SUPREME COURT: The Defenders Of The Oligarchy


HUFFINGTON POST: By a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court on Thursday rolled back restrictions on corporate spending on federal campaigns. The decision could unleash a torrent of corporate-funded attack ads in upcoming campaigns.

WASHINGTON POST: The Supreme Court has opened the door to a new era of big and possibly shadowy election spending, rolled back anti-corruption laws and emboldened critics of fundraising limits to press on. In the middle of it all will be voters, trying to figure out who’s telling the truth. The court’s ruling Thursday lets corporate America start advertising candidates much as they market products and tell viewers to vote for or against them. While it almost certainly will lead to a barrage of hard-hitting TV ads in the 2010 elections, its implications reach far beyond that. MORE

DOUG KENDALL: The Court’s ruling could transform our electoral politics. During 2008 alone, Exxon Mobil Corporation generated profits of $45 billion. With a diversion of even two percent of those profits to the political process, this one company could have outspent both presidential candidates and fundamentally changed the dynamic of the 2008 election. As overwhelmingly demonstrated by Justice John Paul Stevens’ breathtaking dissent — read aloud from the bench and joined by Justices Ginsburg, Breyer, and Sotomayor — today’s ruling is startlingly activist and plainly contrary to oligarchy.jpgconstitutional text and history. Two centuries ago, the Supreme Court under Chief Justice Marshall first recognized that corporations are artificial creatures of the State, subject to government oversight to ensure they do not abuse the special privileges granted to them. Corporations cannot vote in elections, stand for election, or serve as elected officials, but the Court today ruled they can overwhelm the political process using profits generated by the special privileges granted to corporations alone. In a profoundly wrong interpretation of the First Amendment, the Court granted corporations the right to drown out the voices of individual Americans in our Nation’s elections. MORE

WALL STREET JOURNAL: Reaction to the court’s decision split largely along ideological lines Thursday. Groups aligned with unions and liberal causes worried that the decision would open up a flood of corporate money to conservative candidates. Groups aligned with conservative causes and business interests applauded the ruling as restoring free-speech rights. Independent groups across the political spectrum will use the ruling to drum up more contributions for their election efforts. The Supreme Court decision stripped away rules that limited the ability of corporations, unions and other organizations to fund and organize their own political campaigns for or against candidates. The court also struck down a part of the McCain-Feingold campaign-finance law that prevented any independent political group from running advertisements with 30 days of a primary election or 60 days before a general election. MORE


CONGRESSMAN ALAN GRAYSON (D- FLA): In a 5-to-4 decision today, the U.S. Supreme Court decided that corporations have the “right” to  spend an unlimited amount of money to influence and manipulate federal elections.  The decision overturns more than a century of law and precedent.  Rep. Alan Grayson (FL-8) immediately condemned the decision.  “This is the worst Supreme Court decision since the Dred Scott case,” Grayson said.  “It leads us all down the road to serfdom.” The court decision completely ignores the likelihood that corporations will spend money to elect officials who will do their bidding, and punish those who won’t.  It allows unlimited election spending by all corporations, even foreign ones.  “The Supreme Court has decided to protect the rights of GE, Volkswagen, Lukoil and Aramco, at the expense of our right to good government,” Grayson added.

oligarchy.pngCongressman Grayson was in the courtroom when the U.S. Supreme Court announced its decision.  Grayson circulated a petition yesterday, saying:  “Unlimited corporate spending on campaigns means the government is up for sale, and that the law itself will be bought and sold.”  Within hours, more than 10,000 people had signed the petition.  Rep. Grayson delivered those petitions to the Court this morning.Rep. Grayson also has introduced five bills, the Save Our Democracy package, in anticipation of the Supreme Court’s ruling.  When he introduced the bills, Grayson said, “if this goes unchallenged, then you can kiss your country goodbye.” Today, Rep. Grayson called for immediate action on his Save Our Democracy bills.  “If we do nothing, then before long, there won’t be Senators from Oklahoma or Virginia, there will be Senators from Citibank and Walmart.  Maybe they will wear insignias on their $500 suits, like NASCAR drivers do.”Grayson urges people to contact their Senators and Representatives, and urge support for the Save Our Democracy bills. MORE

OBAMA: “With its ruling today, the Supreme Court has given a green light to a new stampede of special interest money in our politics,” said President Obama in a statement. “It is a major victory for big oil, Wall Street banks, health insurance companies and the other powerful interests that marshal their power every day in Washington to drown out the voices of everyday Americans… That’s why I am instructing my Administration to get to work immediately with Congress on this issue. We are going to talk with bipartisan Congressional leaders to develop a forceful response to this decision.”

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