Home National Politics ExxonMobil/Koch Industries Supreme Court Rules: Democracy for Sale to Highest Corporate Bidder

ExxonMobil/Koch Industries Supreme Court Rules: Democracy for Sale to Highest Corporate Bidder

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This morning’s Supreme Court’s 5-4 ruling striking down Montana’s 100-year-old limits on corporate political spending and upholding the Court’s disgraceful “Citizens United” decision demonstrates three important things.

First, that this court’s “conservative” majority is anything but “conservative;” in fact, the four wingnuts on the court – Roberts, Thomas, Scalia, Alito – are activist, right-wing, radical judges (so much for stare decisis!) running amok. Second, those four wingnuts clearly believe that our Democracy is, and should be, for sale to the highest (corporate and/or billionaire) bidder. Third, that the Supreme Court should be a huge issue in the 2012 election cycle; just imagine a President Romney (shudder) having the ability to appoint 1, 2, or more Justices in the mold of Scalia, Thomas, Alito and Roberts? If that happens, you can kiss a lot of things goodbye in this country, first and foremost being our democracy. You can also welcome our new corporate overlords, because that’s exactly who will be in charge.

P.S. I strongly agree with the dissent by Justices Breyer, Ginsburg, Sotomayor and Kagan, which correctly states that “Montana’s experience, like considerable experience elsewhere since the Court’s decision in Citizens United, casts grave doubt on the Court’s supposition that independent expenditures do not corrupt or appear to do so.”

UPDATE: With regard to the Arizona case, 5 Justices “struck down criminal restrictions that would have barred those in the U.S. illegally from seeking work or being in Arizona without proper documentation” and “said the final answer on the centerpiece of the law — a requirement that local police officers check the immigration status of people they suspect might be in the country illegally — will depend on how the provision is enforced.” Of course, the three hardest-core right-wing radical judges (Scalia, Alito, Thomas) disagreed, which once again demonstrates the crucial importance of having a Democratic president fill the next few vacancies on the Court.

UPDATE #2: Justice Scalia utterly contradicts himself on these two rulings, while demonstrating that he’s nothing more than an enraged, “GET OFF MY LAWN!!!” Teabagger at heart. On the one hand, Scalia wrote that “If securing its territory in this fashion is not within the power of Arizona, we should cease referring to it as a sovereign State.” On the other hand, Scalia voted to prevent the supposedly “sovereign state” of Montana from writing its own campaign finance laws. So which is it, Justice Scalia?

  • Dan Sullivan

    This is why the goal must be a Constitutional amendment rather than simply a Supreme Court reversal.

  • Elaine in Roanoke

    Let’s stop calling Justice Kennedy a “swing” vote. He’s pretty much guaranteed to rule with the wingnut four. Let’s just say he is part of the right-wing, corporate cabal that controls the Supreme Court.

  • pontoon

    Court should be a huge issue in this election cycle.  Engaging voters enough to get them to make the connection between the election of a President to his Supreme Court appointments is another story.  Activists understand, but the regular voter I’m not sure thinks that far ahead.  Look how often people vote against their own best interests based on candidates alone, so how can we ever get them to vote for a candidate because he will likely get to make additional Supreme Court appointments?

  • Statement by the President on the Supreme Court’s Ruling on Arizona v. the United States

    I am pleased that the Supreme Court has struck down key provisions of Arizona’s immigration law.  What this decision makes unmistakably clear is that Congress must act on comprehensive immigration reform.  A patchwork  of state laws is not a solution to our broken immigration system – it’s part of the problem.

    At the same time, I remain concerned about the practical impact of the remaining provision of the Arizona law that requires local law enforcement officials to check the immigration status of anyone they even suspect to be here illegally.  I agree with the Court that individuals cannot be detained solely to verify their immigration status.  No American should ever live under a cloud of suspicion just because of what they look like.  Going forward, we must ensure that Arizona law enforcement officials do not enforce this law in a manner that undermines the civil rights of Americans, as the Court’s decision recognizes.  Furthermore, we will continue to enforce our immigration laws by focusing on our most important priorities like border security and criminals who endanger our communities, and not, for example, students who earn their education – which is why the Department of Homeland Security announced earlier this month that it will lift the shadow of deportation from young people who were brought to the United States as children through no fault of their own.

    I will work with anyone in Congress who’s willing to make progress on comprehensive immigration reform that addresses our economic needs and security needs, and upholds our tradition as a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants.  And in the meantime, we will continue to use every federal resource to protect the safety and civil rights of all Americans, and treat all our people with dignity and respect. We can solve these challenges not in spite of our most cherished values – but because of them.  What makes us American is not a question of what we look like or what our names are.  What makes us American is our shared belief in the enduring promise of this country – and our shared responsibility to leave it more generous and more hopeful than we found it.

  • A concise explanation of the Supreme Court’s Arizona decision by Presente.org.

  • TIM KAINE STATEMENT ON SUPREME COURT AFFIRMING CITIZENS UNITED DECISION

    Richmond, VA – Tim Kaine released the following statement today after the Supreme Court reaffirmed its Citizens United ruling in its decision on American Tradition Partnership, Inc. v. Bullock:

    “The Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United has triggered a fundamental shift away from the person-to-person contact that has characterized American politics for more than two centuries. This misguided decision has empowered a small band of extremely wealthy individuals to disproportionately influence the political process by flooding the airwaves with millions of dollars in false attack ads. Montana courageously stood up to this unacceptable system, invoking its own campaign finance law to combat Citizens United, and I am extremely disappointed that the Supreme Court rejected Montana’s right to craft their own model of campaign financing.

    “In my first debate with George Allen I asked him to work with me to keep outside groups and their secret money away from the Virginia Senate race. He refused. I offered to work with him to ensure that, at the very least, these groups disclose their donors. Again, he refused. If chosen to serve in the U.S. Senate, I will work from day one to bring secret money into the open and protect the grassroots participation that has been a staple of our electoral process. George Allen, on the other hand, proudly touts his endorsement from Citizens United and is reaping the benefits of more than $3 million in outside spending on his behalf, filling Virginia airwaves with falsehoods and distortions.

    “This campaign is going to be about two very different visions for our economic future, but it will also be about how our leaders conduct themselves. For too long, special interests’ vice-grip on Washington has contributed to our country’s inability to get things done.  As Senator, I will be a voice and a vote for reforms that limit special interests’ influence over our politics and our policies.”

  • if he agrees or disagrees (or whatever he thinks) with Supreme Court Arizona/immigration decision. Instead, he somehow manages to blame…wait for it…Barack Obama (!!!) for failing to pass immigration reform legislation, even though: a) Congress has failed on this for many, many years, including under George W. Bush; and b) the Republicans are mostly responsible for blocking this, and just about any, significant legislation under President Obama. As usual, what Romney’s campaign says bears Z-E-R-O relationship to the truth.

  • NotJohnSMosby

    Someone needs to ask him what part of Great Britain his ancestors came from.  

  • TIM KAINE STATEMENT ON SUPREME COURT IMMIGRATION DECISION



    Richmond, VA – In response to the decision delivered by the United States Supreme Court in the case of Arizona v. United States, former governor and U.S. Senate candidate Tim Kaine released the following statement:

    “I have always believed that truly comprehensive immigration reform will require all sides to come together to strike a balance to secure our borders and retain and attract the best and brightest talent to contribute to our economy and our communities. Unfortunately, while today’s ruling by the Supreme Court struck down many of the troubling provisions of the Arizona law, it also encourages a patchwork system of local policies that will not address our national immigration challenges. I continue to support comprehensive immigration reform at the federal level as well as the DREAM Act.

    “My opponent has long made it clear that he will obstruct meaningful immigration reform. George Allen fought against President Reagan’s bipartisan immigration reforms and sponsored extreme legislation to end birthright citizenship. As Senator, he opposed President Bush’s bipartisan reform proposals. Recently, he declared his outright opposition to the DREAM Act. We don’t need more voices of obstruction in the Senate. We need problem solvers committed to building our economy by making sure America is a home for talent.”

     

  • DJRippert

    “On the one hand, Scalia wrote that “If securing its territory in this fashion is not within the power of Arizona, we should cease referring to it as a sovereign State.” On the other hand, Scalia voted to prevent the supposedly “sovereign state” of Montana from writing its own campaign finance laws. So which is it, Justice Scalia?”.

    Some rights under the Constitution fall to the federal government while others fall to the states.

    Whether you agree with Scalia or not – why would you find it odd that one matter is considered a states’ right while the other is a federal right?

    The bigger question, in my mind, is whether progressive legislators would take up the cause of a constitutional amendment in order to limit campaign contributions from corporations.  This would seem like a winning political move since the vast majority of Americans believe that there is far too much political influence purchased by America’s moneyed interests.

    Could it be that the progressive politicians are as reluctant to turn off the corporate campaign contribution spigot as their conservative colleagues?