Monday, June 25, 2012

The boot mark of Citizens United.

I have to appreciate Justice Stephen Breyer stepping up to offer clear concerns in the dissenting opinion on the matter of allowing corporate interest unfettered spending on political campaigns in Montana.

Citizen United has been a continuing problem for the country. And money in politics has only grown in it's shaping of politics and politicians. It is remaking the landscape.

I do appreciate the idealist line of thing that money is speech, and to deny the rich and powerful this speech is to hamper free speech.

It is true. Money can say many things. And if it is limited in use during campaign, the power of the rich in politics will be limited. But we, as a nation, make choices on speech, most famously illustrated in the quote by Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.:
The Case of  The 1% vs. The Rest of Us...Eep!
"The right to swing my fist ends where the other man's nose begins."

We do make exceptions (shouting fire, etc.) for the safety and well-being of society. Now, we should not make such decisions lightly, but we can and do make those decisions.

And as Breyer notes, in Montana the laws prohibiting corporate action were placed on the books after a good deal of corruption and bribery that went rampant.
... Montana’s attorney general claimed that the 1912 Corrupt Practices Act should stand as proof that the court’s argument had already been proven wrong over 100 years earlier, when the state’s mining billionaires blatantly bought off state legislators to further their interests. Most notoriously, copper king William Clark was appointed to the Senate by the state legislature, only to have his seating blocked by the Senate in Washington, D.C. over widespread evidence of bribery.  
(via TPM) 
To pretend this is not a continuing risk is farcical. And to ignore the impact this money continues to have is dangerous.

Breyer's words are wise.
“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,” Breyer wrote.

Some people need to wise up. Other's need to stop being so damned greedy.

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