A Victory for Free Speech


Can the government suppress free speech critical of elected politicians? In the home of the First Amendment, that may seem an unusual question to pose. But that was the question before the Supreme Court this week, as it handed down a landmark ruling in the case of Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission.

In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court struck down a ban on corporations and labor unions using money from their general funds to produce and air campaign ads in races for Congressional and presidential races. Also overturned was a ban on corporations and unions airing campaign ads 30 days before primary or 60 days before general election.

The case in question dates back to January 2008, when the conservative non-profit group Citizens United produced a documentary critical of then-presidential candidate Hillary Clinton titled Hillary: The Movie. When the Federal Election commission used the McCain Feingold campaign finance law to limit Citizen United’s ability to advertise the film during the 2008 presidential primaries, the group sued to protest the restriction on free speech.

This week, the Supreme Court ruled in Citizen United’s favor. In so doing, it won approval from free-speech advocates and strident criticism from many on the political Left. To discuss the case and its political implications, Front Page turned to Ilya Shapiro, a senior fellow in constitutional studies at the Cato Institute and editor-in-chief of the Cato Supreme Court Review.

FP: The Supreme Court’s decision has certainly stirred its share of controversy. How do you view the Court’s ruling?

Shapiro: This is a big win for free speech. It is the most significant ruling on campaign finance since [the 1976 case] Buckley vs. Valeo and it continued the trend of this court of allowing greater speech in the political arena. It’s a victory for the marketplace of ideas and it’s a victory for democracy.

FP: Some, especially on the Left, don’t see it that way. The New York Times despairs this morning that the decision is a “blow for democracy” that paves the way for “corporations to use their vast treasuries to overwhelm elections.”  Is there any merit to the objection that the court’s ruling will distort democracy by empowering corporations while diminishing the voice of regular citizens?

Shapiro: I think the concern about corporations is misplaced. Most corporations are not Exxon. They are smaller companies or non-profits. With the disclosure rules that are in place, voters will still be able to judge which candidate is in the pocket of some corporation, whether it’s the ACLU or the Sierra Club, or the Cato Institute for that matter. We still have laws in place going back to 1907 that prevent direct contributions to candidates.

To the extent that there has been a diminution in the public’s faith in the democratic process, the government is probably more to blame than the corporations. Earmarks, special tax breaks, the dispersal of government goodies and baddies – these types of actions harm democracy much more. McCain Feingold was never about regular citizens. It was a creature of the Beltway. There was no great call from the hinterland to get money out of politics.

I don’t think democracy will be diminished as a result of the ruling. What we could see is more ads like the Swift Boats ads during the 2004 presidential campaign or the Hillary movie. But the way the law stood, some government bureaucrat could have simply banned books that were critical of a political candidate in an election year. That would have been far worse.

FP: In part, there is a partisan argument here. Democrats complain that if you make it easier for corporations t o spend money in political campaigns, you empower Republicans, since the Left considers corporations and Republicans natural allies.

Shapiro: I think that argument is laughable. It’s not at all clear which party would benefit from this ruling. Corporations are highly strategic about what they do with their money. It’s because they want political influence that they donate money to both parties. Goldman Sachs gave more money to Barack Obama than to any other candidate in the last election cycle. They were the number-one donor to his campaign. You could go down the list of Fortune 500 companies and find similar contributions. So when Obama rails that this ruling will help Wall Street, it’s a little rich. He set the record for donors from big companies.   

FP: Another common claim among critics of the ruling is that corporations don’t deserve the same First Amendment rights as individuals.

Shapiro: No one is saying that corporations are human beings. But corporations are groups of private individuals who have legal rights. Take Front Page magazine. It’s not an individual. But the government can’t raid your office and just seize your computer. That would be a violation of the Fourth Amendment. Similarly, corporations have First Amendment rights. Think of it this way: George Soros can spend as much as he wants in an election, but if you and a hundred other people get together to spend your money, suddenly, that can’t work. Individuals don’t lose their rights just because they come together to magnify the effects of their donations.  

FP: Some claim that this decision bespeaks a political agenda of the court’s conservative majority, that the court had no business hearing the case and seized on it for political purposes.

Shapiro: Justice Roberts has actually addressed this point in his concurring decision. In legal doctrine, you have something called stare decisis, which means that you don’t reverse a precedent even if it’s wrong. People rely on legal precedent. But in this case the precedent was not that old. On top of that, no one relies on having less speech. No one says, ‘I have an interest in self-censorship.’ The court used the smaller issue of the Hillary film to get at the larger issue of how free speech can be regulated. The court is acting properly when it upholds the Constitution.

  • http://www.bookishbabe.com Scherie

    I am very happy with the Supreme Courts decision. Finally, the Constitution is being followed. Unfortunately, as Shapiro states, many are saying this is a win for big bad corporations. Even Bill O'Reilly doesn't understand the underlying principle involved. He bemoaned on his show last night how corporations and unions will be influencing D.C. This, as Shapiro rightfully asserts, is a plus individuals and other organizations throughout the country, not just corporations. Now a difference in opinion won't bar individuals or groups because someone(s) doesn't like what they have to say.

  • USMCSniper

    The New York Times:

    WASHINGTON — Sweeping aside a century-old understanding and overruling two important precedents, a bitterly divided Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that the government may not ban political spending by corporations in candidate elections.

    The ruling was a vindication, the majority said, of the First Amendment’s most basic free speech principle — that the government has no business regulating political speech. The dissenters said allowing corporate money to flood the political marketplace will corrupt democracy.

    “If the First Amendment has any force,” Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote for the majority, which included the four members of its conservative wing, “it prohibits Congress from fining or jailing citizens, or associations of citizens, for simply engaging in political speech.”

  • johncarens

    There are two fundamental errors that pervade trendy thought about Political Speech:

    1) Money corrupts.
    If that were true in totality, the Federal Government is the most corrupt institution on the face of the earth. After all, It is the largest lender, the largest debtor, the largest land owner, the largest insurer, and so on. And thus, it is in no position to render pronouncements about the corrupting influence of money. But, for reasons not entirely clear, when money is sluiced in vast gobs through the federal government, it is portrayed as good and benevolent. When it passes through corporate boardrooms, though, it is portrayed as evil.

    The corrupting influence of money is one of the great canards of the Left because it so clearly corrupts THEM, and they therefore think everyone would be likewise corrupted. Leftists never see the tremendous force for good money is, ever. They look at hospitals unmindful of the bonds floated to build it, they look at endowed museums unmindful of the fortunes needed to endow them.

    Money can disseminate truth as easily as it can disseminate a lie, but because leftist radicalism is built entirely of lies, they assume all political speech is more likely untrue than true. Truth to a radical liberal statist is fungible, so they assume it is thus for conservative traditionalists. Money, though, can in no way corrupt incorruptible people.

    2) Stare Decisis trumps the Constitution.
    It does not, especially when past precedent is set by idiots, or drunkards, or bigots. Wickard v. Filburn is a great example of a precedent that should have been overturned five minutes after it was handed down, the reversal of which would also be a blow for freedom against an omnipresent federal government. Instead, it has built a digusting toothpick village of byzantine legal complexity that has no intellectual heft, but that gets in the way of average Americans trying to conduct the everyday business of their lives.

    And finally, have you ever noticed when a Court decision is handed down that reaffirms the constitution, the New York Times refers to the court as "bitterly divided", but when the court upholds the leviathan-state that radical leftists prefer, the court is only "narrowly divided"?

    As for the Citizens Unite case: The most amazing thing was that Kennedy came out of his coma long enough to write such an astonishingly concise and brilliant opinion. And to think: But for the "Kennedy Seat" the "Kennedy Seat" would have been the "Bork Seat"…. And the court would have been "bitterly divided" more often.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/bubba4 bubba4

      The "government" is us. I know for the last few decades, Republicans have been telling you that "government" is the problem and that "big" government was an even bigger problem, and if only the government would get out of the way of business then everything would be fine, but you need to remember that the government is here of, by and for the people. Corporations can be run by a tiny group of people or even a single person (in the US or internationally) . Unlike a labor union which was created to act on behalf of its members and may have thousands of them, a company's primary concern is to make profit, not if the guy who cleans the toilet is getting a "living" wage.

      Usually, "corruption" is thought of as someone betraying their principles for money….that's the corruption…they are being "bought".

      "Money, though, can in no way corrupt incorruptible people."

      By definition an "incorruptible" person cannot be corrupted. There isn't a huge list of Corrupting influences…and most would boil down to power, money or sex.

      What an average Senator, Rep or even President makes a year or has as personal wealth is nothing compared to the checks getting written in the private sector.

      • Jonathan

        None of this washes, Bubba. Government is the problem, but mostly its the problem when leftists are running it. If it were run by patriots like Ronald Reagan all the time, there wouldn't be a problem.

        The US Government is the biggest corporation on the planet, and its getting worse every day. Not to mention the fact that it doesn't have to EARN anything. It just takes it by force of power.

      • http://intensedebate.com/people/Rifleman Rifleman

        No, the government is not us. It's professional politicians who know little or nothing of creating wealth. Look at how few of hussein's WH have ever worked in the private sector.

        It's not wealth politicians seek, but power. Most only know how to destroy wealth. The perks of political power ensure their living standard is high regardless of personal wealth. Republican have been telling the truth, but they became enamored with the power as well. That's why it's best the federal government should have little power domestically, as intended by the Constitution and Founders.

        • http://intensedebate.com/people/bubba4 bubba4

          You represent the triumph of a generation under media powerful enough to completely redefine the world. Are you concerned about the avalanche of corporate and foreign money that is going to flow into our politics? No. You're worried about "corrupt" government…but not in the traditional sense. That's because for years and years, to minimize your concern over corporate influence of OUR government, they have told you that "lefty" is the real concern. It's another false dichotomy of business vs. government or as most of you like to put it (right vs. left). It over powers all nuance and eventually reason.

          The government is not a corporation and we should fight to keep it from becoming just the red-tape cog in the works. The blending is a kind of fascism…oligarchy. In another few years, they might have some of you so tenderized you'd accept…nay LOVE to have corporations control your lives and we can tummble into a Robocop-like dystopian hell.

          It's getting worse day by day because that is what you are going to be showered with 24/7 until the next election. Very little in the way of new legislation has even been allowed to occur, so unless your local government is falling apart, you don't really have a real reason to feel that way.

          In the meantime, FPM and other outlets will offer up all the "examples" and "quotes" you will need. As long as it sort of fits with the story of "lefty" most of you aren't too hard to get on board.

          • johncarens

            Er, ah… to get back to my broader point:
            Money itself does not corrupt, nor even the amount, and certainly not the source. If the message you wish to convey, however, IS corrupt, then money will (no doubt) help in your endeavor. And, if you are corruptible, you will make fertile soil for corruption. My only reference to the Federal Government vis-a-vis the latest court ruling is that it, by virtue of its being up to its nostrils in money (-most of it confiscated, by the way, through coercion) it is certainly in no moral position to make judgments about the corrupting influence of money. If such an influence exists, one might posit, is not the very law they are ruling on therefor corrupt? It was, after all, the very product of a monied government and society, so by such specious extension, it must be corrupt. But, I argue, this doesn't necessarily make it so.

            And frankly, my more important point was the non-sensible primacy we give to stare decisis in our legal canon. Within the British system, with no written constitution as such, it might make some sense. But, not in America: if we forever defer to past precedent and endlessly Scotch-tape them to our law, it will eventually debase the Constitution entirely. Contrary to the view of radical statists on the left, the Constitution does not "live and breath". Rather, it is contract entered into freely by the agreeing parties.

            Of course, there were provisions written into that agreement to amend it, which sometimes confuses the Leftists into thinking it "Lives and Breathes". While the document can be amended, the framers made the mechanism to do so a rather high barrier to protect the integrity of the original agreement and its intent. Which brings it full circle:

            If the radical Obama left wishes to restrict the free speech rights of people who join together in corporation, then they need to have congress vote out such an amendment to the constitution, and have the states ratify it. Then, we stodgy, stump-toothed conservatives could find no fault.

          • http://intensedebate.com/people/bubba4 bubba4

            "And, if you are corruptible, you will make fertile soil for corruption."

            Yes..if you can be corrupted, then you can be corrupted. Thanks for stating the obvious. To be corrupted, you must first be uncorrupted and have some morals or ethics or something else that could be corrupted.

            But I will agree with you that money doesn't have a magical field around it that "corrupts" people. But if you want someone to do something immoral or against their principles, money helps. Besides being corrupted by money to go against the good of their own people what "corruption" are you talking about.

            Just because you have money doesn't mean you are corrupt. I don't know who forwarded such an argument.

            "If the radical Obama left wishes to restrict the free speech rights of people who join together in corporation,"

            LOL. Corporations aren't created so that the board members can have a voice in politics. They are created to make money and protect the assets the people involved and get certain legal protections. Those people already have a voice in politics and if they want to form a group, they have a lot of different choices of what kind.

            The argument that this is about "free speech" is a dishonest one…and made for what reason? What do you really think the corporations have to say that they can't say already? It just sounds good…which is really the point if you're corrupt and will say whatever it takes to "win". If someone is worried about corporate power, you just tell them they are against "free speech".

            Obama isn't a radical either, that's just another "it sounds good so why not" phrase. But, if you're a fan of FPM, I'm sure you have plenty of reasons to believe so.

          • johncarens

            1) I never even inferred that corporations are created to "have a voice in politics". I DID say there is no difference from people acting solely with an individual voice, or in concert with a multiplicity of voices when engaged in political speech; –and that Congress cannot make any law to abridge it. Context and texture is an important ingredient is political discussion, and some ought to be more aware of its importance.

            2) Clearly, this argument is ENTIRELY about free speech (all campaign finance law boils down to issues of free speech). Groups of people, be they governed by Articles of Incorporation, or Union By-Laws, or what have you, have as much right to voice an opinion about whatever they may choose, and have as much right to voice it in this nations as anyone. And further, they can use whatever tools are available to voice it as long as those tools are constitutionally valid, are not confiscated, or are not coerced to obtain these tools.

            3) If anyone wants to change this fundamental principle of freedom guaranteed in our Constitution, then they need to amend the constitution, rather than end-run around it by judicial fiat.

            4) President Obama IS an extreme-left radical. In speech after speech, he speaks openly of "fundamentally altering" "the way we do business" and "remaking society" to "avoid the boom-and-bust cycles". This kind of post-American world-view is alien to 230 years of our national experience. This is not campaign hyperbole, but what his goals clearly are. When he wants to dictate private behavior (car company salaries, for example, or where doctors can practice the specialties they prefer) or when he wants to pass legislation that is overwhelmingly opposed by over sixty percent of the electorate, he is clearly a statist authoritarian, which makes him extremely radical, especially when contrasted to the other 43 presidents. (-And don't give me the tourettes response of "Bush kept fighting the war even though 60 percent wanted the USA out"– there is a tremendous difference between policy and legislation that fundamentally alters the relationship between the governed and the government. And the war was popular enough to garner at least 50% support for over three years, and, at any rate, President Bush wanted out of Iraq and shared the nations goal, too. But he wanted out under the patina of victory, not disaster).

            He may be a perfectly nice fellow, I don't know. But the President is an extremist radical. But, he wears a nice suit, so maybe that helps.

          • http://intensedebate.com/people/Rifleman Rifleman

            You represent the triumph of three generations of government education. It's not designed to turn out an adult that can think for his or her self, but an adult child that needs taking care of by a 'benevolent' government, that needs an uncle joe, uncle ho, or hussein. Rise above it. Did it ever occur to you that this country has advanced and overcome so much because we have (or had, though I pray not) a population that is used to thinking and doing for themselves as a natural way of life?

            You're right, the federal government is no corporation. No corporation can force me to buy their product or service (and my parents educated me well enough that they can't really fool me), only the government can. It's only fascism, or its' sister marxism, if the federal government assumes power the Founding fathers wisely didn't give it. Best to nip the problem at the bud, where it deviates from the principle (which reminds me of a Founding Fathers' quote, but I'll have to wait 'til I see it on FPM). There's rules and regulations in the VRWC.

            'Til then, if hussein and his WH can verbally assault companies, corporations, and industries on TV, radio, and print, they can speak back. If hussein can lie 'til the end of an election, they can correct him or anyone else. If you don't like the results of full participation, I suggest you get busy stripping the federal government of the power to abuse (oops there go those socialist dreams). I say, Let Freedom Ring!

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/bubba4 bubba4

    "No one is saying that corporations are human beings. But corporations are groups of private individuals who have legal rights."

    No. Corporations are legal entities with all the rights of individuals…and by its very nature it shields the individuals in the company. One could argue that in the last fifty years, corporations are now the first class citizens of America.

    While this guys tries to make the case that its SMALL businesses that will now be able to "express" themselves with TV ads, he knows that Labor Unions don't have a fraction of the money and power that big companies do. All they had going for them was collective bargaining…both in labor and in the election booth.

    "Think of it this way: George Soros can spend as much as he wants in an election, but if you and a hundred other people get together to spend your money, suddenly, that can’t work. Individuals don’t lose their rights just because they come together to magnify the effects of their donations. "

    So George Soros can write a political campaign a 10 million dollar check if he wants? No of course he can't. There is a maximum donation. This guys is just making dishonest arguments to protect his masters. How much do corporate water-carriers make these days?

    • Hilary

      Corporations do not represent the will of the people who work for them. They represent the will of five or six people on their boards of directors. Corporations represent concentrated economic power. I'm scared.

      • bushlikesdick2

        We use a system called delagates for the purpose of leveling representation from state to state so that each individuals vote has equal weight. Also, slaves use to represent 2/3rds of a vote for the purpose of Southern States having equal representation.
        Now we have economic divisions. The middle class has become a scarce commodity while the poor get poorer and the rich get richer. Now congress represents the rich because one who has the gold makes the rules.
        That is what sparked the cultural revolution in China and I pray that the people will have more mercy on the GOP then Red China had on the oppressors of their time.

        • Jonathan

          You're a moron.

        • http://intensedebate.com/people/kwg1 kwg1

          Try reading Walter Williams pieces from his new book which were published in the Investors Business Daily Editorial Pages. I agree with Jonathan below!

        • Democracy First

          In fact, such assumptions are based on poort stats, looking strictly at income numbers. What those stats do not show is mobility between income groups. Thus, the majority of those statistically poor in one year – which incloudes college students and recent immigrants -, have left that group to become middle income or greater 10 years later.

        • http://intensedebate.com/people/Rifleman Rifleman

          The cultural revolution was the central committee of the politburo replacing one bunch of totalitarian thug underlings with another. I'm sure it was great theater, especially the public executions. "The people," have no more say in red china than I do.

          You can keep your whole class warfare thing and I'll keep my freedom and opportunity to advance.

      • http://intensedebate.com/people/Rifleman Rifleman

        If concentrated economic power scares you, economic power concentrated in central government must terrify you. It doesn't get any more concentrated than that.

    • Oscar

      In communist countries like North Korea the government is the people, right?

      • http://intensedebate.com/people/bubba4 bubba4

        No…because North Korea is a dictatorship. It's people don't have the same protections from the government that we do.

    • USMCSniper

      The First Amendment is all about distrusting government to make those decisions about who has spoken too much. That's why Thursday's decision is such a breath of fresh air. Just so you undestand – it is a limit on government – meaning what it cannot do!

      "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

      Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech means that Congress cannot pass laws to limit it in any way unless they change the Constitution – got it bubba4? I doubt it!

      • http://intensedebate.com/people/bubba4 bubba4

        You really think that when the founders wrote "people" they were thinking of corporations…entities that only exist in legal mindspace and on paper?

        Really Sniper? You honestly think that's what they meant? I doubt it. I don't think you believe that anymore than Scalia believes that because a majority of companies are small companies there is no danger of undue influence. Give me a break.

        • Democracy First

          Probably they were not thinking about corporations. Nor did they say anything to imply either they or any other body should be excluded from free speech provisions. Notably, the 1st Amendment flatly protects a free press, in effect, protects a right of free enterprise media corporations to speak freely. If managers of the NYT have a right to, on behalf of the corporation, speak freely, then so should managers of other companies…and unions…and churches…and…and…and. But I wouldn't object if there were a law stipulating that those who write and support the political ads had to reveal donations made to political parties, so that it is clear whom they support. In fact, I've wondered whether media people indicate whom they last voted for when filing political storied or editorial positions.

          • http://intensedebate.com/people/bubba4 bubba4

            But all those people aren't being restrained from "speaking" freely. They all have "free speech" already.

            The particular part of McCain-Feingold that got shot down was the ban on certain groups running certain types of things in the last 30 days of an election.

          • Democracy First

            But "running certain types of things in the last 30 days of an election" is the right to speak freely then. If media corporations can use their funds (revenues) to speak freely to a large audience at that time, then so should other corporations be able to use their funds, so to address a large audience. If disallowed, then their free speech means nearly nothing, as they could not address a meaningfully large audience. This is just as the NYT's free speech would mean nearly nothing in the last 30 days of a campaign, if they too were disallowed to offer commentary.

          • http://intensedebate.com/people/bubba4 bubba4

            That's nonsense….but boy, justifications make it around the bizarro world fast.

            Let's say you were running for local office. You get a small staff together and you try to get out, shake hands, and distribute flyers. You save up some cash so you can run a single TV ad which is warmly accepted. You are polling high.

            Now Monsanto decides that you aren't good for their business. Afraid you don't like black tar maybe…who knows…but Monsanto's "opinion" of you is that you are dirty scum sucking communist…and their week long media blitz leading up to the campaign has you scrammbling to explain away crazy accusations. Instead of people asking about your ten-point plan, you now have to explain that no…you don't belong to the Communist party and no you don't love Stalin and no of course you aren't going to pass a law outlawing puppies. You might have stood a chance, but how can voters (especially after the slick hour-long documentary about you) vote for you now with all these "questions" floating there.

            You would like to point out that Monsanto is the one making these accusations, but apparently the ads were paid for by "Freedom, Inc" a research/analysis company that is paid by Monsanto for contract work. By the time you are able to find anyone responsible, the election is over and you lost. And let's say the entire campaign against you was hearsay and full of lies. What are you going to do….sue?

            Sure Monsanto doesn't even have a headquarters in your state and yeah maybe it's board members don't live there either, but Monsanto has an opinion and the right to express it.

            For some reason the board members of Monsanto get to have two sets of free speech rights…one for themselves personally and then one for the company. The "free speech" afforded to companies is a whole other level of power that no citizen can reach. So we are creating classes of free speech. The ones people can afford (protesting blocks away in a protest zone) and the ones they can't (millions of dollars of TV ads, radio and newspaper coordination.

            You never worked in marketing have you? So naive…but hey, at first glance it looks like you are defending "free speech" so this argument of yours is a winner.

  • bushlikesdick2

    NONSENSE: It’s called conservative activism anyway you look at it. HYPOCRACY PLAIN AND SIMPLE!!

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/ElroyJetson Guadapoopé

      Simmer down now. Go back to your room. Your irrational contempt is showing, again. 'Just trying to save the country from the perpetually childish.

    • Jonathan

      You're a moron, bushlikesdick2

    • Democracy First

      I agree, corporations shouldn't be allowed to express political opinions. That includes, of course, the NYT, NBC, ABC, NBC and the rest of the liberal MSM.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/Rifleman Rifleman

      or as howard dean would say, "Yaaaarrrgggghhh!"

  • Jack Hampton

    You are the union thug that is doing the lying and and Carens argument is sound. No Soros cannot give a million dollar to an individual campaign but he can give 25 million to Move on .Org and still can. He can give millions to the DNC as well and 90& of corperations are small businesses that can come together and support who they please and run ads supporting who they please and that is the way it should be. I am one of those that belong to an association to do just that and we are cocked and ready. George get your check book out the left wing union thugs and left wing marxist is going to need it. Freedom has been restored by curtailing the obscene McCain Fiengold.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/bubba4 bubba4

      Oh Jack. It's the ones who come screaming in calling people thugs that are usually the thugs. MoveOn.org like many other non-profits, is split into pieces, each governed by different rules about funds…where they can come from and what can be done with them.

      Moveon and Soros are big boogeymen in the FPM bizarro world. Just doing web searches using the two words brings up all manner of crazy conspiracy theory about fixed elections, intimidation and murder, and secret plans for world domination. So you whip it out as two of the evil things that must be countered by this Supreme Court decision….but you can go make website and form an organization callled "MoveBack" and you can raise funds and run ads already.

      What can your association now do that it couldn't do before….lol. What are you cocked and ready to do? Lie about how everyone you don't like is a Marxist? Or that Unions which represent large amounts of people have the same motivations as a corporation run by a board? You have the same false dichotomy disease as some of these other guys.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/JosephWiess JosephWiess

    It's a step in the right direction, but they need to knock the whole amendment down. As it stands, Unions and corporations can now give as much as they want, but you and I cannot. When we get our rights back, then we can say this is a good thing.

  • freelsia

    I think the problem won't be seen on the national scale as so many people rightfully fear. I think it will be the rich local corporation giving money to a previously 'unkown' candidate for judgship. The ad campaing will raise his name in the public's awareness and no one will know (cause the ads won't say, and they'll dominate) that there's a pending case (or one that is planned to become pending)that would favor the corporation. Think land zoning, water rights, and property seizures for the benefit of the owners of the corporations. It's not all Exxon or Walmart, it will be Toll Roads and 'development'….

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/The_Inquisitor The_Inquisitor

    "It’s a victory for the marketplace of ideas and it’s a victory for democracy."

    And it's a defeat for McCain who has no understanding of the constitution he was sworn to uphold.

  • Jeff

    He, pinheads … corps and unions still cannot GIVE AS MUCH as they want to a candidate. This is not about donations, its is about speech. They can now saya whatever they want about any candidate at any time, with disclosure.

    Corps and unions spend the same money on lobbyists today. I'll bet they actually spend less now with less need for lobbyists. Thats really why Obama doesn't like it.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/bubba4 bubba4

      Really….Obama loves lobbyist?

      "Corps and unions spend the same money on lobbyists today."

      The same as what? What's the difference in spending of the two? And I guess the point isn't how many lobbyist there are but who they are lobbying….a responsible public servant or a corporate stooge. You're right though….once you have a good stooge…you don't even have to lobby him.

  • Rushton Adamson

    Bribing politicians isn't free speach. The Supreme Court is wrong.

    • USMCSniper

      Of course bribing is wrong. What has that got to do with politicians unconstitutionally limiting freedom of speech?

  • Sara

    Had Americans had free speech during the last election, Obama's hiding of his background by refusing to release the usual school and medical records, would have been brought to the voters' attention and the documents probably released. Also objections about the issues of his constitutional qualifications would have been discussed in advertising since the media and both parties refused to address the issue. Obama's racist minister of twenty years and his radical politics would have been brought to voters' attention.

    This campaign speech oppression gave the media the only voice leading up to the election. And they were clearly Obama's campaign volunteers. This is why liberals are upset. The media is losing it's monopoly over political speech during elections.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/Rifleman Rifleman

      Exactly. They want it so only the msm and hollywood can put anything out in the lead up to an election. I'm for freedom with full disclosure, myself.

      • http://intensedebate.com/people/bubba4 bubba4

        This political message brought to you by Freedom, Inc. a Nevada Corporation. (formed the previous year to defeat candidate X). There's your disclosure.

        • http://intensedebate.com/people/Rifleman Rifleman

          It takes 5 min, tops, to look up an organization. I guess somebody had better get busy reconfiguring schools to teach people to think for themselves again, rather than be good little subjects, vulnerable to advertising/propaganda.

          • http://intensedebate.com/people/bubba4 bubba4

            Did you travel into the future and see the results of this new law. Oh…maybe you were looking up non-profits or PACs and such that run ads…oh sure it's easy to find out about them…they have to disclose everything.

          • http://intensedebate.com/people/Rifleman Rifleman

            I've seen the real results of socialism (not some hollywood fantasy of corprateworld) over and over, and I'll take my chances with just about anything else. Now, if you want to join together to roll the federal government back to where it belongs, so NOBODY can abuse it, I'm right there with you. I'll know you're as worried as you say when you do.

            BTW, what does advertising matter if our schools are graduating adults educated to think for themselves, rather than government drones that need someone to think for them?

    • Joy

      Anything to defang the biased media is a step in the right direction for freedom! No one on the Left seems (or seemed) to be bothered by the powerful spending proclivities of the unions!

      • http://intensedebate.com/people/bubba4 bubba4

        Unions represent thousands and thousands of people…and are made up of essentially local chapters….LOCAL. A Corporation may be run by only a hand full of people that live in another state or country. I see where you're coming from though….after almost a decade of disasterous Republican leadership and an economic crisis, what "organized working people" think about things is the real danger now.

        • Joy

          Bluntly, Bubba (what an appropriate handle for a numbskull!!), you're all wet. "Organized working people" contribute to the equation only by the confiscation of their wages, dubbed "dues." What a scam! The union movement has LONG outlived its usefulness and its raison d'etre. It exists now mostly for the greed of the union bosses. Sure, union workers benefit – but at what expense to the consumer? That's why we shop at Walmart. And, by the way, how's it going for you union cry babies with the Native American casinos? They need unions like a fish needs a bicycle!

        • Joy

          Hey, Bubba! The union movement has long outlived its useful like and its orig. raison d'etre. Unions benefit primarily union bosses and some very privileged workers – at the expense, of course, of the consumer. That's why Walmart continues to be such a huge player in the everyday economics of our society. BTW, how's that working out for you with the unions trying to intimate the Native Americans and their casinos? They need unions like a fish needs a bicycle!

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/ZionSion Beth

      Excellent point Sara!

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/kwg1 kwg1

    Should have been above!

  • Jack Hampton

    Sarah that is an outstanding comment. You understand.

  • Jack Hampton

    Jonathan you will find you are wasting time with Likesdick. Besides if you comunicate with him here it keeps him from his job at the Waffle House doing those scattered smothered and covered.

  • Jack Hampton

    Just as I figured you are a union hack. I belong to no afilliation politically nor have I ever bothered to do any search like you referred to. I do not need to to understand that Card Check is a scam by the union boses to do exactly what large corperations want to do and that is money power and control. At least the corp's have stockholders? By the way have you found Jimmy Hoffa yet or beat up any more peaceful protestors? However the fact is that most corp's are sub chapter S small business that do not need hassled by union thugs. I bet you fall asleep at night dreaming about getting your greedy mits on Walmart. Drives you nuts right? Anything the unions get involved in turns into another General Motors where people get paid for nothing. Try to spread your tripe on the unanitiated.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/bubba4 bubba4

      Oh we get to make up what each other is and what our motivations are? OK great…because I had you pegged as a child molester with a pension for little boys. And just like I figured…you are. How's that windowless van coming along? I bet when you troll the elementary school during recess it drives you nuts right? You're kind should be executed or at the very least they should tatoo a warning sign on your forehead.

      This is fun and oddly liberating. There I was reading the posts and trying to give an honest reply with facts and such….when all the while Jack had the secret. Just plow ahead with whatever nonsense you believe to spite reality.

  • Jack Hampton

    JohnCarens nailed it where even Bubba should get it if he tries real hard.

  • KuhnKat

    As Corporations are a perversion of the system I can not see this decision as a win for freedom. Corporations are an artificial construct for hiding and diluting personal responsibility of those running and profiting from the Corporations. Allowing those same artificial constructs to have the rights and obligations of individuals is simply brain dead.

    Corporate Law that created these monstrosities needs to be ripped out and BURNED!! Individuals need to be PERSONALLY responsible for their actions and decisions, NOT their paper creations.

    • John C. Davidson

      We elected people so that corruption would overwhelm our system, but most chose to accept the bribe offerred.them. Therein, is the problem; enacting laws to protect unlawful activities.

  • Jack Hampton

    Bubba will never get it. He just knows that Americans need the SEIU to explain it to us that we are not able to read a list of who and how much money they donated to whom and make our own decision. It is still a violation of federal law for a non citizens or aliens or goverments to donate to canidates or to there campaigns. But that has never mattered to democrats so why would it matter now? Paging Chinese slush funds for Bill and Hill also all the middle Eastern money that flowed into the election of Obama.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/bubba4 bubba4

      Stop making new threads you troll.

      Corporations are very flexible entities…if you think "foreign" money can't come in throught he guise of a corporation or affiliate, then you are out of your mind. But it was an attempt at making some kind of real argument…so bravo.

  • coyote3

    Protection "from" the government. That is what the constitution is designed to do, and indeed that is what the court did. It found that the government had no "power" to be involved in regulating this kind of thing. Now, most of the arguments about corporations, good, bad, indifferent, are irrelevant. Likewise, irrelevant are the arguments about the "good, bad" of this decision. That fact is that as of the date of this decision, the government has no power to do these kind of things, and therefore, no business involved in the issue. I am not going to hold my breath, but maybe, just maybe, in conjunction with Heller, we are seeing the court, finally, start to peel back some of the illegal exercise of power by the federal government.

  • coyote3

    Well there is a simple solution to all your troubles.

    In order to rip out and burn corporate law, all you have to do is amend the U.S. and the 50 state constiutions do so. If corporations are such a perversion, as you say they are, then you should have trouble accomplishing this, right? I mean people should be raging in the streets to do away with them.

  • Joy

    What's with Bubba4? He seems to be imploding mentally. Someone, help him off the field…

    • John C. Davidson

      He's is a prime example of what is wrong with this country; not a rational thought is emitted from the him. May the first 3 Bubba's rest in peace and he should follow suit.

  • PAthena

    The First Amendment again: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
    The McCain-Feingold Act restricting freedom of speech is a violation of the First Amendment, as the Supreme Court decided.

  • john

    This ruling should be called "fee speech" since money is the factor here, and the corporations who have led the economy to ruin, are to gain. This is hypocricy and catering to the destructive elements of humankind like greed and power, so how can this help the working people? Does everyone here like the free speech of indocrinating left-wing professors too–since this is also the right to "express one's opinion"? Let's look at other democracies and learn from them–no private election funding,all possible candidates are included in the process/debate, and personal attacks are frowned-upon.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/Rifleman Rifleman

    Hussein and the dp are pitching a hilarious fit. They've been steadily beating businesses and industries to get support for their takeovers. When hussein was making that lame election pitch in Mass. the other day, he managed to attack just about every industry we have left and demean a good chunk of the population. The Supreme Court just broke the chain on the ones they've been steadily beating on, and now they're sh*tting their pants.

    I guess they'd better start showing those diplomatic skills, consideration, and understanding they've been reserving for our mortal enemies, to their fellow Americans.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/bubba4 bubba4

    Well if you did try to do such a thing, I know a few corporations will millions of dollars that will now be able to make you regret it.

    Besides…you guys would just scream and yell that Marxist are trying to change the constitution and hurt business….

  • Jack Hampton

    Bubba it will say brought to you by Moveon.org or the SEIU head busters or the AARP then we know who and why. That is the idea. Then we know who supports the canidate.

  • Jack Hampton

    Then seek out help for your perversion and if you are really repentant turn your self into the authorities. I truly hope you have not harmed any children or anyone else. I find this a startling admission. I hope they find you.

  • Joy

    Hey, Bubba (can’t get over the appropriate handle – conjures up one of those fellas from the “dueling banjos” movie), does that SCOTUS decision also include your right to rant and go nutz on this site? If so, maybe I’ll have to rethink the Court’s decision (NOT!).

    Some of those tactics your ascribed to, e.g., Monsanto (i.e., some big evil corporation) are already in place today, thanks to moveon.org and Soros and his gang.

    But I’m willing to risk the power of the corporations vs. the power of the unions and the hard left if only to dispatch a little tit-for-tat and leave a little blood on the floor…

  • Jack Hampton

    Mr. Carens is correct a corperation is a group of people that uses there means to voice there opinion and if it is money that gives them that means it is still free speech. But good bye card check the union mob bosses lose and the American people win.

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  • http://intensedebate.com/people/Rifleman Rifleman

    Corporations pay taxes. Political speech is speech. Porno and actual treasonous speech aren't the only kinds protected.

    If you're talking about a Constitutional Ammendment, you are at least going about what you desire in the proper way. I doubt it though, because you also want to charge 5 Justices with treason. You wouldn't happen to be an olbie fan, would you?

  • Democracy First

    True, corporations can be deemed not individuals and therefore without free speech protection, as constituted in political donations or political advertisements. I was thinking the same. Until, that is, I read htis rejoinder: media are for profit corproations. If they're allowed to express opinions – as almost all editorial boards do and various TV shows – then why should other for profit corproations be denied the same? That's rhetorical. Because, clearly, only mental gymnastics can justify one brand of corporation a particular right denied others. If the constitution guaranteed a free (for profit) media, then there's no logical reason not to see that generalized to other businesses classes as well. And unions.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/kwg1 kwg1

    One correction. Corporations do not pay taxes, consumers of their products pay the taxes.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/bubba4 bubba4

    The members of the board running a corporation already have all the free speech they can handle…if they are Americans. I see what Rifleman is saying…he's worried about foreign groups free speech rights and their ability to make a corporation to have and instant say in our politics.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/bubba4 bubba4

    Well…can't all the owners and employees already express themselves all day and all night? The real live people that work there? It kind of sucks for the rich ones I guess…because law kind of made them equal with their lowest employee…a vote. Sure they could give a couple of thousand directly and get others in the company to do the same, and sure they can form offshoots of the company or their own PAC if they really have something to say…but I can see where that could be annoying.

    "I was thinking the same. Until, that is, I read htis rejoinder: media are for profit corproations."

    "Media"? Lol. I think you meant "the press". You know…the 4th Estate…the ultra important ingredient of democracy that is falling apart in this country….that "media"?

    Trying to keep corporate power from snuffing out the free press in another problem all together. Modern TV Cable "News" is an abomination to the idea of the "press" singled out in the constitution. As the blending of opinion and news continues into infotainment dystopia, one has to wonder if some earlier deregulation concerning media ownership wasn't such a good idea. If things continue this way, pretty soon if one of a couple of companies doesn't like what your saying then you won't be able to find an outlet at all from TV all the way down to local papers and radio.

    "If they're allowed to express opinions – as almost all editorial boards do and various TV shows – then why should other for profit corproations be denied the same?"

    Because it's not about a corporation's ability to express its opinion…it doesn't have one…it's an legal idea….not a person. Because of the first amendment, the government can't stop people from saying whatever they want. The only "media" they could begin to regulate would be that which uses the public airwaves and you've seen the hysterical reaction around here to the idea that the "fairness doctrine" might come back into play (it has not been proposed). Corporations could endorse people…the reason they don't is it doesn't help a candidate's image if everyone knows certain companies are backing him. But not to worry, you just simply won't know anymore. Forget those silly antiquated rules about disclosure and the rules the non-profits have to follow in order to do political work.

    "If the constitution guaranteed a free (for profit) media, then there's no logical reason not to see that generalized to other businesses classes as well. And unions."

    Well again, they didn't say media…they said Press…because they didn't have radios and TVs yet, and a company couldn't shoot a slick commercial into the minds of millions of Americans instantly. But really, do you think you are going to see resulting "media" after this bill have tags like "paid for by Exxon/Mobile" if they paid for it…of course not. No, they will be brought to you by new shell companies these large corporations can create with names like "Free Speech, Inc."

    Can none of you see a single bad possibility in this or are you blinded by the "free speech" meme? To spite what FPM and others would like to have you believe, unions have many more members than corporations have decision makers…but they don't have near the money…not by far.

  • Democracy First

    It is unfortunate that the rich can get their positions, even advocacy, out there when others cannot afford to do the same. But that doesn't justify shutting down their right to express those views.

    You have offered no salient reason why MSM should be able to editorialize (and MSM does exactly that in its news coverage, not just cable news), while other companies may not.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/Rifleman Rifleman

    You mean foreign groups like wild bill's chicom funders, or hussein's anonymous overseas contributions? Let us know how cleaning up that foreign influence goes, if they ever make a serious try.

    You mean those board members with an acorn circus parked out in front of their houses? Do you mean the CEOs that didn't need a bailout but were forced to take it, and the strings, while the fed pocketed the interest, or the ones hussein said couldn't even send their customers information about government proposed changes to their health care service? It's not for any but them and their bank account to say how much free speech is enough.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/Rifleman Rifleman

    Right, they pretty much pay compliance costs and collect them. The way they are structured though, adds an additional burden that hits companies trying to save for capital investments, a rainy day, or an economic downturn. Also, those taxes effect their global competitiveness. The fed retards growth and their own revenue, which I guess makes sense if you're talking about people who view profit as bad. Still, you'd think they'd be at least smart enough not to kill their gravy train.

  • kenneth gareau

    I agree that any taxes imposed and figured into the price of the product sold puts the product at a disadvantage in global competition. I disagree that it puts a great burden on the corporation for the saving for capital, a downturn in the economy, or a rainy day for this very same reason; these needs are embedded in the cost of a product unless competition makes it an issue where for specific products or industries they cannot be recovered. Thus we get protectionist tarrifs being asked for to level the field. So I agree in part here.

    The group we have in government now and for the past 110 years is not, and I repeat, NOT: "Smarter than s fifth grader". Power is their goal, they can skin us in so many ways they did not need to be concerned, UNTIL NOW!

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/bubba4 bubba4

    Huh? That's too many assertions for one paragraph…and wtf is an "acorn circus"? Who was forced to take bailout money? There is no health care bill yet….you mean I can't send everyone on my mailing list warning them of the Marxist threat of health care reform? Outrageous.

    How much money did Obama get from "overseas"…

    You ever think about providing a link or something? I can't argue against your belief that something happened. And I guess you're callng the President "Hussein"…classy.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/Rifleman Rifleman

    Try google.

    Supporters of hussein and the dp have no room to talk of class.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/Rifleman Rifleman

    Thirty percent of savings annually is a great burden where I come from, and it did stop us from expanding when we needed to or saving a reserve for this economic downturn. We couldn't add machines we needed because we couldn't get the juice, so had to pass on a good chunk of business. We manufacture, the juice and additional high voltage circuits we require may make that more expensive than for many, but we still needed it. I've worked for a small business with open books since it was three people, its' been a real education.