Sandy Hook

Sandy Hook

Thursday, January 21, 2010

U.S. Supreme Court screws small voters

By a 5-4 vote, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a 20-year-old ruling that said corporations can be prohibited from using money from their general treasuries to pay for campaign ads. The decision, which almost certainly will also allow labor unions to participate more freely in campaigns, threatens similar limits imposed by 24 states.

The ruling is a blow to activists who have tried to limit the role of special interests in American politics.

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Dissenting were Justices John Paul Stevens, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer and Sonia Sotomayer. Stevens said, "The court's ruling threatens to undermine the integrity of elected institutions around the nation."

The justices also struck down part of the landmark McCain-Feingold campaign finance bill that barred union- and corporate-paid issue ads in the closing days of election campaigns.

Advocates of strong campaign finance regulations have predicted that a court ruling against the limits would lead to a flood of corporate and union money in federal campaigns as early as November's congressional elections.

The decision removes limits on independent expenditures that are not coordinated with candidates' campaigns.

The case does not affect political action committees, which mushroomed after post-Watergate laws set the first limits on contributions by individuals to candidates.



  1. I think the most damage done to this country by President Bush (and there was much) was his choice of Supreme Court appointees. This is now the most conservative Supreme Court in my lifetime and the results are already being felt.

  2. Darlene: I think this is awful. I just heard on NPR that Obama is outraged. It's doubtful but let's just hope something can be done.

  3. This is bad news.

    The Democrats have large corporate donors, and must now get more.

    The law sometimes has a funny way of taking us where we do not want to go.

    Is the decision legally correct? If money is free speech (that's what the court is saying) does a corporation have that right as individuals do, to use their money for political activities?

    Even so, there is no reason we cannot put limits on that right, as we do with all the other rights we have.

  4. Darlene is right, Bush/Cheney's fingerprints are all over this.

    I bet the "dark one" and his daughter having a ball right now.

  5. TOM: I think its scary as hell and bodes ill for the nation. I don't even understand how it could be tried as a freedom of speech issue, so....

    Holte: I think you're absolutely correct. Kind of sad that even our supreme court is corrupt.

  6. tn: just wondering what would be acceptible then?

    I think you are quite clearly against a corporation giving money to a campaign or a puppet nonprofit to then make ads. Even though I am on the other side of this issue from you, I'd probably support such a limitation.

    But, then, should a corporation be allowed to produce its own ads directly? Or is there still a money-speech problem if, say, a corporation contracts with a printing company to print out flyers?