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Supreme Court Rolls Back Corporate Campaign Spending Limits

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the hearken-to-the-nelson-laugh dept.

United States 1070

lorenlal writes "The Supreme Court of the United States must have figured that restrictions on corporate support of candidates was a violation of free speech, or something like that." From the AP story linked above: "By a 5-4 vote, the court on Thursday 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."

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Constitution? (1, Insightful)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 4 years ago | (#30850692)

If the U.S. Constitution ensures the free speech rights of corporations, as the SCOTUS has judged, then clearly the Constitution is defective.

Right of free speech + right of association (4, Insightful)

dazedNconfuzed (154242) | more than 4 years ago | (#30850756)

Right of free speech + right of association = right of groups, as corporations, to speak freely.

Re:Right of free speech + right of association (4, Insightful)

DaHat (247651) | more than 4 years ago | (#30850896)

Well said... also interesting that the focus of most of this has been on corporations and not other groups (be it PACs, unions, etc).

I wonder at times if what they really want is to effectively limit free speech to those persons who are sufficiently eloquent or well spoken... because if there is a cause I really believe in, but am not really good at speaking on, they seem to want to prohibit me from getting together with a group of like minded people and throwing our support behind a person or two who can do the best job of making a case for what we believe.

Re:Right of free speech + right of association (5, Insightful)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 4 years ago | (#30851002)

Right of free speech + right of association = right of groups, as corporations, to speak freely.

I'm not arguing that SCOTUS's logic is unsound. I'm arguing that even if their logic is sound, the conclusions they've reached have badly damaged the U.S., because it essentially lets rich corporations decide our laws.

And for that reason, the Constitution should perhaps be changed so that corporations cannot do this.

Re:Right of free speech + right of association (1)

jimbolauski (882977) | more than 4 years ago | (#30851084)

And this would be different how?

Re:Right of free speech + right of association (5, Informative)

epiphani (254981) | more than 4 years ago | (#30851010)

I read up quickly on the methods Canada takes on this, because we actually have - what I would consider - sane laws on this subject.

We limit individuals to a maximum $5000 donation. We limit corporations to a maximum $1000 donation.

Finally, and most importantly, we limit the amount any campaign can spend. For a major federal election, it has to do with the last cycle's vote pull. The major parties generally have gotten around $20 million as a cap for any election.

Contrast this with quotes I remember of saying that the 2008 presidential election in the states ran in excess of a billion dollars.

Just for reference, if you guys down there ever feel like fixing your shit.

Re:Right of free speech + right of association (2, Informative)

BillCable (1464383) | more than 4 years ago | (#30851214)

The US has limits on individual donations as well. $2400. And corporations are prohibited from donating anything. http://www.fec.gov/pages/brochures/citizens.shtml [fec.gov] Perhaps Canada isn't all that much better than the USA after all...

Re:Right of free speech + right of association (5, Insightful)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 4 years ago | (#30851184)

You are correct, but the implications of this get really sticky.

The right of association does not necessarily mean the will of the members of that association will be reflected. It means the will of the LEADERS of that association will be reflected. That may or may not reflect the membership, and the membership may or may not be voluntary unless you like quitting jobs because your boss or union steward does not agree with your political views.

A very large company could basically outright buy an election, any election they wanted, and not just limited to one election at a time. Don't like the way the legislature is writing antitrust law? Find the candidates in each state Senate election that are the least likely to want to have antitrust legislation and spend a few billion dollars on massive ad blitzes attacking their opponents. I think you'd find a very large majority of very large companies that could support such an effort, and they could spend tens of millions of dollars on even local elections without flinching. It wouldn't even match their current spending on Superbowl ads, fercrissake. There would be no opportunity for anyone to hear an opposing credible view, because a sufficiently large coalition of companies can buy ALL of the available airtime for an election.

On the other hand, drawing the line on what constitutes "free" versus "political" speech is difficult.

Re:Right of free speech + right of association (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30851240)

Corporations are entities exclusively chartered by a state and granted the rights in its charter. They are not persons nor states, the only two groups the constitution concerns.

Re:Constitution? (3, Funny)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 4 years ago | (#30850772)

Then perhaps we should amend it! In the meantime, free speech (and a free press) isn't just a good idea: it's the law.

Re:Constitution? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30850782)

Why?

Do you believe individuals should have the right to spend money on campaigns? (I do; your money, do with it as you wish.) If you do, then why shouldn't groups of individuals have the right to decide as a group what to do with money owned by the group, using whatever governance structure the group has previously agreed to?

Re:Constitution? (1)

polar red (215081) | more than 4 years ago | (#30850848)

a rich man buys many votes ... the gravitational pull of money increases even more ...

Re:Constitution? (1)

djmartins (801854) | more than 4 years ago | (#30850988)

"Why? Do you believe individuals should have the right to spend money on campaigns? (I do; your money, do with it as you wish.) If you do, then why shouldn't groups of individuals have the right to decide as a group what to do with money owned by the group, using whatever governance structure the group has previously agreed to?" Simple reason. Corporations can live forever, people can't. Corporations should have NEVER been given the same rights as people.

Re:Constitution? (1)

elfstone1555 (907122) | more than 4 years ago | (#30851006)

They may have the right to spend their money... Unfortunately due to the decline of social security I am forced to place my savings in the stock market in order to ensure I can retire. I have no way of knowing which corporations are getting my money through the various funds that are offered to me. Now those same corporations I am force to invest in are able to take my money and support politics and policies that I don't agree with. How is that fair?

Re:Constitution? (5, Funny)

Captain Splendid (673276) | more than 4 years ago | (#30850850)

then clearly the Constitution is defective.

You're thinking about this the wrong way. The constitution is not defective. Finally, all this anti-corporate ideology is on the wane, and true social equality will soon be reached when we get a corporation as a supreme court justice.

Re:Constitution? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30851036)

I pray to God you are being sarcastic. Allowing corporations to be treated as persons for purposes of free speech is wrong. The Government was by The People and for The People not by and for The Corporations. All hail Caesar!

Re:Constitution? (4, Insightful)

SnapShot (171582) | more than 4 years ago | (#30851146)

Good point. Since corporations were granted their personhood in 1884 there has never been a corporation as President or even Governor. By now we should have seen a Senator Dow Chemical or a Representative Monstanto, but there's obviously a pervasive bias in the system that keeps corporations down.

Sure, they have nearly infinite amounts of money, are essentially immortal, require no sleep, clean water, fresh air, or safe food, and have two political parties and 60% of the Supreme Court at their beck and call. But, could that have ever made up for the pain they must have felt knowing that they couldn't fully exercise their 1st Amendment Rights?

Thank God the Roberts Court has righted this injustice and ended over a century of disenfranchisement of our most vulnerable pseudo-citizens.

Isn't there one already? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30851166)

> Finally, all this anti-corporate ideology is on the wane, and true social equality will soon be reached when we get a corporation as a supreme court justice.

I thought that Samuel Alito, Ltd. was already on the court?

Re:Constitution? (5, Insightful)

killmenow (184444) | more than 4 years ago | (#30850882)

It's not the Constitution that's defective. It's the Supreme Court ruling in 1886 [wikipedia.org] that effectively gave corporations personhood. THAT is what needs to be overturned.

Re:Constitution? (1)

bigjarom (950328) | more than 4 years ago | (#30850990)

Or maybe, just maybe, both the Constitution AND one or more of the Supreme Court rulings are indeed defective. The Constitution is not perfect, and I challenge anyone to explain otherwise.

Re:Constitution? (1)

killmenow (184444) | more than 4 years ago | (#30851186)

OK, I wasn't perfectly clear but I meant it's not the Constitution that's defective in this particular case. Sure, it's not perfect. Agreed. But it's pretty damn good. And the bigger problem is giving corporations the same rights as people.

NOT REALLY THE PROBLEM (2, Insightful)

tjstork (137384) | more than 4 years ago | (#30850918)

At issue is that under the Constitution, the Federal Government has no explicit power to regulate even political campaign donations.

Re:Constitution? (5, Insightful)

dyfet (154716) | more than 4 years ago | (#30850932)

The problem is that corporations are legal fictions which seem to have been given all of the rights of real people, but with NONE of the consequences or responsibilities. Freedom without responsibility is social destruction.

Re:Constitution? (3, Insightful)

rahvin112 (446269) | more than 4 years ago | (#30851014)

The problem isn't the constitution. The courts ruling is correct. The problem is that Congress declared Corporations "persons" under US law. Give them the legal recognition of a person and they have all the rights too. Congress can undo this by simply making Corporations a legal entity that isn't a "person" under US law. Unfortunately this will never happen because to many people in congress benefit from corporations being "persons". It gives corporations all the benefits of being a "person" without any of the risks (such as going to jail). Congress did this, not the courts.

Re:Constitution? (1)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 4 years ago | (#30851236)

If the U.S. Constitution ensures the free speech rights of corporations, as the SCOTUS has judged, then clearly the Constitution is defective.

So, if someone decides to become a self corporation, do they lose all rights as far as you are concerned?

Remember, all companies are made up of people. They are not evil entities all on their own. They are made up of stock holders, boards and employees, all people.

Bad, bad news (4, Insightful)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 4 years ago | (#30850698)

We need to replace the "conservatives" on the supreme court who don't understand that corporations should not have the constitutional rights of citizens.

Re:Bad, bad news (1)

Delwin (599872) | more than 4 years ago | (#30850718)

My real fear is that it won't stop at free speech. How long until corporations get to vote?

Re:Bad, bad news (5, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | more than 4 years ago | (#30850784)

They already have the only vote that matters. If you can choose who the candidates are, you never have to worry about which one wins.

Re:Bad, bad news (5, Insightful)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 4 years ago | (#30851204)

That doesn't sound like a complaint against corporations, it sounds like a complaint against the Republican and Democrat political parties. Especially the incumbents.

And there's a reason that the thing was nicknamed the McCain-Feingold Incumbent Protection Act.

Re:Bad, bad news (1)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 4 years ago | (#30850964)

That wouldn't be a bad idea if a behemoth like Google would back the Pirate Party's candidate.

Especially since banks and, say, Oil companies are on American public opinion's shitlist.

Re:Bad, bad news (0)

jimbolauski (882977) | more than 4 years ago | (#30851152)

I'm sure many corporations would gladly give up free speech if they were not taxed like individuals.

Re:Bad, bad news (1)

igadget78 (1698420) | more than 4 years ago | (#30850738)

We need to replace the "conservatives" on the supreme court who don't understand that corporations should not have the constitutional rights of citizens.

Doesn't matter. they are all the same.

Do you want Cauliflower or Broccoli?

Re:Bad, bad news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30850748)

No, those rights should be reserved for terrorists.

Re:Bad, bad news (0, Flamebait)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 4 years ago | (#30850800)

So The Conservatives get huge funding from Corporations.
The Liberals get huge funding from Unions.

What is new here. Both sides are just as corrupt and twised.

The right will steal money out of your right pocket.
The Left will send next to you on you left and reach around and steal money out of your right pocket.

Re:Bad, bad news (1)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 4 years ago | (#30850876)

The vote was 5 to 4, with conservatives in the majority. If there were less conservatives in the court, this decision would have swung the other way.

Re:Bad, bad news (1)

Col. Klink (retired) (11632) | more than 4 years ago | (#30851016)

Groups that support this ruling: NRA, ACLU, US Chamber of Commerce & the AFL-CIO.

Re:Bad, bad news (1, Flamebait)

Captain Splendid (673276) | more than 4 years ago | (#30850884)

So The Conservatives get huge funding from Corporations and jesus freaks.
The Liberals get huge funding from Corporations and Unions.


Fixed that for you.

Re:Bad, bad news (1)

polar red (215081) | more than 4 years ago | (#30850956)

Do the unions have money?

Re:Bad, bad news (1)

Captain Splendid (673276) | more than 4 years ago | (#30851070)

Well no, not as much as your average corporation, but to not mention them is to risk getting wingnuts all in a froth.

And there's nothing sadder than a conservative with pee-stained trousers.

Re:Bad, bad news (4, Insightful)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 4 years ago | (#30850828)

When they ratified an amendment protecting the free press, next to Speech, you don't think that any corporation had ever spent any money to publish a newspaper to push a political opinion?

Re:Bad, bad news (3, Insightful)

DaHat (247651) | more than 4 years ago | (#30850942)

Never mind that most press organizations (tv, radio & print) are all run by for-profit corporations.

Re:Bad, bad news (5, Insightful)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 4 years ago | (#30850854)

We need to replace the "conservatives" on the supreme court who don't understand that corporations should not have the constitutional rights of citizens.

The constitution doesn't give you, or a business formed by you and a friend, any rights. The constitution is there to limit the government's ability to take those rights away. Being able to buy a newspaper advertisement or broadcast an advertisement isn't something that the goverment should be able to prevent you (or the company you've formed) from doing. Likewise for labor unions, advocacy groups, churches, scouting troops, bowling leagues, open source code projects, or anyone else.

I'm always amazed at how many misguided people think their rights come from the government. That explains a lot about why statists like Pelosi and Reid think they have so much more traction than they really do. Don't give it to them, now matter how much you want the government to be your Nanny.

Re:Bad, bad news (4, Insightful)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 4 years ago | (#30850958)

The constitution doesn't give you, or a business formed by you and a friend, any rights. The constitution is there to limit the government's ability to take those rights away.

Thank you for reminding us that many of the first X amendments state "Congress shall pass no law that...", not "Citizens may..."

Re:Bad, bad news (0, Flamebait)

Captain Splendid (673276) | more than 4 years ago | (#30851140)

And thank the both of you for your public mutual masturbation session that added nothing of value to the discussion.

Re:Bad, bad news (2, Insightful)

Seakip18 (1106315) | more than 4 years ago | (#30851142)

I think the main distinction is that, the individual or group of individuals that put these opinions out there cannot be restricted by the gov't. If a corporation assists in extracting and spreading these opinions, then it's all good, because the opinions are not that of the corporation(at least on the face), just that of the individuals.

Granted, Fox news isn't going to want publish an editorial applauding Obama, but you get the point.

A corporation, where there is NO individual in play, should not have any of these rights, because they are not a person, ergo, how can they have any fundamental rights?

A corporation, instead, is a legal entity created and defined under the US law. It can simplify the ownership of holdings, properties and patents as well as managing finances(yeah. I greatly simplified it, but again, you get the idea.)

Beyond that, it is as real as my perpetual motion machine. I have no problems placing legal restrictions on the financial "donations" of this legal entity to candidates. Their business practice alone should make me want to get behind whatever message/candidate they are pushing. I don't need them paying so much money that I can't turn on the TV without hearing "Obama this. Pelosi that!".

PS. For unions, just add "membership restricted/compelled membership" to the definition of a corporation.

Re:Bad, bad news (1)

RingDev (879105) | more than 4 years ago | (#30851176)

The constitution doesn't give you, or a business formed by you and a friend, any rights. The constitution is there to limit the government's ability to take those rights away. Being able to buy a newspaper advertisement or broadcast an advertisement isn't something that the goverment should be able to prevent you (or the company you've formed) from doing. Likewise for labor unions, advocacy groups, churches, scouting troops, bowling leagues, open source code projects, or anyone else.

If your purchasing of that advertisement threatens the fundamentals of democracy, than it is absolutely the purview of the government to limit such purchases.

-Rick

You think like a ReThuglican Jew (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30851200)

You think like a ReThuglican Jew

Re:Bad, bad news (4, Insightful)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 4 years ago | (#30850868)

We need to replace the "conservatives" on the supreme court who don't understand that corporations should not have the constitutional rights of citizens.

I think we face this issue: What do we do when those who have studied a subject extensively (the USPTO members in this case) come to conclusions that seem absurd (relative to our plain reading of the Constitution, in this case). Because most of us who are supposedly bound the the Constitution don't have the time and means to study it extensively while still meeting our other responsibilities.

One the one hand, we might conclude that if we too had studied the Constitution extensively, we would reach the same conclusions as the SCOTUS. And then we can choose to either accept their judgment, or try to muster the balls to get the Constitution changed.

Or on the other hand, we might reason that regardless of the sophistication of their reasoning, it must have some (perhaps hidden) flaw, because of the conclusions they've reached. (I.e., that corporations have free-speech rights that are so sacrosanct that they can legally de facto buy legislation). I'm not exactly sure what options this leaves us, shy of revolution. Which despite the bravado we often exhibit on this site, would have tragic consequences in terms of lost or ruined lives of innocent persons.

Re:Bad, bad news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30851228)

"Plain readings" of legal matters, the Constitution included, are rarely accurate. There's a reason that "strict constructionists" are rare, and why their tirades usually end up with educated colleagues drifting off into more academically rigorous daydreams.

Re:Bad, bad news (-1, Flamebait)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 4 years ago | (#30850984)

Talk about cutting off your nose to spite your face! I don't mind revoking "Personhood" from Corporations. However, the 1st amendment must never be compromised in the process. Yet, that's exactly what you're advocating as it's always been the conservatives trying to defend those freedoms, not the liberals.

Re:Bad, bad news (0, Flamebait)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 4 years ago | (#30851088)

Oh nonsense, we all know that conservatives are the ones that want to take away our right to speech ("Fair Speech" thing for radio), our right to own guns, our right to choose ... say ... health care options? ...

It's the liberals who are the ones that want to allow us to make our own choices in all walks of life.

(of course, the small print is that our own choices have to be taken from the choices they give us...)

Yes, sarcasm. :)

I don't agree with the whole corporation-as-person thing and I do'nt like the company-buying-elections thing either, but to say that conservatives are ruining our rights and that liberals are the ones trying to uphold the constitution and the rights therein seems remarkably ignorant of even the way they treat and view the constitution.

What we need are people on the SCOTUS that don't try to use the SCOTUS to make laws by re-interpreting the constitution.

I for one... (5, Funny)

Delwin (599872) | more than 4 years ago | (#30850700)

welcome our new Disney overlords.

Re:I for one... (4, Insightful)

polar red (215081) | more than 4 years ago | (#30850768)

Your system already looks like 2 conglomerate's of wealthy men dividing the dough and the sweat of 99% of US' citizens.

Re:I for one... (2, Informative)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#30851112)

Except for the part where 99% is hilariously wrong.

(Per capita productivity in the U.S., including babies and such, is about $50,000. If 99% of that were being taken away, the average household would be living on like $2,000 a year)

Re:I for one... (1)

192939495969798999 (58312) | more than 4 years ago | (#30851080)

I can't wait for the state of the union, when the president proclaims that our new greatest priority is to "do the Dew".

Not just corporations (4, Informative)

wiredog (43288) | more than 4 years ago | (#30850706)

Unions too.

Re:Not just corporations (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30850970)

Hey now, people 'round these parts don't like you bad-mouthing unions.

Re:Not just corporations (1)

Em Emalb (452530) | more than 4 years ago | (#30850972)

Oh YAY!

Like the Air Traffic Controllers union wasn't ALREADY spamming the air waves enough with their crap, now we get to hear from all the unions. Good stuff. It's not bad enough we get stupid ads slandering the crap out of whatever goober is running for office by another goober running for office, now unions are gonna weigh in too.

Just frigging peachy.

Re:Not just corporations (2, Insightful)

EnderWiggnz (39214) | more than 4 years ago | (#30850982)

Yes, I'm sure that the Union's will be able to match the corporations contributions.

Actually, what will probably happen is that Unions will be made illegal after all of the government is bought and paid for.

*This* is what the second amendment is for. We apparently don't have a working democracy anymore.

Re:Not just corporations (1)

RyoShin (610051) | more than 4 years ago | (#30851030)

True, but I'd bet the ratio of "greedy, no good corp":"all corporations" is far higher than "greedy, useless union":"all unions". So while those unions who still strive for their members will get a boost here, that will be overwhelmingly drowned out by corporations hurrying to create ad campaigns for whatever they want.

However, there is one distinction I find important that is not mentioned in the summary (surprise!):

It leaves in place a prohibition on direct contributions to candidates from corporations and unions.

So both corps and unions still can't funnel money directly to candidates, they can basically accomplish everything themselves. While important, it doesn't leave a lot of hope; it's like saying 'Oh, this pile of shit is slightly less pungent than those last 15 piles of shit. Jolly good!' And I find this funny:

The ruling will lead to a "stampede of special interest money in our politics," Obama said in a statement.

Because that doesn't already happen, amirite? Then there's this, which is just stupid:

Roberts, in a separate opinion, said that upholding the limits would have restrained "the vibrant public discourse that is at the foundation of our democracy."

I don't know about you, but my local corporations have certainly been interested in furthering discord--er, discourse.

Re:Not just corporations (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 4 years ago | (#30851110)

And I love how Corporations and Unions are now intrinsically bound! =) Together they rise, or together they fall. But one cannot be risen above the other out of political favoritism! Hahahaah, I LOVE IT!!!

Decision here (1)

dazedNconfuzed (154242) | more than 4 years ago | (#30850712)

http://www.supremecourtus.gov/opinions/09pdf/08-205.pdf [supremecourtus.gov]

...
Some members of the public might consider Hillary to be insightful and instructive; some might find it to beneither high art nor a fair discussion on how to set the Nation’s course; still others simply might suspend judg-ment on these points but decide to think more about issuesand candidates. Those choices and assessments, however, are not for the Government to make. “The First Amend-ment underwrites the freedom to experiment and to create in the realm of thought and speech. Citizens must be free to use new forms, and new forums, for the expression ofideas. The civic discourse belongs to the people, and the Government may not prescribe the means used to conduct it.” McConnell, supra, at 341 (opinion of KENNEDY, J.).

The judgment of the District Court is reversed withrespect to the constitutionality of 2 U. S. C. 441b’s re-strictions on corporate independent expenditures. The judgment is affirmed with respect to BCRA’s disclaimer and disclosure requirements. The case is remanded for further proceedings consistent with this opinion. It is so ordered.

So much for government by the people (1, Insightful)

bkr1_2k (237627) | more than 4 years ago | (#30850770)

Now your vote really doesn't count... if it ever did after creation of the electoral college. With unlimited spending the sheep who listen without thinking will just keep electing who they're told and never consider the consequences. Yay...

Re:So much for government by the people (2, Insightful)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#30850900)

That's still government by the people.

Re:So much for government by the people (1)

tjstork (137384) | more than 4 years ago | (#30850944)

With unlimited spending the sheep who listen without thinking will just keep electing who they're told and never consider the consequences. Yay...

You are just bitter that the sheep will listen to someone besides you.

Re:So much for government by the people (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 4 years ago | (#30851158)

Now your vote really doesn't count... if it ever did after creation of the electoral college. With unlimited spending the sheep who listen without thinking will just keep electing who they're told and never consider the consequences. Yay...

So, you apparently believe that the votes of individuals have not counted in the U.S. since the ratification of the Constitution. Of course, what you don't seem to understand is that the Electoral College actually increases the weight of an individual vote. I saw an article online several years ago where someone worked through the math to show that by dividing people up to vote for the members of the Electoral College it increased the weight of each vote over a simple majority takes all system.
One thing to keep in mind, the "corporation" in question was a group of people who did not like Hillary and made a movie about her. They attempted to distribute this movie as pay per view in 2008. Lower courts ruled that the movie was a long political ad and therefore should be subject to regulation under the McCain-Feingold bill.

Re:So much for government by the people (1)

Salgak1 (20136) | more than 4 years ago | (#30851212)

How exactly does this affect my vote counting or not ? It just means more spam in the mail - which becomes kindling in my fireplace, and more commercials on radio and TV. . .which I generally don't listen to or watch anyway. They're ALL pimps and whores, and if they want to spend more money in political advertising BS, well, it's a free country, and the rest of us are free to ignore the noise. . .

Welcome to Fascism (0, Troll)

jwhitener (198343) | more than 4 years ago | (#30850802)

The U(F)SA is now a de facto fascist state.

Re:Welcome to Fascism (2, Insightful)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 4 years ago | (#30850894)

The U(F)SA is now a de facto fascist state.

(citation needed)

Or, perhaps just a functioning definition of the word "fascist," which you clearly don't have. Idiot.

citation (3, Informative)

RelliK (4466) | more than 4 years ago | (#30851066)

Here you go, idiot.

"Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power." - Benito Mussolini.

Re:Welcome to Fascism (1)

mweather (1089505) | more than 4 years ago | (#30851076)

Fascism is corporatism coupled with authoritarianism, so he's only half wrong.

Re:Welcome to Fascism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30851132)

"Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power."
-- Benito Mussolini

Sounds like an accurate enough definition to me.

Re:Welcome to Fascism (1)

Leghorn (44886) | more than 4 years ago | (#30851000)

It has happened here.

Re:Welcome to Fascism (1)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 4 years ago | (#30851150)

The U(F)SA is now a de facto fascist state.

Does this qualify as a Godwin violation?

Re:Welcome to Fascism (1)

V50 (248015) | more than 4 years ago | (#30851230)

Over the top use of words and phrases likes that not only makes you look panicked and ridiculous, but weakens it for when a case might actually be applicable. I assume you are probably referring to the corporate state idea, but even then, a simple ruling is just a ruling. IBM does not yet appoint the president, Microsoft does not have a veto on laws. One must wait until time has actually passed to see if your zealous "END OF AMERICA" prediction actually happens. My guess: it won't. Corporations will spend more money during elections, maybe (or possibly not, we'll see) but your country will pretty much remain the same.

Reminds me of when Stephen Harper was elected in my country four years ago. Some people made up mock tombstones with "Canada 1867-2006". Four years later, despite what one may think of him, Canada certainly did not end in 2006, and that stuff just served to make the creators look like political chicken littles.

I for one, welcome our Chinese Overlords (5, Insightful)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 4 years ago | (#30850810)

[Chief Justice] Roberts said he was not prepared to "embrace a theory of the 1st Amendment that would allow censorship not only of television and radio broadcasts, but of pamphlets, posters, the Internet and virtually any other medium that corporations and unions might find useful in expressing their views on matters of public concern."

But [Justice] Stevens and the dissenters said the majority was ignoring the long-understood rule that the government could limit election money from corporations, unions and others, such as foreign governments. "Under today's decision, multinational corporations controlled by foreign governments" would have the same rights as Americans to spend money to tilt U.S. elections. "Corporations are not human beings. They can't vote and can't run for office," Stevens said, and should be subject to restrictions under the election laws.

Maybe China now has something useful to do with the trillion+ dollars they have burning a hole in their pocket.

Re:I for one, welcome our Chinese Overlords (1)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 4 years ago | (#30850890)

Too bad they don't fix their country for their people with it.

A great victory for free speech! (2, Insightful)

AlexLibman (785653) | more than 4 years ago | (#30850812)

Corporations are voluntary contracts between individuals, and those individuals have rights, period. If some of you Slashdot commies fail to comprehend that, that is your problem and yours alone.

(More here.) [google.com]

Re:A great victory for free speech! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30850954)

Those individuals have free speech rights, not the contracts.

Re:A great victory for free speech! (1)

mweather (1089505) | more than 4 years ago | (#30851040)

The individuals in the corporation weren't affected by these limits, only the corporation itself.

Re:A great victory for free speech! (2, Insightful)

twmcneil (942300) | more than 4 years ago | (#30851060)

Exactly! And those individuals do not require a corporation has a vehicle to exercise their constitutional rights. They can do that already as individuals. What's next? Giving corporations the right to vote?

Free Speech for CEOs maybe (1)

vajrabum (688509) | more than 4 years ago | (#30851102)

And how many of those individuals involved in the contract get to pariticipate in the decision of who and when to support how much? Not the stockholders. Certainly not anyone below C level that's for sure. Now that's the right way to run a participatory democratic republic--turn it over to the CEOs. Control of the government largely by and for corporate (and union) managers.

Re:A great victory for free speech! (1)

jjohn24680 (1050922) | more than 4 years ago | (#30851114)

Corporations are voluntary contracts between individuals, and those individuals have rights, period. If some of you Slashdot commies fail to comprehend that, that is your problem and yours alone.

I agree, those individuals do have rights. So, let those individuals pay for the advertisements. If a collective of individuals wishes to pay for the advertisement, they can give an individual the money to pay for it. The bottom line for me is that the rights are a person's rights, a U.S. Citizen's rights, not a corporation's rights. Let the person spend the money and put their name on the advertisement. Does it become inconvenient for them to do this? Yes, but inconvenience is not an excuse. If some Chinese corporation wants to pay a U.S. Citizen to run a political advertisement here in the U.S., let them. As long as a U.S. Citizen puts their name on the bottom line, let them do it. They can bear the responsibility. Oh, yea, that's the whole issue. Nobody wants to be responsible for the advertisement by putting their name on it. But that's a whole different issue.

Fair enough... (3, Insightful)

Seakip18 (1106315) | more than 4 years ago | (#30850836)

Since corporations are able to possess the 1st amendment as a whole body, are they not entitled the remaining amendments?

Ok, that IS crazy. But what isn't is that, come election time, I wouldn't be surprised if pink slips get issued in order to free up some money to run messages for/against our tastycrats and fingerlick'ans.

"It's going to be the Wild Wild West," said Ben Ginsberg, a Republican attorney who has represented several GOP presidential campaigns. "If corporations and unions can give unlimited amounts ... it means that the public debate is significantly changed with a lot more voices and it means that the loudest voices are going to be corporations and unions."

I have to agree.

Corporations and unions have been given the right to buy who ever they want without any back alley deals...as long as the money doesn't go directly to or is coordinated by candidate.

Welcome! (4, Insightful)

Profane MuthaFucka (574406) | more than 4 years ago | (#30850866)

I, for one, welcome our new psychopathic, immortal, politically empowered, corporate-person overlords!

In Soviet America: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30850870)

Corporate spending LIMIT You !

Yours In Perm,
K. Trout

Before the blame game begins... (3, Insightful)

whatajoke (1625715) | more than 4 years ago | (#30850880)

And the truth is, there is something terribly wrong with this country, isn't there? Cruelty and injustice, intolerance and oppression. And where once you had the freedom to object, to think and speak as you saw fit, you now have censors and systems of surveillance coercing your conformity and soliciting your submission. How did this happen? Who's to blame? Well certainly there are those more responsible than others, and they will be held accountable, but again truth be told, if you're looking for the guilty, you need only look into a mirror. I know why you did it. I know you were afraid. Who wouldn't be? War, terror, disease. There were a myriad of problems which conspired to corrupt your reason and rob you of your common sense. Fear got the best of you, and in your panic you turned to the now high chancellor, Adam Sutler. He promised you order, he promised you peace, and all he demanded in return was your silent, obedient consent.
- V

what could possibly go wrong? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30850892)

it's downright dangerous NOT to allow individuals the right to buy elections, whether they are actually a person, or just a multinational entity controlling billions of dollars in currency, entire countries, standing armies, and with the singular mission to exploit every possible resource for profit, and answerable only to an isolated board of uber-rich trustees whose only motive is profit. I s

America's downfall was person == corp (5, Insightful)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 4 years ago | (#30850904)

A corp has no real responsibility, no sense of morals, and rarely ever is punished for many of its crimes. ANd yet, we equate it to man. That single warped logic is killing us.

There goes the neighborhood (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30850912)

Sheesh. As if we weren't in enough of a state of decay with corporations running the government. Looks as if the plan is to remove all restrictions and rush headlong toward complete fascism. Perhaps we should re-read Orwell's 1984 and Gibson's Neuromancer to see what happens next.

Anonymous Coward (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30850950)

I don't understand why we don't limit the amount of money a candidate can spend on an election...period. This would stop people from buying elections and present a more level playing field for the candidates. Are there any arguments as to why this is a bad idea? Of course I see why the politicians wouldn't like it, but wouldn't this be a good thing for you and me?

This has nothing to do with free speech... (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#30851012)

...and everything to do with money. Most of the time shouts of "free speech!" are heard, it's because of money.

A CORPORATION doesn't have an opinion, and thus doesn't need to be financing political commercials. A PERSON can, sure...but not a frakking COMPANY.

Both good and bad ways aspects (4, Insightful)

JoshuaZ (1134087) | more than 4 years ago | (#30851018)

I haven't read the decision and the dissent yet, but I'm fascinated by how immediately negative the comments prior to this one are, especially the comments that try to argue that corporations should have fewer free speech rights than people. Part of the nature of free speech is that there's always some category that one would often not want to apply it to. For the Slashdot crowd that seems to be corporations. But the whole point of robust free speech is that you give it to any who want to use it. Concern over what this will do to elections is understandable as a policy concern but that's a pragmatic consideration that shouldn't impact such basic philosophical decisions. Moreover, what this really does is level the playing field between corporations. As it is now, Fox or MSNBC or any major newspaper can effectively push for a candidate or policy they want simply by the bias in their coverage. But a corporation that isn't involved in "news" or the like has its hands tied. And as for the impact this might have on elections: It should be apparent from the election of Obama that if a lot of people actually care about a candidate they can give in both time and money a lot more than even many large corporations. Of course, that candidate might then turn around and sell people out, but that's a separate problem...

Re:Both good and bad ways aspects (5, Insightful)

etymxris (121288) | more than 4 years ago | (#30851092)

Free speech for individuals is great. The problem is that corporations are not people and money is not speech.

Free sppech? (4, Insightful)

mweather (1089505) | more than 4 years ago | (#30851020)

If corporations want to be individuals, it's time we start taxing them like individuals.

Congratulations, America (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30851038)

About time we got rid of this silly "democracy" nonsense

I pledge allegiance
To the logo
Of the Corporate States of America
And to the people
On whom we stand
One company
Under money
Indefatigable
With misery and injustice for all

Re:Congratulations, America (1)

spidercoz (947220) | more than 4 years ago | (#30851064)

whoops, didn't mean to be anon on that, oh well, fuckit

Good call. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30851074)

And not because I think corporations and other large entities buying votes is a good thing. It's not.

It's a good call because a direct assault on free speech isn't the answer. The answer is to use the FCC, use the tax laws, use other indirect methods to get this under control.

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