corporate power is the same as individual power.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Santa_Clara_County_v._Southern_Pacific_Railroad

      Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad
      Seal of the United States Supreme Court.svg
      Supreme Court of the United States
      Argued January 26–29, 1886
      Decided May 10, 1886
      Full case name Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad Company
      Citations 118 U.S. 394 (more)
      Holding
      The railroad corporations are persons with the intent of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

      Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad Company, 118 U.S. 394 (1886) was a United States Supreme Court case dealing with taxation of railroad properties. The case is most notable for the obiter dictum statement that corporations are entitled to protection under the Fourteenth Amendment.

      • razorbrain says:

        Right, but the only problem with that is that the decision explicitly stated it was NOT based on the 14th Amendment. The clerk of the Court, a long-time railroad sympathizer, wrote up the headnote as if that WAS the basis of the decision.

        The “corporate personhood” concept has therefore been a lie since its inception, and any direct consideration of the issue would have to address that.

        How much you wanna bet that the current Supes would consider THAT precedent inviolate?

        It has become increasingly clear that for us, as for the Founding Fathers, revolution is the onl option left. SEE–Declaration of Independence.

        • bmaz says:

          Um, they do not need to, several have already. Arguing that corporate personhood is illegitimate is foolish and naive, at best; delusional is probably a better term. I share your concerns over the problems corporate personhood has wrought, but saying it is all a fiction and illegitimate is beyond baloney.

          • marcos says:

            Um, they do not need to, several have already. Arguing that corporate personhood is illegitimate is foolish and naive, at best; delusional is probably a better term. I share your concerns over the problems corporate personhood has wrought, but saying it is all a fiction and illegitimate is beyond baloney.

            “Legal Fiction” is a term of art. Corporations are a legal fiction:

            A legal fiction is a fact or situation assumed or created by courts[1] which is then used in order to benefit from a legal rule which was not necessarily designed to be used in that way. For example, the rules of the United Kingdom Houses of Parliament specify that an MP cannot resign from office, but since the law also states that a Member of Parliament that is appointed to a paid office of the Crown must either step down or stand for re-election, a resignation can be accomplished by appointment to such an office. The second rule is used to circumvent the first rule.

            To wit:

            During arguments in a campaign-finance case, the court’s majority conservatives seemed persuaded that corporations have broad First Amendment rights and that recent precedents upholding limits on corporate political spending should be overruled.

            But Justice Sotomayor suggested the majority might have it all wrong — and that instead the court should reconsider the 19th century rulings that first afforded corporations the same rights flesh-and-blood people have.

            Judges “created corporations as persons, gave birth to corporations as persons,” she said. “There could be an argument made that that was the court’s error to start with…[imbuing] a creature of state law with human characteristics.”

            After a confirmation process that revealed little of her legal philosophy, the remark offered an early hint of the direction Justice Sotomayor might want to take the court.

            “Progressives who think that corporations already have an unduly large influence on policy in the United States have to feel reassured that this was one of [her] first questions,” said Douglas Kendall, president of the liberal Constitutional Accountability Center.

            If a “moderate” corporate justice like Sotomayor made this statement, then it is well within the norm.

          • razorbrain says:

            Oh, really? Suppose you cite for us the Supreme Court case that did the actual analysis on why corporations are “persons” under the intent of the 14th Amenndment? Without that foundation block in place, all the rest is bullshit. Show me an analysis that explains why corporations are like oppressed persons.

            I don’t think you can.

    • marcos says:

      I may incorporate myself.

      Perhaps I’ll have more rights.

      Let’s all incorporate and enjoy limited liability.

  37. RoyalOak says:

    Does the law allow a citizen challenge to a supreme court decision? In other words, what is the process to force the court to rescind this decision? Anyone know?

    • stevepatriquin says:

      The only way is too take it up with a different Supreme Court. Next year is considered a different court. It is hard to get the court to revisit their rulings though. This is great for Obama. He bails ouy big business, hence, big business supports him.

  38. robspierre says:

    If this were viewed as such a threat to the Party, the party could always impeach the Court majority, right? And since corporations are fictional persons created by the law, Democratic lawmakers could always go with a nuclear option and do away with incorporation all together. Once corporate officers and shareholders were individually responsible for the debts of whole companies, without the shield of corproate bankruptcy, there’d be a lot less cash around and a lot less time for screwing with the political process. As a less drastic measure, lawmakers could raise corporate taxes to the point that they soak up all the excess corproate cash, leaving nothing for political slush funds.

    It isn’t going to happen, of course. I doubt that Democrats will take any action, though some may cry a few crocodile tears. I suspect that the Democratic leadership actually views the Court’s ruling as an opportunity, now that they are already getting big corporate cash.

    So how long before corporations have voting rights? Proportional to their numbers of shareholders?

    Witholding our votes is the only real leverage we have left. The Democratic leadership can’t buy what we won’t sell, and, without votes, they are unlikely to be able to attract corporate cash. So let’s give them a hard choice: do the right thing and give up some of the spoils of victory or don’t and don’t get a share at all. The Republicans are not going to be generous with Democratic apparatchniks if they don’t have to be–that sort of behavior is only characteristic of Democratic Party pols.

    • marcos says:

      So how long before corporations have voting rights? Proportional to their numbers of shareholders?

      How long before they reduce the voting rights of flesh and blood persons to 3/5 just for old time’s sake?

    • bmaz says:

      I doubt that Democrats will take any action, though some may cry a few crocodile tears. I suspect that the Democratic leadership actually views the Court’s ruling as an opportunity, now that they are already getting big corporate cash.

      I think that has been the plan of Obama and Rahm Emanuel all along.

  39. Tracerfan says:

    Corporate control over the U.S. and over both parties will now reach 100%.

    Stick a fork in the U.S., it’s done.

  40. archiebird says:

    Can’t congress overturn a Supreme Court decision by, like, a majority two thirds vote? (please don’t abuse me, I have no law degree or am that well versed in these matters)

  41. i4u2bi says:

    It sounds like pay for play…a well founded individuals right to bribe Congress and other elected officials. However there are no corporation rights in the Constitution, I think?

    • marcos says:

      It sounds like pay for play…a well founded individuals right to bribe Congress and other elected officials. However there are no corporation rights in the Constitution, I think?

      Enter Santa Clara v. SP.

      • Gitcheegumee says:

        Marcos, go to the link at #125

        Our Hidden History

        You will find Santa Clara discussed at length-among other things.

        • marcos says:

          Yes, a supreme court decision outside the boundries of the Constitution…well played.

          And this really calls the question on behalf of our conservative friends who posit themselves as champions of the constitution, whether they see the original intent of privileging a legal fiction with extra constitutional rights and privileges greater than those which accrue to flesh and blood persons, to the sovereigns in our system.

        • bmaz says:

          Nether Santa Clara nor Citizens United is “outside of the Constitution”. I don’t like either one any better than you do necessarily, but all this blather and hyperventilating rhetoric (and yours is very minor compared to a lot on this page, so this is not aimed directly at you i4u2bi) is just misdirected anger. We may not like how it has been framed there, but it is all well within the Constitution.

          • razorbrain says:

            Your blather is no better than anybody else’s, and it is only blather until you cite the Supreme Court analysis that shows that corps are “persons” under the 14th Amendment, which necessarily requires that they can be considered to be like oppressed persons.

            • bmaz says:

              Well my blather is certainly a little more informed than yours. The concept long predates Santa Clara, going at least back to a matter by the name of Dartmouth v. Woodward. Coming forward, you might take a gander at Northwestern v. Riggs. Heck, even Stevens’ dissent to todays opinion accepts corporate personhood (albeit in dicta). So, there you go; your belligerent demand has been met.

              • razorbrain says:

                Sorry, but neither of those cases provides anything even approaching the analysis I demanded of you.

                SO NOW I’LL DEMAND AN APPROPRIATE CITATION WITH EVEN GREATER BELLIGERENCE. AND WITH TOTAL CONFIDENCE THAT YOU CAN’T PROVIDE ONE.

                • bmaz says:

                  You don’t have rights to demand diddly squat; if you cannot read the law and take a look at what the Supreme Court has allowed to occur under its auspices for the last 150 plus years, then I need not waste further time with your nonsense.

                  • razorbrain says:

                    That’s the pathetic response of someone who doesn’t have any evidence to back up his arrogance.

                    The issue is not whether the Supes have allowed something. They have had to reverse themselves many times as their wrongness becomes overwhelmingly evident.

                    Therefore, as I have said, the issue is whether they have ever provided any rational analysis that supports the necessary logical foundation for their “jurisprudence.” Namely, that corporations are oppressed persons within the intent of the 14th Amendment.

                    And you can’t cite any. So you resort to rudeness, instead. Pathetic.

                    Especially since we are ostensibly on the same side.

                    • bmaz says:

                      Dude, it is not my job to be your research service, nor to disprove your null hypothesis. Why don’t you show all of us the legal and binding precedent to support your claim. Until you can, all your heated diatribe is nonsense; obviously the Supreme Court is allowing it, has been for 150 years and indicated again so today in both the tenor of the majority opinion and the dicta of the minority opinion. You are barking at the moon.

                    • razorbrain says:

                      I have had an interest in this issue for many years, and I am a lawyer, and I have never been able to find the analysis I asked you to cite. I don’t believe it exists, which is why I asked you if you could cite it.

                      You don’t expect me to prove its non-existence, do you?

                      Of course we all know the Court has allowed what is has allowed, and would like and inends to continue to allow. My point is there has never been any direct legal challenge to what would have to be the necessary foundation block of their reasoning process. I’m not debating legal strategy, I’m debating legal justification. There is none.

                    • bmaz says:

                      You are correct that there is scant little law directly on point; I completely grant that. However, when even Stevens accepts the existence of corporate personhood for purposes of the law, it is hard to say it doesn’t exist. I think we can agree it is here irrespective of its hard on point basis; the question is how do we alter that existence? That is a very difficult question, because flat out removal of corporate personhood would fundamentally alter every form of business litigation, tort liability, the tax code, the way property is held and international relations and global business. It would fundamentally alter everything we know in life in some material regard. That is a tall, if not impossible goal; so the question is how to nip at the edges sufficiently to bring some rationality back into the picture. Peace.

                    • razorbrain says:

                      Peace is welcome, since we are allies of the heart. And I do appreciate all the work you have done that I have read.

                      When you refer to “even Stevens,” you are in the conventional strategic thinking mode. That’s understandable, and I respect that mindset as far as it goes.

                      I guess my point is that it doesn’t go far enough. When you’ve had mountains of tangled juriprudence ostensibly supporting a basic precept that is bullshit (excuse me, without merit lol), rather than untangling that mess tangle by tangle, isn’t there some merit to the idea that one should go right for the jugular and point out that the jurisprudence has no clothes, so to speak. After all, the law loses all claim to legitimacy if it is not anchored in rational thought, and here that thought would have to be that corporations are persons under the intent of the 14th Amendment because they are like oppressed persons. Clearly absurd, and cannot be defended. When the conclusion is clearly illogical, one should check the premises.

                      I agree it would be disruptive, but the alternative is to enshrine a flawed concept into the law forever, with endless adverse consequences, which are even more disruptive. Like the death of democracy, and the ultimate enslavement of all free peoples by the big corporations.

                      I aappreciate the difficulty of getting this Court to accept a case that would directly challenge the concept of “corporate personhood.” But I believe that such a challenge should be attempted anyway by anyone with the resources and standing to bring it (not me, unfortunately). At the least, a rejection of the challenge would more fully reveal the lack of legitimacy of the Court, wouldn’t it?

                    • bmaz says:

                      For what it is worth, a while back (may be two years now – time flies) I talked to a couple of different groups that had been trying hard to get the point directly to the Supremes. The REM song/lyrics “can’t get there from here” is basically the story of their efforts.

                    • razorbrain says:

                      Do you know anyone currently working on the problem, and/or do you have contact info for the groups you refer to? I think this is the most important fight of our time.

                    • DWBartoo says:

                      “this”, as you term it, topping off what has transpired since the Supremes (in my non-lawerly view) unConstitutionally and quite illegally inserted themselves into the 2000 debacle (with a “non-precedent” precendent)is the gravest threat this nation has faced. At least, lately …

                      And it is we who are faced with it.

                      It is morally unconscionable to suggest that we leave to later generations whatever “solution” might be cobled together AFTER it has become “settled”

                      “law”.

                      However, as you imply we, as a nation and a people, have been willing to “settle” for appearance rather than substance for so long a time that little sense of urgency or import may attend precisely what the founders [who did not feel that history is bunk, (“Listen heah! “Merikans don’t read history we MAKE it!)] were concerned about … “You’ve got a Republic if you can keep it.” Ben Franklin (‘course by then, money had reared its ugly head and you know when “Greed is Good” is embraced as license and money is all that matters, and every thing has a “price” … well, it kind of devalues everything.

                      I like the cut of your jib, razorbrain, and even though you ruffle some feathers, I hope you stick around for the longer teaching moments.

                      Speaking of which, bmaz long ago promised to tell us the story of how corporations became “persons”.

                      Incidentally, “corporate personhood” is our gift to the world, and it surely keeps on giving

                      Now, as corporations have no conscience, feel no pain, cannot be jailed and are essentially immortal, “things” is bound to become “interesting”.

                      DW

                    • razorbrain says:

                      I’ve been here forever, used to post under a different handle prior to the last FDL reorganization. I’m a fervent supporter of FDL, always have been. And would kiss Jane’s feet, if I could ;). I also believe that ideas should count for more than personalities.

                      When things get complex, I always believe in revisiting the most basic premises. I call it “zero based reasoning” (with a nod to Jimmy Carter lol). I find that this actually works sometimes in real life, as well as in philosophical discussions.

                      I am struck by the fact that the writers of the Declaration of Independence, having no legal argument to make in the context of their time, resorted instead to something more basic, i.e., natural human rights, to justify their resistance. It seems to me that we are living in analogous times.

                      The law’s only claim to legitimacy is that, at its base, it is anchored in rationality and fundamental fairness. If it loses that, it loses any legitimate moral claim to obedience.

                      That is why I am focusing on the corporate personhood concept. Undo that, and most of the other ills and injustices we complain of would have to give way.

                    • earlofhuntingdon says:

                      Chill. You’re not arguing in front of the Supreme Court.

                      As is obvious to a lawyer who has researched constitutional law on this question for many years, this Court doesn’t need precedent, even its own, as the foundation for its decisions. It can invent out of whole cloth, cast aside its own decisions, or reinterpret them beyond recognition (the Roberts Court’s favorite methodology, which allows him facially to adhere to his “promise” to the Senate to respect precedent and to “interpret”, not “make” laws).

                      Whatever it says becomes law, subject only to changes in its staffing or the statutes and regulations Congress and the administration give it to work with. Constitutional change would have some effect, too, but in a climate where even reasonable health insurance reform is impossible, constitutional change would be a non-starter.

                    • razorbrain says:

                      That’s all correct, but it is only about conventional strategic thinking, whereas I am making the deeper point about substance, that there is no rational foundation for the current jurisprudence.

                    • earlofhuntingdon says:

                      Quite possibly correct, but an ivory tower philosophical point that has no practical impact on today’s American law or politics.

                    • razorbrain says:

                      “Ivory tower?” I don’t think that directly attacking the crumbly foundation stone of an offensive edifice is “ivory tower,” I think it’s very basic. Achilles was brought down by a wound to the heel, right?

                      I know all the games the Court will play with standing to avoid unwelcome issues, but their ultimate legitimacy rests on having some connection to a rational premise. Revealing their lack of that legitimacy does not seem very “ivory tower” to me, especially in light of the obvious fact that no other approach is working to slow our plunge into outright fascism.

                    • Gitcheegumee says:

                      Your postion reminds me of the axiom in an accounting class.

                      If it is wrong in the inception,it will be wrong in the result.

                      Now, having said my peace, I’ll will take cover before I become collateral damage.*G*

                      I guess it depends upon what the interpretation of the word “wrong”,is.

                    • razorbrain says:

                      Well, that’s my point. The concept of “corporate personhood” was wrong in its inception, and demonstrably so, and should be directly attacked as such. To attempt to undo this travesty by a more circuitous strategy is, IMHO, to agree to participate in a game where the rules are pre-rigged against you.

                    • Gitcheegumee says:

                      I don’t know how many of the comments upthread you have had time to read,but I posted a few things that may interest you.

                      Numbers #53,#125,and #197 have some worthwhile info,imho.

                    • razorbrain says:

                      I noted them. I will read more to see what Reclaim Democracy has been up to lately, I am familiar with them from the past.

                      I thnk the RICO approach is too tangential (and complex) for me. I prefer direct attacks ;).

                    • DWBartoo says:

                      Sufferin’ Dog Hairs!!!

                      A lawyer who does not intone: “It has ever been thus …” (implying that the magic majesty of the law and them what know its secrets is very patiently waiting for the rest of us to get a clue …) “so don’t trouble yer little heads with the primal forces of the universe.”

                      The law, just like economics is a game that society (or a bunch of children) have created the “rules” for.

                      Economics claims that the “unseen hand” keeps things on the up and up.

                      The law claims that it and not people, rules.

                      The law and ecomonics are close siblings and each compliments and emboldens the other.

                      Would it be fair (and honest) to suggest that, under our “system” of law, justice depends on how deep one’s pockets are?

                      Would it be fair (and honest) to suggest that under our economic “system”, $uce$$ depends on how much legal clout one may muster in writing the laws that define permissible “behavior” themselves?

                      Ah, rb, ya do my heart good.

                      DW

                    • razorbrain says:

                      LOL. Glad I’m doing something productive ;). Our hearts and minds appear to be in the same place, which is why I no longer practice law, even though I never lost a case. “Form over substance” always seemed like a poor life strategy to me, from the viewpoint of the soul.

                    • Alan Grayson says:

                      And now, success will depend on the “return on your investment” in influencing elections. Bailouts and tax breaks for sale.

                    • MsAnnaNOLA says:

                      Problem is one “entity” can sue all the way to SCOTUS and get it overturned unless it is changed as a part of the constitution. I understand this may be hard to do, but the fact is corporations as persons is a threat to democracty for everyone including those on the conserviative side of the spectrum. Yes corporate contracts should be enforced etc, but “free speech” and the rights listed in the so called bill of rights are meant for individual people not organizations organized as corporations.

                      Perhaps what we need is a new bill of rights with specific rights to privacy for individual citizens while also limiting rights for corporations including what information they can collect and share about their customers.

                      Increasing privacy for individuals would be a great way to reign in some aspects of corporate power as well. They can do whatever they want to with your personal information right now.

                      The debate needs to be changed I agree. We need to focus not on limiting or not limiting speech. All this is predicated on corporate personhood which is insane. The idea that a corporation has as many rights as individuals is really loopy.

                    • razorbrain says:

                      Frankly, I despair at the chances of reversing things thru the legal system. It’s probably too late. But corporate personhood is indeed an insane concept, in hundreds of ways. And it is based on a supposed similarity to oppressed persons, which is the link to the 14th Amendment. Also insane. It’s a demonstration of the victory of money and political power over rationality and the will and interests of the People.

                    • earlofhuntingdon says:

                      The cut of your argument’s jib is that the Supreme Court’s constitutional role and its political power notwithstanding, it’s wrong. Sounds more like a first year Con Law argument than one from a lawyer who has “studied this topic for many years”.

                      The court’s decision might be against all legal and political precedent. But whining about the “conventional” logic that observes it has precisely the power to do that is an ivory tower argument.

                      I heartily agree that this court is wrong on the law and that this decision will do enormous damage to American society. The court’s legal arguments are a facade for its fierce advocacy of a political position that values strengthening the already considerable powers of corporations at the expense of real people.

                      Your base course may be correctly plotted, but it’s directly into the legal and political winds that empower this court. You won’t move a fathom unless you drop off a few degrees and achieve your base course as the result of tacking.

                    • razorbrain says:

                      Don’t get abusive, we are on the same side. I said I was “interested,” not that I have “studied” in the professional sense. I’ve done some research, but have not had the resources or opportunity to actually prepare as I would if I had the case. And I’ve never found an on-point analysis supporting corporate personhood. But I think this fight is all-important.

                      I don;’t dispute the other points you make, they are obvious, aren’t they? Rather, I am pointing out that practice has departed from principle, and that it is worth re-visiting basic principles if only to clarify the mind, and perhaps also to suggest that maybe all the intricate strategies that actually are being pursued are missing a trick in competely dismissing the basics.

                      If one were to accept your argument that the Supremes will simply do what they want to do, then why argue any cases at all if your cause is contrary to their basic mindset? Are you just trying to trick them?

                      If so, fine, then let’s just say, you try to trick them, I will try to shame them. Perhaps with equal effect, but at least my approach has the added virtue of being understandable to the People. In the end, I believe direct action by the People will be necessary to change anything fundamenntal about the path we are on. And I also believe the most likely future is that we will continue on this path. But I don’t like to give up a fight.

                    • razorbrain says:

                      Did I? Not my intent. As I said, I think we are on the same side, big picture.

                      “First year Con Law student”?

                    • earlofhuntingdon says:

                      Your argument may be valid politics; it isn’t a legal argument any more than the court’s. Obviously.

                    • Hugh says:

                      their ultimate legitimacy rests on having some connection to a rational premise

                      This is the essence of the argument. The Court has great power to rule as it wishes but risks its legitimacy when it abuses that power. And let’s be clear the Court has been a reactionary presence in our nation’s affairs for most of our history. It sided with property holders against the unpropertied, slaveholders against slaves, factory owners against workers, racists against African-Americans, and now, as we see,. corporations against ordinary Americans. Its current radicalism is the norm not the exception. Our two greatest Presidents, Lincoln and FDR, both fought it. Lincoln ignored it. FDR tried to stack it. That didn’t work but the Court afterwards tread a lot more softly around his New Deal. In short, instead of the hallowed arbiter of law and preserver of the Constitution, the Court has played a largely sinister role in public life. It has been the great defender of the haves against the have-nots. The myth of its legitimacy is precisely that a myth. It is rulings like Bush v. Gore or today’s Citizens United v. FEC that remind us of how illegimate the Court is and has always been and that far from strengthening respect for the law the Court has pursued ideology at its expense during most of its existence.

                    • Alan Grayson says:

                      This is a purely political decision. Look at the lineup. Look at the fact that they reversed over 100 years of settled law. Look at the fact that they demanded reargument on this issue. Look at the fact that they could have decided the case a dozen other ways.

                    • Gitcheegumee says:

                      If anyone has not read or listened to FDR’s 1936 Madison Square Garden campaign speech, they are doing themselves a real disservice.

                      It is astonishing that the text of this speech is as vibrant and valid -or perhaps even more so – today than when it was originally spoken.

                      Forthwith a tiny excerpt:

                      “Powerful influences strive today to restore that kind of government with its doctrine that that Government is best which is most indifferent.

                      We had to struggle with the old enemies of peace‹business and financial monopoly, speculation, reckless banking, class antagonism, sectionalism, war profiteering.

                      They had begun to consider the Government of the United States as a mere appendage to their own affairs. We know now that Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob.

                      I should like to have it said of my first Administration that in it the forces of selfishness and of lust for power met their match. I should like to have it said of my second Administration that in it these forces met their master.

                      Here is an amazing paradox! The very employers and politicians and publishers who talk most loudly of class antagonism and the destruction of the American system now undermine that system by this attempt to coerce the votes of the wage earners of this country. It is an old strategy of tyrants to delude their victims into fighting their battles for them”.

                    • cregan says:

                      Indifferent to who? The people? The “people” aren’t just one person and one viewpoint. There are lots of people and lots of different viewpoints.

                      Sure companies can put more money into elections. So can labor unions, Move On.org’s, and every other interest group on BOTH sides of all issues.

                      If the point is that ANY big amount of money is going into campaigns, then you and I would be in solid agreement. It ALL needs to get out.

                      But not like this decision only gives a break to one side.

                      Here’s a real doozy to me. Especially in local and county governmnent elections. Government employee unions pony up a lot of cash in our county and city. More than any other group. And to elect who? People who will be voting and arranging their labor contract and benefits. If that isn’t a direct conflict of interest, I don’t know what is. And, around here, it is no coincidence that government jobs pay far more than any other jobs.

                    • razorbrain says:

                      I agree totally. The fight is not to get them to be perfect, but to limit how far they are permitted to depart from rationality and fairness.

              • Mary says:

                I’ve said this before, but to give it another go, IMO there are way too many impediments (including even in the common law that as adopted by most of the states – through and including international law aspects now)to do anything about entity-hood/quasi-personhood for corporations. What can be done, though, is a rehash on limited liability and directors liability etc. under state law. It was a purely state law fiction, neither recognized by the common law nor the Constitution, to create our elaborate systems of limitations on liability with respect to corporations and their owners and directors and officers.

                I think that states could, constitutionally, set up new rules regarding limitations on liability and concurrently set up a system that public companies can opt into, whereby they can continue to receive limitations on liability consistent with our current limits in exchange for having other regulatory constraints, including limits on campaign spending/propagandizing non-performance related bonuses, additional disclosures and audit controls, etc.

                I won’t expand on it here, but I do agree with you that is someone wants to spend several hours looking at the law, there’s no way other than a constitutional amendment (that won’t happen) to defrock corporations of their “personhood” and if you did, it would be a crippling international commerce issue. But that doesn’t mean there’s not more than one wayt to get to the underlying goals.

                • marcos says:

                  It was a purely state law fiction, neither recognized by the common law nor the Constitution, to create our elaborate systems of limitations on liability with respect to corporations and their owners and directors and officers.

                  Doesn’t Full Faith and Credit mean that we’ll see Delaware have incorporation laws that include limited liability and explicit corporate personhood which other states will required to recognize under Full Faith and Credit?

                  • Mary says:

                    Full faith and credit has nothing to do with “doing business in” aspects. If you want to do business in a state, they are well within their rights to (and do) impose conditions.

                    People forget that a lot of the reason Deleware was so populare wasn’t so much limited liability aspects with the company vis a vis the rest of the world, but rather, internally, with respect to the protections offered to incorporators and Boards of Directors vis a vis shareholders. The other aspect is there, too, but for large corporations looking to get big money, politically looped in, directors, the carrot was that there was almost nothing shareholders could effectively do to them for misfeasance. Shareholders are stuck with Deleware law, bc the “situs” of their transaction with the company is the staet of incorporation. However, to the extent the corp is going into other states to do business with the public at large, then that other states liability laws prevail for activities/transactions within its jurisdiction and it can impose requirements (to certain extents) on non-domestic entities seeking to do business within the state.

                    In addition, with respect to shareholders and directors, some of the federal law aspects have made the Del. status less wunderbar (which also led to a lot of the offshoring of corporations —side sidelight, and the tax amnesty Bush gave to so many who then bunked off again), so no, Deleware incorporation status wouldn’t be a panacea. But you’d need to have enough states willing to take up the issue (which typically happens in a uniform laws proposal, like the UCC – Uniform Commericial Code) and uniform laws proposals have dwindled over the years. A populist upsurge could change that – not likely, but could. Maybe. Kinda sorta.

                • earlofhuntingdon says:

                  Such an amendment would contend, among other things, with more than a thousand large corporations each spending millions in political “free speech” to defeat such an amendment. Bmaz could not be more correct; this is an astounding, though predictable, decision that will permanently affect American life and government in a way adverse to the interests of those of, by and for whom this government was established.

                • Hugh says:

                  Somehow I think conservatives would drop their distaste of the Commerce clause just long enough to bat a suggestion like yours down.

          • marcos says:

            Nether Santa Clara nor Citizens United is “outside of the Constitution”. I don’t like either one any better than you do necessarily, but all this blather and hyperventilating rhetoric (and yours is very minor compared to a lot on this page, so this is not aimed directly at you i4u2bi) is just misdirected anger. We may not like how it has been framed there, but it is all well within the Constitution.

            The constitution means what the SCOTUS says it means at any given time. There is division within the SCOTUS as to the rights of corporations as persons, just like there was division in court in 1986 on Bowers v. Hardwick which was overturned not even 20 years later. This is all quite malleable.

          • Hugh says:

            Nether Santa Clara nor Citizens United is “outside of the Constitution”.

            Perhaps you could discuss what inside or outside the Constitution means to you. Is corporate personhood inside or outside the Constitution, for example? What is the status of corporate personhood within the common law?

              • marcos says:

                The Constitution speaks for itself. What the Supreme Court says is within it and supported by it is, by law, within it.

                At any given moment.

            • bmaz says:

              My point is if the Supreme Court says something is supported by the Constitution, it is, by definition (at least since Marbury v. Madison) legal and within the Constitution as they are the final arbiters of what is and what is not.

              • marcos says:

                My point is if the Supreme Court says something is supported by the Constitution, it is, by definition (at least since Marbury v. Madison) legal and within the Constitution as they are the final arbiters of what is and what is not.

                For the time being.

  42. ThingsComeUndone says:

    Under the Commies the State makes all the decisions under Capitalism the Corporations will be the state and do the same thing. Are Churches now free of any spending limits on political campaigns too or is that next?

    • marcos says:

      We’ll look back on airport anal probes as the good old days.

      We have reached the limits on what we can learn through anal probes.

  43. Gitcheegumee says:

    Reclaim Democracy! Revoke Corporate Corruption of American DemocracyReclaimDemocracy.org is committed to revoking corporate power and reviving grassroots democracy.

    About Us

    Corporate Personhood

    Contact Us Topics

    Presentations

    Corporate Accountability

    Independent Business

    More results from reclaimdemocracy.org »

    This is a wonderful site that I have posted many times. The section entitled The Hidden History of Corporations is worth the trip over ther.

    They have filed amicus briefs in the past on matters related to corporate personhood.

    The entire site is devoted to the issues regarding corporate personhood,and the need to revoke it.

  44. Hugh says:

    Fascism is when government becomes an extension of corporate power and vice versa. This is something that has been building for 30 years. We saw in the destruction of union power under Reagan. Indeed Reagan with the savings and loan scandals and tax cuts for the rich and corporations was a dry run for what was to come later. We saw it when Clinton brought neoliberalism to town, which in translation means the day the Democrats went corporate. His Administration with its rollback of Glass-Steagall and deregulation of derivatives created the conditions for the housing bubble Bush promoted and led to the meltdown and the rise of the TBTF. We saw it when ordinary Americans were thrown to curb in the Bush and Obama’s rush to shovel trillions to the banksters, buy up their bad debts, and put those same ordinary Americans on the hook for it, all no questions asked. We saw how the banksters far from chastened by the experience took the money, went back to their old ways, and torpedoed attempts at even symbolic regulation.

    The housing bubble burst and the meltdown simply tore away the curtain and removed the facades. Our government is totally corrupt, completely divorced from the needs of the people, and incapable of reform. It has become, in all of its three branches, a creature of the corporations. Today’s Supreme Court decision simply validates what has already happened. Our government is no longer ours. It belongs to the rich and corporations who are tired of pretense and want to make it very clear to all of us. That government is theirs. They paid for it. And we should all shut the fuck up and let them get on with the serious business of looting the country, thank you very much.

    • Gitcheegumee says:

      The very worst government that corporate money can buy.

      What was the term Dylan Ratigan used the other day,

      “Corporate Communism”?

      • robspierre says:

        Let’s remember that Lenin and Stalin never got around to the communist society. They only got to the intermediary phase: centrally planned, State capitalism with State-sanctioned monopolies controlling each sector of the economy.

        Sound familiar? Heck, some companies even have five-year plans.

        • marcos says:

          Sound familiar? Heck, some companies even have five-year plans.

          The corporate form is one of the most authoritarian forms imaginable.

  45. cbl2 says:

    bamz – thanks for the reportage – you’ve done a great job setting realistic expectations throughout

  46. okii says:

    A new jurisprudence took over in the USA starting in 1980, which rejects intellect and reason as a basis for decision making. This is occurring in all article III courts across America today.

  47. marcos says:

    It has become increasingly clear that for us, as for the Founding Fathers, revolution is the onl option left. SEE–Declaration of Independence.

    There is a reason why the Byzantine empire spawned an adjective in the years leading up to its collapse, and when that adjective is applicable, its a fair sign that, combined with mire in Afghanistan, we are about to meet a similar fate.

  48. Gitcheegumee says:

    This piece goes WAY back to the beginning history of US corporations -long before the Santa Clara matter.

    A VERY informative article, WELL worth reading

    History of Corporations (United States)Reclaim Democracy – Restoring Citizen Authority Over Corporations · Home · About Us · Primers … Our Hidden History of Corporations in the United States …

    http://www.reclaimdemocracy.org/…/history_corporations_us.html – Cached – Similar

    [PDF] Our Hidden Corporate HistoryFile Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat – Quick View

    OUR HIDDEN HISTORY. #1. #1 in a series of primers on corporations and democracy … ly to free us from corporate rule in the past: * The corporation is an …

    http://www.reclaimdemocracy.org/pdf/…/hidden_corporate_history.pdf – Similar

    Show more results from http://www.reclaimdemocracy.org

  49. TarheelDem says:

    My conservative friends argue it this way. A corporation is an association of individuals; the Constitution gives freedom of individuals to associate and freedom of individuals to speak. Having decided that freedom of speech includes freedom to purchase a megaphone (an extension of freedom of the press), that freedom is guaranteed to individuals acting in association. The fact that a corporation’s purpose is making a profit does not affect the fact that it is an association of individuals.

    There are certain implications of this decision that no doubt will be explored. (1) Should 503(c)(3) corporations be required to set up other corporations under IRS regulations in order to contribute to campaigns? (2) Can churches under their incorporated legal entity contribute directly to campaigns, or is that a backdoor establishment of religion? (3) Does this not mean that individuals, in order to have equal rights, should be able to incorporate to limit their liability?

    No doubt, from the perspective of the law all of these questions are specious.

    • Praedor says:

      Besides a new and expanded Fairness Doctrine, we simply need a blanket campaign finance law that limits ALL political donations and spending by individuals (even “quasi-individuals”) to $2500. Period. They can blow it all by giving it to a single candidate or they can spend it ALL on an advertisement but that is the limit. People cannot combine together and spend $2500 x no. of people to get around it because at that point it becomes an “association person” and is limited to the $2500 limit.

    • Hugh says:

      A corporation is an association of individuals

      A mob is also an association of individuals but there are sharp restrictions on what it can and can not do. Can a corporation go to jail for its actions? We have seen in the last few years a whole host of corporations guilty of many felonies yet how many have been convicted? If a corporation is to enjoy the same rights as an individual than it must incur the same duties and responsibilities as one. Indeed the same limitations as one. Corporations today are potentially immortal. Their resources are vastly greater than those of individuals. How can they be treated as individuals when they so obviously aren’t?

    • robspierre says:

      I always answer this argument as follows:

      Corporations are not just associations of individuals. They are associations of individuals that get to shelter their debts behind a fictitious legal entity, the corporation. The corporation can go bankrupt without risking the individual fortunes behind it. So members of the association get the benefit of borrowing and making money, without the risks facing an individual in the same position. This is the reason why corporations exist.

      There is a Constitutional right to associate. But there is no right to dodge your debts, as near as I know (tell me if I’m wrong–I could do stuff with a right like that). Like bankruptcy, incorporation is the creation of the legislature and the legislature can define it–or take it away–as it likes.

      As an individual associate of a large corporation (employee and small shareholder), I can donate to political campaigns legally now. But I can’t, for instance, charge a $100,000 donation to a credit card, not pay it back, and then shelter my personal bank accounts, cars, house, etc. behind the corporate persona.

      So, I don’t need to be a Supreme Court Justice to know that associations and corporations are different and that restrictions on corproate political donations aren’t un-Consitutional. All a corporation has to do in order to give freely is to give up its incorporated status and become a plain old free association again. Of course, every shareholder and officer then becomes liable for every invoice the association fails to pay and every legal judgment entered against it. Any one of them could lose his house at any time.

  50. BillWalker says:

    Naomi Wolf’s “Fascist America in 10 Easy Steps”

    1. Invoke a terrifying internal and external enemy
    2. Create a gulag
    3. Develop a thug caste
    4. Set up an internal surveillance system
    5. Harass citizens’ groups
    6. Engage in arbitrary detention and release
    7. Target key individuals
    8. Control the press
    9. Dissent equals treason
    10. Suspend the rule of law

    “”The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands … is the definition of tyranny,” wrote James Madison. We still have the choice to stop going down this road; we can stand our ground and fight for our nation, and take up the banner the founders asked us to carry.”
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2007/apr/24/usa.comment

  51. marcos says:

    My conservative friends argue it this way. A corporation is an association of individuals; the Constitution gives freedom of individuals to associate and freedom of individuals to speak. Having decided that freedom of speech includes freedom to purchase a megaphone (an extension of freedom of the press), that freedom is guaranteed to individuals acting in association. The fact that a corporation’s purpose is making a profit does not affect the fact that it is an association of individuals.

    Intact precedent still allows for corporate campaign expenditures to be limited for closely drawn instances where money is linked to (the appearance of) corruption.

  52. Mary says:

    The handwriting has been on the wall on this as a 5-4 since the oral argument, but it is still pretty damn depressing.

    Nice write bmaz, and nice job hanging in there for the 1st amendment, even in the ugly cases. Isn’t it kind of mind boggling, though, that the Sup Ct can get so incensed over protecting a corporation’s “right” to buy politicians (and judges in campaign states), but not be bothered to even take up cases where the Exec tortures.

    Hard to be proud of any of our institutions these days.

  53. Hugh says:

    Schumer is ranting against it. What a hypocritical idiot.

    Our whole political class are hypocrites. There probably aren’t 5 legislators in the Congress and no one in the White House whose soul is not owned by the corps. Any indignation or outrage expressed by them is just so much pap for the rubes. They haven’t gotten the message yet from their masters that placating the mob is passé. The new order of the day is that the public can rot.

  54. marcos says:

    We need public financing that matches whatever the corporations are able to throw at elections. That will be less expansive in the long run than to leave elections relatively undefended by non-moneyed interests.

    I would add that the Democrats rolled over for Alito and Roberts in a way that the Republicans never did for the Democrats.

  55. cbl2 says:

    and I’m sure Master of the Electoral Universe Emanuel must feel so good about ‘locking’ the Stakeholders out of GOP coffers now

  56. moster says:

    *OBAMA: BANKS SHOULDN’T USE `CHEAP MONEY’ TO TRADE FOR PROFIT

    About figgin time, they’ve only been doing it for a year…..

    Like he just discovered this, and only now people in the WH are starting to get a clue where this year’s profits for the MOTUs is coming from?

    Also, notice SHOULDN’T. (Oratoric vs concrete).

  57. BillWalker says:

    I think state governments should radically scale back expenditures.

    Debt equals slavery, and I wouldn’t want to be beholden to the federal government in times like these.

    • marcos says:

      I think state governments should radically scale back expenditures.

      Debt equals slavery, and I wouldn’t want to be beholden to the federal government in times like these.

      Debt only equals slavery if the currency in which the debt is issued remains valuable over the timeframe of the loan. That will not be a problem for us.

  58. marcos says:

    Senator Stabenow from MI mentioned that the nuclear option to change the rules of the Senate concerning cloture required 2/3 vote. Earlier in the last decade, the GOP had threatened to invoke the nuclear option to speed up the approval of conservative judges. How could the GOP have made that threat if it was a show stopper politically, that enough Dems would not support it so as to make 2/3 unattainable?

    • Hugh says:

      Senator Stabenow from MI mentioned that the nuclear option to change the rules of the Senate concerning cloture required 2/3 vote

      This is just typical politicalese for “We would like to do something but it is impossible.” It is more pap for the rubes and is almost always based on what are quite simply lies.

  59. i4u2bi says:

    There’s always that other thing in the Constitution…something about citizens revolting against the established government when the government becomes too much anti democracy

  60. tejanarusa says:

    Not having read anything but the bare facts reports and your post, bmaz, I’m just here to join the wake.

    The only bright side I see is that Sotomayor voted with the dissenters.

    Not sure I have the fortitude to read the whole opinion.

    Disappointed in Kennedy.

    Mad props, though, to bmaz for being so on top of this.

  61. Starbuck says:

    Also, just because Scotus says that we hafta allow unfettered corporate campaign financing, Congress doesn’t hafta take the money.

    • marcos says:

      Also, just because Scotus says that we hafta allow unfettered corporate campaign financing, Congress doesn’t hafta take the money.

      Just like rats in a cage that can press the bar for cocaine don’t have to press the bar for more cocaine but they do.

  62. reggelston says:

    This is the same corrupt court that stole the election with its conduct in 2000. Why is everyone so damn suprised that they confuse free speech with allowing corporate interests to throw money at Congress?

  63. okii says:

    so now, we can make medicines that kill people and buy representatives

    who will look the other way. i feel safer now. if you create a corporation for the express purpose of expressing a group’s political opinion (isn’t that what a political party is?), it seems that is different than creating a corporation for the express purpose of making money. In the real world, the Na’vi are road putty.

  64. robspierre says:

    What I find most frightening is this: has it occurred to anyone else that our Supremos are not all that bright and/or all that honest? One kind of expects it of other branches of government. But naively, one sort of thinks judges should be better.

    Even compared to our earlier history, this crop of Justices seems dim and self-centered. They seem ready to rule whatever way they feel like no matter what the words on the page seem to say and without even considering the consequences–such as hostile, foreign-controlled companies buying elections.

  65. marcos says:

    I’d like to see RICO used against the Democrats and Republicans for collusion in the illegal restraint of trade by creating an effective electoral monopoly; all who wish to participate meaningfully in politics must pay rent to the duopoly for the privilege.

    • bmaz says:

      There is no predicate crime under RICO for restraint of trade; you would have to fashion your claim under bribery, money laundering and/or fraud.

      • marcos says:

        There is no predicate crime under RICO for restraint of trade; you would have to fashion your claim under bribery, money laundering and/or fraud.

        Doesn’t RICO say that any entity that engages in a conspiracy to illegally restrain trade, as in antitrust, can be sued for treble damages?

        • bmaz says:

          To the best of my knowledge, the are often used in conjunction with each other, but trade restraint is not a specified offense under RICO. I could be wrong, but that is my understanding.

      • Hugh says:

        There is no predicate crime under RICO for restraint of trade; you would have to fashion your claim under bribery, money laundering and/or fraud

        Which I have argued in the past is an appropriate legal vehicle to go after the banksters.

  66. TasteofFreedom says:

    Obama ought to take a leaf out of FDR’s book, pack the court, and overturn this while loudly proclaiming his respect for stare decisis. Yeah right. Fat chance.

  67. Knut says:

    On the other hand, the United States isn’t like Italy, where Berlusconi seems to own just about everything. Here the corps will fight it outfor the right to loot the American people. It might just end up in stalemate, like the First World War. A lot of collateral damage on the way, though.

  68. marcos says:

    Isn’t there some point at which, when all of us are without jobs, health care or housing, we just don’t have any money to buy what the corporations are selling, and they’ll fail?

    We can only hope that the elites finish building their spacecraft with which to get off this rock, or that the rapture finally comes, so that we can be rid of them and begin to fashion a society based on contemporary values.

  69. chitowner says:

    The final jewel for which conservative Republicans and complicit DINOs have worked so hard for forty years to obtain has now been placed on the crown of corporatism. At last, all three branches are again legally joined as government of the corporations, by the corporations and for the corporations. Disgusting.

  70. Gitcheegumee says:

    One of the less publicized features of RICO involves immigration law.

    Here is an exceptional article:

    RICO: A New Tool for Immigration Law Enforcement – Center for …Dec 3, 2001 … A third RICO case currently in the courts is Trollinger v. …. banks to record the type of document used by an account applicant. … 7 Elizabeth Amon, New RICO Target: Hiring Illegal Aliens, National Law Journal, Dec. …

    http://www.cis.org/articles/2003/back1103.html – Cached

  71. marcos says:

    To the best of my knowledge, the are often used in conjunction with each other, but trade restraint is not a specified offense under RICO. I could be wrong, but that is my understanding.

    The McCarran act prohibits monopolistic illegal restraint of trade, and RICO says that if there is a conspiracy to commit crimes, such as violating McCarran, then that adds additional liability.

    Inherent to the notion that corporations are entitled to unlimited free corporate speech is the notion that such speech and the politics it engenders are trade and hence covered under the law.

  72. maym says:

    The Supreme Court has upheld limits free speech limits on advertising that is false and misleading. Is there any way to get around today’s ruling by focusing on eliminating false and misleading campaign ads regardless of who pays for them?
    Also, we as TV viewers could start demanding higher standards in the campaign ads the networks run.

  73. marcos says:

    Another suggestion I heard is for localities to divest from corporations that spend from their treasuries on election campaigns.

  74. DeadLast says:

    Would it be worth the effort to get a national grass roots effort to overturn this decision by getting three-fourths of the states to declare that a fictitious entity such as a corporation is not a person and therefore is not granted the rights, privileges, and obligations of the constitution?

  75. marcos says:

    You are buying into common fables. Please read the discussion above, especially @193. You might also want to take a look at 1 USC 1 which specifies for all US laws:

    the words “person” and “whoever” include corporations, companies, associations, firms, partnerships, societies, and joint stock companies, as well as individuals;

    So Congress could amend this provision to call the question before the SCOTUS in a more direct manner.

  76. earlofhuntingdon says:

    This is nation-shattering. The highest court in the land, against whose judgment there is no appeal, has just given all the accessible water rights to the capital barons, condemning citizen sheep herders to the margins and the hills not fit for goats. In the right’s ubiquitous comparison of bible and government, it has placed a corporate idol on the altar of government.

    Corporations are implacable to their employees. Ordinary citizens have no ability to slake their thirst, except through the occasional threats of mass boycotts. Those won’t work against the entire Fortune 1000 and their 45,000 lobbyists on K Street. Court cases can be overturned, but no one thinks that Obama’s choice of new justices will enable that. They are much more likely to increase this court’s scandalous majority.

    This court’s decision elevates the status of organized, perpetual, profit seeking-only capital and pits its political interests directly against those of human beings. It has taken the last step toward oligarchy and set it in stone.

    The commitments we make to ourselves, our families, our communities, churches, towns, states and country we meet partly through wielding our own small Excalibur each time we step into a voting booth. The Supreme Court has encased ours in the tight grasp of corporate granite, while freeing the knights of capital to roam the political landscape. How long will we wait, what political, social and economic deprivations will follow, as we work and wait for another Arthur to pull our collective swords from the stone?

  77. Fenestrate says:

    Any surprise Mitch McConnell thinks this is just wonderful?

    “For too long, some in this country have been deprived of full participation in the political process. With today’s monumental decision, the Supreme Court took an important step in the direction of restoring the First Amendment rights of these groups by ruling that the Constitution protects their right to express themselves about political candidates and issues up until Election Day,” he said.

    from The Hill.

  78. dreamsofprogress says:

    Alright, if it’s now legal and you can’t fetter with the free speech rights of corporate personhoods, why don’t we just tax any corporate campaign offerings at 90% of their value?

  79. Fenestrate says:

    *g* what’s next? Congress critters doing paid sponsorship ads like athletes? Maybe Reid could be the official spokesperson for the Sands?

  80. Synoia says:

    Can I form a corporation and have the corporation run for a seat?

    Perhaps we should have a law where congress members have to display their corporate affiliations, as they do in Nascar.

  81. tejanarusa says:

    People, for heaven’s sake. Do you have any idea how much work bmaz has put in, outside of his regular income-earning work, to provide this analysis?

    Sure, we can all disagree, but a chief reason for the success of FDL is that we do not get personal in our disagreements. And we don’t SHOUT at each other.

    Also, bmaz has lots and lots of credibility from the length of time we have known him, and have been reading his analyses and commentary.

    Some of the nastiest posters today have no such credibility, having appeared rarely or not at all before.

    Take it easy, for heaven’s sake. Just because today’s decision makes us angry does not mean it’s okay to bash and disrespect people who have done a terrific job for the sake of FDL and its readers.

    • razorbrain says:

      Since you are apparently referring to me, I’ll respond.

      Firstly, I’m an old-timer here, although for years I used a different screen name.

      Secondly, I thoroughly agree with you that dialogue should be resspectful, but I’m quite sure bmaz violated that principle first in his (unfounded) dismissal and characterization of my comments.

      OK? Let’s reset. I think we all agree this decision is a catastrophe for American democracy. I agree thaat what the Supremes say, goes, for the time being.

      My point is there must be a foindation block for all the jurisprudence that has grown up around corporate personhood, and I don’t believe thaat foundation has ever been laid. I challeenged bmaz to show otherwise, and he ridiculed me instead.

      I challenge him again.

  82. behindthefall says:

    How do other countries handle “corporate personhood”?

    Another thought. What’s the nationality of a corporation? When the Chinese have a controlling stake in an ostensibly U.S. corporation, do we start to restrict their rights to speech? And if “speech equals money” if you’re a corporation, do they have a right to spend $$$ how and where they like?

    Add your own examples.

    • bobschacht says:

      What’s the nationality of a corporation?

      This is an interesting question, with consequences. Does the First Amendment apply to foreigners? If so, could, say, Raul Castro under the current ruling pay for ads in Miami supporting Cuban interests?

      Now, foreign corporations like Toyota have American offices, and do advertise. But they have to register as an American corporation to do that, don’t they? Isn’t that how foreign corporations become “citizens”?

      Bob in AZ

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        It also raises the question of which corporation, what level of subsidiary, you’re talking about. It’s a question that often comes up in connection with foreign investment laws and tax cases that deal with “doing business” issues such as from where and through whose actions do legal persons “make” decisions.

        The US is behind many other jurisdictions in the sophistication and nuance – indeed, the appropriate protectiveness – of its laws on this point. Domestically incorporated subsidiaries are usually considered legal persons of the state that issues their charter. They normally must register in other states in order to do business there. More intrusive definitions arise in change of ownership cases reviewed by, eg., the CFIUS.

        In foreign settings, the factors that determine nationality vary and depend on the purpose for which that nationality is relevant. For tax and doing business purposes, they include the nationality of its board of directors and where they meet and make decisions. From the UK’s perspective, for example, a foreign limited liability company whose senior “managers” are English and where major business decisions are made in England, could easily be deemed to be “English” for UK taxation purposes, foreign for a wide variety of other purposes, such as compliance with labor, trading and other laws.

        The US will need new, more detailed regulations to answer the many questions raised by this novel decision. So business friendly and conflict averse an administration as this is not one I would expect to meet that challenge, either.

  83. Neil says:

    Shareholders need to fight for corporate charter defined authority to restrict expenditures on political advertising.

    What’s really interesting is that investors who are not US citizens can gain controlling shares and inject shareholder assets into races and issues in the US to advocate whatever positions they may choose.

    • banderson2 says:

      Great point. There was a recent story about how some Arabian princes had large amount of stock in Rubert Murdochs company (BTW he is not American either) and they were looking to invest more in American products.

    • Alan Grayson says:

      It would be nice if shareholders asserted themselves, but shareholder democracy itself is a function of the law.

  84. earlofhuntingdon says:

    The Supreme Court is the only American federal court not bound by its own precedent. It just laid the only necessary foundation for its decision by rendering this decision. Subsequent cases will be needed to flesh out the muscles and tendons of this decision, but its skeleton is the tallest one in the room.

  85. readerOfTeaLeaves says:

    No time to read 241 comments, but just a note:
    I think that this is going to blowback.
    Hugely.

    If SCOTUS wanted to feed anti-corporate, anti-Wall Street resentment, they could not have picked a better way.

    And although I’ve not read the decision, it is one more ‘unveiling’ of both Alito and Roberts, which is not entirely a bad thing.

  86. DWBartoo says:

    Since declaring that money, effectively, is speech, the Court has wandered ever deeper into Dred Scott territory.

    The Court’s arrogant dismissal of human reality (however prettified up it might be with ribbons of “free speech” and garlands of claims that “this is part of the first Amendment”) will have very dire human (flesh and blood) consequences, precisely as it did in the past.

    It is to be noted, that in both instances, the Court has chosen to side with the “higher” needs of the major “players” in the prevailing economic winds. Who, coincidentaly, no doubt, were and are the “have-mores”.

    The epiphictic classes NEVER know when enough is enough.

    Therefore, it falls to the people, to make a choice; Either they may choose to compromise with the comfort of doing nothing, which will be short-lived and end up offering them no choices … or they can choose to stand with conscience, which will be hard but might, possibly, allow them some choices in the future.

    I suggested somewhat more than a year ago (upsetting Christy, to no good end, I fear) that the concept of the “rule of law” had become a joke because it didn’t exist any longer and that the purpose of the law had become merely to serve as a bludgeon for the powerful.

    It is fitting now, to suggest that there are but two “real” crimes in America today, having no money and having no power.

    DW

    • razorbrain says:

      EXACTLY RIGHT. At some point, one must look past the bullshit of form and see into the reality of substance.

      Corporations are not persons.

      A system of laws and governance that violates its own basic precepts needs to be flushed into the toilet of history, by any necessary means.

      If that upsets the dedicated pacifists, too bad. Their dedicated pacifism upsets me. And enables the fascists.

    • Hugh says:

      It is fitting now, to suggest that there are but two “real” crimes in America today, having no money and having no power.

      Wonderfully well said. What we are seeing everyday now is the stuff of which revolutions are made.

  87. banderson2 says:

    Ladies and Gentlemen this is the beginning of the end. I wonder how the media is going to spin this story. This ruling by the Supreme Court is definitely the most important thing that has affected this country in generations and I wonder how the politicians, media, and public will approach it. BTW if anyone paid attention to the Chambers of Commerce last week that would have heard that apparently someone in that organization had a heads up on this ruling because they stated that anyone who was for healthcare or big government they would use all thier money against them in the upcoming mid-term elections.

  88. GregB says:

    I would recommend that all lefties and liberals do at least two things to help reduce the amount of money that goes towards corporations that will in turn abuse us all.

    1) Stop smoking and buying cigarettes.

    2) Rip up your membership to the Chamber of Commerce.

    Those are two concrete things you can to.

    -G

  89. Mesa Mick says:

    Now that the SCOTUS has made it possible for the US to become a corporate fascist state fuck it, you chumps that think this is decison is not going to destroy us then can have this “nation” – I’m moving to Canada…

  90. redX says:

    Nother nail in the coffin.

    Pity that all we have to balance the court is the “moderate” Obama appointments – after all everyone knows the way to deal with hard-right appoitments is soft-right appointments. Its also a good idea to keep all the people from the Bush admin.

    This is worse than any news I have heard in 1 year… and that is saying much. I daresay I could go back to 9-12-2001 and this would rank in the top 3 worst political news.

  91. redX says:

    Nice timing by SCOUTS as well – looks like they are smart enough to provide any cover they can by “deciding” (as if they already had not) right after the big news in MA.

    Don’t know why they try to hide what they are doing though – the media is doing a bang up job on that.

    “I drive a truck, so bend over.”

  92. Gitcheegumee says:

    @#244Well, a month ago the Supreme delved waist deep into Dred Scott.To wit, an excerpt from Empire Burlesque:

    Dred Scott Redux: Obama and the Supremes Stand Up for Slavery

    Written by Chris Floyd

    Friday, 18 December 2009

    “While we were all out doing our Christmas shopping, the highest court in the land quietly put the kibosh on a few more of the remaining shards of human liberty.

    It happened earlier this week, in a discreet ruling that attracted almost no notice and took little time. In fact, our most august defenders of the Constitution did not have to exert themselves in the slightest to eviscerate not merely 220 years of Constitutional jurisprudence but also centuries of agonizing effort to lift civilization a few inches out of the blood-soaked mire that is our common human legacy. They just had to write a single sentence.

    Here’s how the bad deal went down. After hearing passionate arguments from the Obama Administration, the Supreme Court acquiesced to the president’s fervent request and, in a one-line ruling, let stand a lower court decision that declared torture an ordinary, expected consequence of military detention, while introducing a shocking new precedent for all future courts to follow: anyone who is arbitrarily declared a “suspected enemy combatant” by the president or his designated minions is no longer a “person.” They will simply cease to exist as a legal entity. They will have no inherent rights, no human rights, no legal standing whatsoever — save whatever modicum of process the government arbitrarily deigns to grant them from time to time, with its ever-shifting tribunals and show trials. Obviously, giving government the power to render whole classes of people “unpersons” was not an interesting subject for our media arbiters. It was news that wasn’t fit to print.”

    Link to follow

      • Gitcheegumee says:

        Indeed it is distubning beyond words. Evidently,imho,that is why so comparatively little was written about it..

        A couple of weeks later,who is NEVER at a loss for words , wrote another superb piece as a follow up.

        Here is an excerpt,but the piece/s should be read in their entirety.—————

        Update on Our Brave New Slavery: Yes, It Applies to American Citizens, Too

        Written by Chris Floyd
        Wednesday, 30 December 2009

        I wrote a piece here a few days ago on a recent ruling by the Supreme Court, in which the justices agreed with the passionate plea of the Obama Administration to uphold — and establish as legal precedent — some of the most egregious of the Bush Administration’s authoritarian perversions. One of the attorneys involved in the case rightly likened the ruling to the infamous 1857 Dred Scott decision, in which the Court declared that any person of African descent brought to the United States as a slave — or their descendants, even if they had been freed — could never be citizens of the United States and were not protected by the Constitution. They were non-persons under the law; sub-humans.

        I noted the grim irony that this principle of non-personhood had now been reintroduced into the law of the land by our first African-American president. (But this is only to be expected, given the law of opposites that so often governs American politics: only a lifelong Red-baiter like Nixon could make an opening to Communist China; only a supposed liberal like Bill Clinton could gut the federal welfare system. And only an African-American president could reintroduce the principle of slavery and get away with it. No doubt it will be a woman president who finally re-imposes a total ban on abortion.)

        The many decisions by the Supreme Court and lower courts upholding the federal government’s authoritarian power to strip Terror War captives of inherent and inalienable legal rights are part of a larger framework that applies both in theory and in practice to everyone — American citizens included.
        What we are seeing is the construction of a new “social contract,” the open codification of a new relationship between the individual and the state, in which all powers and rights reside solely in the latter, which can bestow them or withhold them at will, arbitrarily, unaccountable. In contrast, it is the individual who must be totally accountable to the state. The state is bound by no law, but the individual is subject to them all — including “secret laws” and decrees and executive orders of which he or she has no knowledge.

        Empire Burlesque, Link to follow

  93. redX says:

    I heard Obama might give a speech this week about how is going to do stuff and whatnot.

    I “hope” he was positioning things to ride that unicorn right at “change” in his second year – more likely its just talk.

    Watch KO, Maddow, and Daily Show from yesterday – intellegent and priceless. The best line by far was Maddow to Dem Senator talking about waiting and seeing if the R’s are going to come around:

    “Well I hate to ruin the ending for you…. but I don’t think its going to happen.”

    People can’t be that stupid if they are that rich and powerful, I think people are fed up with the bullshit.

  94. redX says:

    Oh, and then they need a bailout – so we have to pay them again.

    Oh, and then they clean the table on the stock market every 10 years and take the money again.

    Oh, and….

    HOPELESS

  95. redX says:

    Oh, and money used to pay for this obviously does not go into wages (rather it goes into lower wages and fighting workers).

  96. Surtt says:

    The obvious next step is giving corporations the right to vote.

    How many votes do you think Goldman-Sachs deserve?
    10? maybe 50 million?

    • Gitcheegumee says:

      And you can believe that the corporations will be savvy enough to DEMAND a papertrail to validate their votes! /s

  97. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Is it just a coincidence that this decision’s majority almost exactly mirrors this court’s majority in Bush v. Gore and that they are all strident Republicans – or farther right?

    So much for the aspiration that the law is above politics; this court’s rhetoric aside, at this level, the law is simply another venue through which the battles of politics are waged, and the right has claimed a decisive victory over the people.

  98. Gitcheegumee says:

    @281

    Update on Our Brave New Slavery: Yes, It Applies to American …Dec 30, 2009 … Update on Our Brave New Slavery: Yes, It Applies to American Citizens, … could reintroduce the principle of slavery and get away with it. …
    http://www.chris-floyd.com/…news/1893-update-on-our-brave-new-slavery-yes-it-applies-to-american-citizens-too.html – Cached

    NOTE: In the time frame this piece was written there appeared to be some synchronicity among writers using the analogy of serfdom and slavery…

    (I kinda like think EW was the impetus for that series of analogies.)

    • klynn says:

      Have you thought of writing a diary on this?

      Thanks for your comments and links.

      I am not going to sleep at all tonight.

  99. Gitcheegumee says:

    I wonder just exactly WHAT is the next lowest common denominator by which they will reduce us even further from the semblance of democracy?

  100. progressivepopulist says:

    Seems it is time to get to the root of this problem and Amend the Constitution to Abolish Corporate Personhood.

    Corporate Personhood is the doctrine that a corporation can claim to be a person, and therefore entitled to basic human rights – also described as political and civil rights – and have courts overturn laws.

    As this decision clearly demonstrates, corporate personhood is not an inconsequential legal technicality. Consider this – the Supreme Court ruled that a corporation was a “legal person” with 14th Amendment protections before the Court granted full personhood to African Americans, immigrants, Native Americans, and women.

    Check these folks out: http://www.MoveToAmend.org.

    They’re calling for a Constitutional Amendment that will:

    * Firmly establish that money is not speech, and that human beings, not corporations, are persons entitled to constitutional rights.
    * Guarantee the right to vote and to participate, and to have our votes and participation count.
    * Protect local communities, their economies, and democracies against illegitimate “preemption” actions by global, national, and state governments.

    You can sign on to the Motion too.

    • Alan Grayson says:

      It will take true bipartisanship to get any constitutional amendment passed. Which we haven’t seen much, lately. But an Act of Congress is a different story.

  101. Neil says:

    I wonder if we could look at shareholder registrations for the fortune 500 and demonstrate the percentage of stock owned by non US citizens.

    It seems to me granting foreigners the right to influence US elections through the expenditure of extensive financial resources is a fundamental concern. Unfortunately, this leads to the money is fungible paradox too.

    • Alan Grayson says:

      Right – opening elections to foreign influence is one problem that even SCOTUS had to acknowledge, in its decision.

  102. Alan Grayson says:

    Keep your hands off that red button.

    Seriously, panic doesn’t help. You could see it coming. That’s why we already had five bills filed, last week.

    • razorbrain says:

      Panic has the virtue of possibly leading to rage, sir. Welcome to FDL, I am a great admirer of your recent activities.

  103. Gitcheegumee says:

    @#311

    FDR Madison Square Garden Speech 1936President Franklin D. Roosevelt October 31, 1936. Madison Square Garden Speech Senator Wagner, Governor Lehman, ladies and gentlemen: …

    history.sandiego.edu/gen/text/us/fdr1936.html – Cached – Similar

    Doc of the Day: FDR’s 1936 campaign address at Madison Square …Oct 31, 2008 … President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s October 31, 1936, campaign speech to a cheering audience in New York City’s Madison Square Garden …

    blog.milestonedocuments.com/…/doc-of-the-day-fdrs-1936-campaign-address-at-madison-square-garden/ – Cached – Similar

    Our Documents – President Franklin Roosevelt’s Radio Address …In this radio address, President Franklin Roosevelt announced a second set of … In this campaign speech delivered at Madison Square Garden on October 31, …

    http://www.ourdocuments.gov/doc.php?flash=old&doc=69 – Cached – Similar

  104. earlofhuntingdon says:

    “Essentially, five Justices were unhappy with the limited nature of the case before us, so they changed the case to give themselves the opportunity to change the law.”

    — Dissenting opinion of Stevens, J., p. 6, Citizens United v. FEC, Jan. 21, 2010.

    Isn’t it Republicans who constantly harp and whine about “judicial activism”?

  105. sinestar says:

    Corporations want to be treated like special people. They don’t accept the death penalty when they get caught killing people by dumping toxic waste in aquifers. They squawk and moan whenever a jury find them guilty and the fines they have to pay are too injurious for them.

    Yeah, I bet most people would like to get away with it if they decided to rob a bank. “Now, just give that money back John Q. and don’t you go robbing banks again. Oh yeah. $50 fine. That’ll teach’ya.” Don’t bother putting them in prison for 20 years for armed robbery or anything.

    If corporations wanna be people, they should be treated like people, in every sense of the word. When warranted we the REAL PEOPLE should be able to remand them TO MENTAL INSTITUTIONS FOR BEHAVING LIKE TOTAL FUCKING SOCIOPATHS! FORCE THEM TO CEASE BUSINESS FOR 20 YEARS! DISMANTLE THE COMPANY AND SELL THE SCRAPS TO BENEFIT THE STATE (DEATH PENALTY)!

    But that would be to harsh wouldn’t it?

  106. Gitcheegumee says:

    @#327

    Tax Justice Network promotes transparency in international finance and opposes secrecy. We support a level playing field on tax and we oppose loopholes …
    http://www.taxjustice.net/ – Cached – Similar
    About TJN
    Corruption and Offshore
    Contact us
    Magnitudes and Measurements Newsletter

    Co-operation, Competition on Tax
    Activities
    More results from taxjustice.net »

    About TJN – taxjustice networkJan 28, 2009 … The International Secretariat operates as Tax Justice Network International Secretariat Limited, a UK registered company limited by …
    http://www.taxjustice.net/cms/front_content.php?idcat=78 – Cached – Similar

    Tax Justice Network: MarchThe Tax Justice Network (TJN) is an international, non-aligned coalition of researchers and activists with a shared concern about the harmful impacts of tax …
    taxjustice.blogspot.com/…/ending-offshore-secrecy-system.html – Cached – Similar

    Show more results from taxjustice.blogspot.com

    This site deals with international tax issues everyday-not to mention the political implications of global corporations.

    As such, this group of researchers may have many of the answers regarding the questions being posed here.

    The blog is especially good,btw.

  107. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Paraphrasing Stevens at pp. 20-21 of his dissent:

    — “Going forward, corporations and unions will be free to spend as much of their general funds as they want to back or attack specific electoral candidates, but political parties will not be able to spend a dime of soft money of any kind. This Court’s ruling dramatically enhances the role of corporations in determining who will hold public office.” —

    That will have national, 50-state effects. Lest you think it only applies to whether Brown or Coakley wins in Massachusetts, it won’t. It will affect every election and the consequences that flow from it. Every dog catcher, school board member, judge, mayor, town councils, governor, state legislature, Congresscritter and president. Welcome to a brave new world, where the antics of California’s dysfunctional proposition system will look like child’s play.

    Razorbrain is correct, we need a coordinated political effort to combat the effects of this decision before they become too entrenched. It will be as easy as raising rice in the Utah desert.

  108. earlofhuntingdon says:

    On reflection, the health insurance “reform” process will become the norm for legislation, too, as well as for each political office multiple large corporations take an interest in.

  109. Gitcheegumee says:

    @336

    Did you actually get a chance to read the speech?

    As I said, it is an excerpt.

    Perhaps if you read it in context to its preceding and subsequent paragraphs, it may be more cohesive.

  110. Fenestrate says:

    Here’s an untouched upon thought from Heather Gerken at Balkinization:

    In my view, the real significance of the case lies in what the Court said Congress can do going forward. The Court severely limited both the arguments and the types of evidence Congress can invoke when it regulates in the future. In doing so, it overruled other precedent without saying so. Austin, it seems to me, was a goner anyway. The real hope for future campaign-finance reform turned not on Austin¸ but on what constitutes corruption and what evidence Congress can gather to show it exists. The Court has now cut back substantially on both fronts. While that part of the opinion won’t get nearly as much press, it’s the part of the opinion that will matter most in the future.

  111. Fenestrate says:

    Here’s an untouched upon thought from Heather Gerken at Balkinization:

    In my view, the real significance of the case lies in what the Court said Congress can do going forward. The Court severely limited both the arguments and the types of evidence Congress can invoke when it regulates in the future. In doing so, it overruled other precedent without saying so. Austin, it seems to me, was a goner anyway. The real hope for future campaign-finance reform turned not on Austin¸ but on what constitutes corruption and what evidence Congress can gather to show it exists. The Court has now cut back substantially on both fronts. While that part of the opinion won’t get nearly as much press, it’s the part of the opinion that will matter most in the future.

  112. bobschacht says:

    Alan Grayson, Welcome!

    All: I just saw a report (MSNBC) on the Supremes this afternoon, with an interview with someone from the winning side. He claimed that the ACLU and a labor union (which one?) had filed Amicus briefs on their side. Sorry for not having covered all 300+ comments, but has anyone covered the ACLU side of this?

    ISTM this decision will, among other things, result in a major re-tooling of organizations like ACLU, Common Cause, and other progressive advocacy organizations to greatly expand their advocacy advertising this year. And will this change how ActBlue does business this year?

    Bob in AZ

  113. bobschacht says:

    Alan Grayson, Welcome!

    All: I just saw a report (MSNBC) on the Supremes this afternoon, with an interview with someone from the winning side. He claimed that the ACLU and a labor union (which one?) had filed Amicus briefs on their side. Sorry for not having covered all 300+ comments, but has anyone covered the ACLU side of this?

    ISTM this decision will, among other things, result in a major re-tooling of organizations like ACLU, Common Cause, and other progressive advocacy organizations to greatly expand their advocacy advertising this year. And will this change how ActBlue does business this year?

    Bob in AZ

  114. BayStateLibrul says:

    I’m late to the discussion, but made this point when the first arguments

    were made on the case.

    If the assumption that a corporation is a person is false (and I do believe it to be false) then all other points made are just bull shit.

    It’s like 1984 over again.

    Simple logic from a non-lawyer, but really do you think a corporation breathes?

  115. Gitcheegumee says:

    I came across an anti racketeering law called the Hobbs Act.

    Being in of possession of neither razor nor laser intellect, I thought I’d look it up on Wiki.

    Here goes:

    Hobbs Act

    The Hobbs Act, named after Congressman Sam Hobbs (D-AL) and codified at 18 U.S.C. § 1951, is a U.S. federal law that prohibits actual or attempted robbery or extortion affecting interstate or foreign commerce. Section 1951 also proscribes conspiracy to commit robbery or extortion without reference to the conspiracy statute at 18 U.S.C. § 371. Although the Hobbs Act was enacted as a statute to combat racketeering in labor-management disputes, the statute is frequently used in connection with cases involving public corruption, commercial disputes, and corruption directed at members of labor unions.

    The Hobbs Act covers two distinct forms of extortionate activity: extortion by fear (that is, traditional robbery) and extortion under color of law. Extortion under color of law occurs where a government official uses his position to obtain payment from a victim. Unlike the federal bribery and gratuity statute, 18 U.S.C. § 201, federal, state, and local officials can all be prosecuted for extortion by Color (law) under the Hobbs Act, as the jurisdictional element is satisfied by a nexus with interstate commerce.

    Jurisdictional requirement
    In interpreting the Hobbs Act, the Supreme Court has held that the statute employs the fullest extent of federal authority under the Commerce Clause. Thus, the lower federal courts have recognized that an actual affect on commerce is sufficient to satisfy the federal jurisdictional element even if it is slight or de minimis.

    The government will often use the depletion of assets theory to prove the jurisdictional element. Under this theory, interstate commerce is affected when an enterprise, which either is actively engaged in interstate commerce or customarily purchases items in interstate commerce, has its assets depleted through extortion, thereby curtailing the victim’s potential as a purchaser of such goods. While the courts have interpreted the jurisdictional element liberally, it is not a formality; courts have drawn a distinction under the depletion of assets theory between individuals and businesses.

    While depletion of a business’ assets is usually sufficient to show an effect on interstate commerce, depletion of an individual’s assets generally is not. Representatively, the Second Circuit reasoned in United States v. Perrotta, 313 F.3d 33, 37 (2d Cir. 2002), that making no distinction between individuals and businesses would bring under the ambit of the Hobbs Act every conceivable robbery or extortion.

    NOTE: Think we might see more of this Hobbs act being invoked in the future?

    • razorbrain says:

      No simple answer to that, would require much research. Statutes often read simpler than they apply. There would be lots of background issues to resolve before getting it applied in a specific fact situation.

      Nice to see I have some comrades du coeur around here. I was starting to worry about the local spine quotient. I think we will need all the spine we can get going forward.

      Which reminds me of the old joke:

      Q. When will the Democrats ever show some spine?

      A. Never, they’re invertebrates.

      G’night, Gracie ;).

      • letsgetitdone says:

        Democrats used to have spine. The first notable one I can remember who seemed to lack it was Jimmy Carter. Since then, however, that seems to be the pattern. Tip O’Neill led the way during the ’80s in dealing with Reagan. I always thought it was the Yuppie effect. When the Democratic Party had an important working class component, there was plenty of spine.

  116. Praedor says:

    We need to push senators (Schumer since he is making faux noise about “doing somethign about this”, Feingold, any other) to introduce Alan Grayson’s bills into the senate so that the process of getting this bills passed and signed by Obama can be fast-tracked to derail this ruling.

    Also, the laws concerning corporate charters needs to be changed thus: You are free to spend freely on political campaigns but doing so will immediately terminate your corporate charter.

    There is NO constitutionally protected “right” to incorporate. Corporations do NOT have a constitutional right to exist. The laws about incorporation are entirely niceties and NOT requirements. Thus they can be changed to essentially nullify the SCOTUS decision (at least render it moot): Practice your 1st Amendment right in a political campaign and lose your charter.

    • letsgetitdone says:

      This seems like the best approach to me. But how will we distinguish political speech from economic speech that is essential to their doing business, in the process of evaluating whether their charters should be revoked? Also, who will do the evaluation, and who will do the revocation? And how will we ensure that the regulators cannot be bought by the corps? Also, when a corp’s charter is revoked will it be able to take this Court?

  117. Gitcheegumee says:

    @#57

    Bob, I cannot say for certainty that is it.

    However, Truthout just posted an excellent article with some info I had not seen before.

    t r u t h o u t Supreme Court Shreds Campaign-Finance Laws, Overturns Ban on Corporate Spending. by: Sam Ferguson, Jason Leopold and Kyle Berlin, t r u t h o u t | Report …

    http://www.truthout.org/ – 12 minutes ago – Similar

  118. Gitcheegumee says:

    Addendum to Bob @#357

    American Civil Liberties Union : Citizens United v. Federal …Aug 1, 2009 … The ACLU has consistently taken the position that section 203 is … and our amicus brief takes that position again. Legal Documents > Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission – ACLU Amicus Brief (7/29/2009) …

    72.3.233.244/scotus/2009term/…/40556res20090801.html – Cached

    Bob, If you type “ACLU Amicus Brief in Citizens United v. FEC ” into der Google, you’ll get many links to choose from.

    • MsAnnaNOLA says:

      Yes tax them at 100% if they participate in elections. That will keep the shareholders from letting them participate.

  119. go2goal says:

    Roberts, Thomas, and Scalia have ties to The Fellowship (The Family, C Street, etc..). This isn’t fascism – what we have is a Theocracy and a growing and increasingly dangerous (to our democracy) US Religious Fundamentalism movement. This ruling was as much about allowing their members to influence elections as anything else…..their secret association is full of Far Right Republican CEO’s at some of our largest corporations.

    The Chinese are coming!!!!
    One item these idiots have failed to recognize: The Chinese have all the money now – their ruling empowers Chinese owned or controlled corporations to use their deep pockets to have a powerful and direct influence on the outcome of our elections. The Chinese will dominate the lobbyist in Washington DC – which means they will control the US Senate and the US House. They may even be able to hand pick a future President.

    Chief Justice Roberts is a religious fundamentalist! But he was too myopic to realize the largest atheist country on planet will now have open season on controlling our government – THE Chinese!

  120. bobschacht says:

    marcos @ 154, letsgetitdone @ 366, et al.
    “The nuclear option requires only 50+1 votes to implement.”

    Yeah, but IIRC you can only do that during the organizing phase at the beginning of a new Congress. They can’t do that again until after November. As Stabenow says, to do it now requires 2/3rds. IIRC, etc.

    Bob in AZ