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News Citizens United (split from Souter)

  1. Jun 19, 2010 #1

    turbo

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    My point is that there is no way to apply the wording in the Constitution directly to most modern-day legal problems, and that the reactionaries on the right that tout the all-encompassing infallibility and applicability of a 200+ year old document are either ignorant or lying.

    Critics on the right generally claim that their less-radical counterparts are engaging in "judicial activism" and "legislating from the bench" though when their own allies do it there is not a peep. The recent court decision that equates "free speech" with unlimited monetary donations AND extends that right to corporations and other monied interests is a particularly egregious example of such activism. There are a lot of young neo-cons on the court right now, with life-time appointments, so any claims that judges appointed by Obama need to pass some kind of "purity test" ought to be taken with a rather large grain of salt. Really! The thought that a quiet, well-balanced justice like Souter is an "activist" is ridiculous on the face of it.
     
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  3. Jun 19, 2010 #2

    Hurkyl

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    Re: Souter Confirms Republicans' Worst Fears

    As an incidental aside, this was precisely the issue that was up when I last engaged in this debate: there were an awful lot of people condemning the SCOTUS for failing to ignore that corporations are persons under U.S. law. I even recall one person explicitly condemning the SCOTUS because they should have ruled the other way for the good of the country, no matter what judicial review would have compelled them to do.

    This, of course, is one of the kinds of criticism that Souter condemns. People take their own little corner of the law and the constutition, baldly assert their conclusion is obvious (in this case, against Corporate rights) -- i.e. their "fair reading" of the consitution -- and then accuse the SCOTUS of activism because they dared to weigh in other considerations that the critic is staunchly ignoring.
     
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2010
  4. Jun 19, 2010 #3

    turbo

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    Re: Souter Confirms Republicans' Worst Fears

    Can you imagine Thomas, Roberts, and Alito (at a minimum) coming down on the side of private citizens as opposed to corporate interests? Even on matters of settled law? If so, please give some examples.

    We have a very young neo-con contingent on the SC with life-time appointments. Comments made by Justice Souter regarding jurisprudence on the SC should not be any cause for alarm, despite the rantings of the right-wing media. Souter was a Bush (I) appointment and he is not a radical in any sense of the word. If Obama wants to appoint some moderate judges (I consider Kagan a moderate, BTW) to the court, fine.

    Before we draw lines in the sand, I am a fiscal conservative at heart, and voted Republican quite religiously (to the dismay of my father) until Reagan went back on all his campaign promises, stole from the national armory, sold weapons to our sworn enemies (Iran) and used the proceeds to fund an illicit war in central America. Since then, I have had NO party allegiance, because there are crooks and creeps in both parties, and I'm not playing that game anymore. That's a sucker's bet.
     
  5. Jun 20, 2010 #4
    Re: Souter Confirms Republicans' Worst Fears

    I disagree with this completely. The constitution is ultimately the supreme law of the land. Do you not understand why limiting monetary contributions to groups that publicize a political view point is a direct violation of freedom of speech? A corporation is ultimately a group of people. How can they not have freedom of speech? You may not like the law, but I don't understand how you can think these things are not free speech cases.
     
  6. Jun 20, 2010 #5

    Hurkyl

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    Re: Souter Confirms Republicans' Worst Fears

    Before a heated discussion on this particular case starts, I would like to remind everyone that that would belong in a different thread.

    (Discussion of how people reacted to the case would probably be appropriate here, though)
     
  7. Jun 20, 2010 #6
    Re: Souter Confirms Republicans' Worst Fears

    Just to give the other perspective... A corporation may be a group of people but legally it is recognized as an individual. The decision states that it is a matter of those individuals' rights but its effect is to extend rights to the fictional corporate personality.

    http://yubanet.com/usa/Justice-Stevens-Dissenting-Opinion-in-Citizens-United-v-Federal-Election-Commission.php [Broken]

    edit: there are a number of references to the relative treatment of corporations in law through out the opinion but this is the only section that makes a simple and broad opinion of the matter.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  8. Jun 20, 2010 #7

    BobG

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    Re: Souter Confirms Republicans' Worst Fears

    Likewise, a church is a group of people. Using CU as a precedent, it should be unconstitutional to limit their ability to contribute money to political campaigns or to endorse specific candidates in sermons during church. They would be even more effective at swaying elections than corporations.

    (Or would they? This is a divisive issue even among church leaders since openly endorsing the wrong candidate could cut church donations even worse than the chunk the IRS would take out of them. People have a much closer relationship to their church than the corporations they invest in and its hard for that political activity to fly under the radar if they conduct it in the middle of church services.)

    Considering 33 pastors gave political sermons during the 2008 Presidential elections trying to provoke the IRS into revoking their tax exempt status so the church could respond with a lawsuit and considering the number increased to over 80 in 2009, it's just a matter of time before church political activity winds up before the Supreme Court. So far, the IRS audited one of the churches that took part in the 2008 sermons, but closed its investigation without reaching a conclusion.

    Applying individual rights to groups creates numerous problems. The CU case had to focus on what rights were given to corporations by the law, not focus on the fact that corporations were groups of individuals. Doing the latter opens the road to chaos.
     
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