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US Supreme Court Expected Political Ad Transparency

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the oh-yeah-that'll-happen dept.

The Almighty Buck 617

T Murphy writes "The Supreme Court, when ruling that corporate and union political donations were allowed under free speech, assumed the source of the donation would be disclosed immediately under current donation laws. Due to loopholes, this has not been the case, eliminating the hoped-for transparency the Supreme Court ruled to be vital to democracy. Justice Kennedy, who sided with the majority on the ruling, has been called naive for his expectation that there would be greater transparency. In the meantime, campaign spending for House candidates alone is expected to reach $1.5 billion."

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Kennedy's folly and sad legacy (4, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 3 years ago | (#34036770)

Kennedy has always attempted to be a fair mediator between the left and right impulses on the Court. But he really blew it on this one. His attempt at moderation in this case has taken an already out-of-control problem and made it much worse. This ruling will ensure that individual citizens are forevermore completely and totally drowned out in our government by corporate interests and their puppet foundations/non-profits. It was almost that way *already*, but now the big interests won't even have to *try* to hide their bribery. And, thanks to this, nothing short of a Constitutional amendment will ever stop corporate control of the government now (and good luck getting a 2/3's majority in a Congress owned by those corporations). Thanks Anthony!

Re:Kennedy's folly and sad legacy (2, Interesting)

FatSean (18753) | more than 3 years ago | (#34036780)

Something tells me that Kennedy is the only Justice who didn't realize the loopholes existed.

Who cares? (1)

khasim (1285) | more than 3 years ago | (#34036888)

Something tells me that Kennedy is the only Justice who didn't realize the loopholes existed.

Who cares whether loopholes exist or not? You do NOT make laws that depend upon OTHER laws to be complete.

If you believe that existing law X will handle the "loopholes" in new law Y that is no reason to support Y.
Because you cannot depend upon X always being ruled as "Constitutional" or even enforced or not contradicted by new law Z.

This goes beyond "naive".

Re:Who cares? (1)

FatSean (18753) | more than 3 years ago | (#34037022)

Right. He's Naive, the dissenters were wise and the other majority Justices were calculated.

Re:Who cares? (5, Informative)

mea37 (1201159) | more than 3 years ago | (#34037144)

Perhaps you're not aware, but the Supreme Court didn't "make [a law] that depend[s] upon [an]OTHER law". The Supreme Court doesn't make laws, period.

The Court did apparently make assumptions about the implications of a particular interpretation, but that's pretty much unavoidable. It speaks to the excessive complexity of our body of laws that they could not predict the outcome correctly.

While I disagree with the Court's ruling, the I do not find such severe fault as you do with the specific detail of meaning (but apparently failing to say in a binding way) "...following the same rules as everyone else".

Re:Who cares? (4, Insightful)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 3 years ago | (#34037370)

I agree that this goes beyond naive. It is almost unbelievable that the Supreme Court would expect greater transparency where it is not explicitly required.

The only thing that makes it believable is the rash of other outrageous -- I will go so far as to say stupid -- Supreme Court decisions recently. I won't go into those, but even so I suspect the older members of the Supreme Court of gradually increasing senility, and the newer members of not having properly studied history... in addition to being overly-politically-motivated. Properly speaking, politics should carry no weight in court decisions. I know that is an idealistic dream, but still that is the ideal.

The thing that makes this ruling by the Supreme Court so outrageous on its face is that corporations simply don't have "rights". They have the legal privilege of acting in business matters as a person. That is all. They do not have a "right" to vote, they do not have a "right" to bear arms, they do not have a "right" to free speech! Sure, individuals within corporations have the right of free speech, but that is not the same thing, and restricting corporate donations does not infringe on that right.

Re:Kennedy's folly and sad legacy (0, Offtopic)

MillionthMonkey (240664) | more than 3 years ago | (#34037084)

He's just an old man. Old men shouldn't offer their opinions on computers or "the advent of the Internet".

Re:Kennedy's folly and sad legacy (1)

FatSean (18753) | more than 3 years ago | (#34037180)

All of these justices are too old to comment on computers then.

Re:Kennedy's folly and sad legacy (3, Interesting)

capnchicken (664317) | more than 3 years ago | (#34037244)

Yeah, cause old [wikipedia.org] men [wikipedia.org] know [wikipedia.org] nothing [wikipedia.org] about [wikipedia.org] the internet. [wikipedia.org]

Re:Kennedy's folly and sad legacy (5, Insightful)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 3 years ago | (#34036914)

Did you read the same Citizens United ruling that I did? Did you read then Solicitor General Kagan's argument that basically said "Yeah, this legislation gives the Feds the power to ban books, but that's irrelevant because we would never do such a thing."? The 1st amendment says plainly enough that Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech. The old law prohibited Citizens United from publishing a film about a political candidate within a certain timeframe preceding a Federal election. Such a law is not compatible with the 1st amendment if free speech is to have any meaning.

Re:Kennedy's folly and sad legacy (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34037012)

Kagan said no such thing.

McCain-Feingold kept "**corporations** and **unions** from using their __general treasury funds__ to make an "electioneering communication" or for "independent expenditures," defined as speech that expressly advocates the election or defeat of a candidate and that is made independently of a candidate's campaign."

The Supreme Court said that corporations and unions must be treated as individuals. This is a radical extension of corporate power that is almost unknown in the rest of the world, and certainly something our Founders would be shocked to find.

Re:Kennedy's folly and sad legacy (3, Insightful)

toastar (573882) | more than 3 years ago | (#34037080)

>

The Supreme Court said that corporations and unions must be treated as individuals. This is a radical extension of corporate power that is almost unknown in the rest of the world, and certainly something our Founders would be shocked to find.

Just because people chose to exercise their right to assemble into a group, does not mean they have to give up their other rights. The Corporation only has the powers of the individuals that own it.

Re:Kennedy's folly and sad legacy (2, Insightful)

pixelpusher220 (529617) | more than 3 years ago | (#34037168)

So following your logic, rich people can form corporations and 'vote' multiple times? That seems ok by you?

Until the 'owners' of a corporation can be imprisoned for crimes they are not equal to 'citizens' and should not get the same level of rights.

The individuals involved already have their rights, they don't get to buy multiple votes.

Re:Kennedy's folly and sad legacy (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34037276)

You are a moron. Voting is not a "right", it is a function of democracy. It is granted to citizens by the state, not as a virtue of their personal sovereignty. Speech, however, is not a privilege granted by any state or entity.

Re:Kennedy's folly and sad legacy (3, Insightful)

rhsanborn (773855) | more than 3 years ago | (#34037328)

Not vote multiple times, but if the people of the assembled group wanted to base their vote on a collective decision, then there isn't anything that should stop such a thing. The campaign finance issue holds water in the same respect. The people of the group have allocated their resources and given control over those resources to a few elected leaders (the board). They trust the board to do good things with that money in order to act on their behalf and in their interest.

Re:Kennedy's folly and sad legacy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34037126)

Not that shocked -- in the Founders' day, candidates and political VIPs usually owned the news outlets directly. Look at who founded the New York Post, for example.

The major difference is that the newspapers were generally pretty straightforward about their political leanings rather than hiding behind a bunch of "fair and balanced" crap.

Re:Kennedy's folly and sad legacy (5, Informative)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 3 years ago | (#34037142)

Yes, actually she did [supremecourt.gov] . Start on page 64. She is arguing that the law DOES cover books but you don't need to worry about it because the Government has never tried to regulate books and if it did there would be grounds for a legal challenge. You'll forgive me if I don't find that argument very compelling.

Re:Kennedy's folly and sad legacy (4, Insightful)

mc6809e (214243) | more than 3 years ago | (#34037050)

Did you read the same Citizens United ruling that I did? Did you read then Solicitor General Kagan's argument that basically said "Yeah, this legislation gives the Feds the power to ban books, but that's irrelevant because we would never do such a thing."? The 1st amendment says plainly enough that Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech. The old law prohibited Citizens United from publishing a film about a political candidate within a certain timeframe preceding a Federal election. Such a law is not compatible with the 1st amendment if free speech is to have any meaning.

I laughed when I learned that Micheal Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11M was used to attack the old law. Under the old law, Fahrenheit could have been banned during the 30 days before the 2004 election as a form of electioneering.

It wasn't banned, of course, and that made arguing against the old law even easier because it suggested that the state could pick and choose what speech to ban and what speed to allow and that created a fear that the state under the old law would manipulate the political conversation.

Re:Kennedy's folly and sad legacy (1)

forand (530402) | more than 3 years ago | (#34037340)

I think that the difference is that the constitution also makes no mention of organizations or corporations has have ANY rights. Allowing organizations to have enumerated rights may make sense but having the same rights as a real citizen is not reasonable as they cannot have the same consequences.

Re:Kennedy's folly and sad legacy (4, Insightful)

mc6809e (214243) | more than 3 years ago | (#34036922)

This ruling will ensure that individual citizens are forevermore completely and totally drowned out in our government by corporate interests and their puppet foundations/non-profits.

The individual citizen is always going to be drowned out in a democracy. The biggest gang wins. That what Democracy is.

Very few people have won elections without the help of large groups. People must form large groups to get anywhere. As a legal convenience, these groups become corporations by incorporating.

The AARP is a corporation. The NEA is a corporation. The AFL/CIO is a corporation. The NAACP is a corporation. They're all groups of like-minded people that would be nothing if they couldn't act together (and spend together) as a unit.

Re:Kennedy's folly and sad legacy (5, Insightful)

Saishuuheiki (1657565) | more than 3 years ago | (#34037090)

The problem is you're assuming the corporations are controlled by a large group.

I'm sure that in some cases, if not most, these decisions are ultimately made by one or a few with all the power of the many. Just because a corporation is composed of thousands of workers or owned by thousands of investors doesn't mean that these people have any control. Moreover, most of these corporations are not formed for political purposes or around political ideas.

I'd be surprised if I read a story of any of these million dollar corporations holding a vote amongst shareholders whether and to whom they should donate a political contribution.

Re:Kennedy's folly and sad legacy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34037136)

AARP, NEA, AFL/CIO, and NAACP are all non-profit corporations with a specific focus or cause. If I give money to the NAACP I know that is going to go towards advancing African-American causes. Groups like this are openly supported by the electorate and could be seen as amplifying the voices of their individual donors. For profit corporate donation is completely different. If you bought Stainmaster carpet for your house the Koch brothers have profited and some percentage of that money has now gone to support the Tea Party whether you agree with them or not. For-profit corporate donations are spent only for the benefit and advancement of the corporation, non-profit corporate donations are spent for the benefit of their interest/donor group.

Re:Kennedy's folly and sad legacy (3, Insightful)

sckeener (137243) | more than 3 years ago | (#34037166)

which makes me wish the Supreme Court hadn't also given companies the same rights as individual citizens. It is like they can have it both ways. At the heart a company is an idea and you can't throw an idea in jail. You can penalize it and put CEOs or more likely peons in jail, but you can't just close it down for yelling fire in a crowded theater.

Re:Kennedy's folly and sad legacy (3, Insightful)

Arctech (538041) | more than 3 years ago | (#34037184)

The individual citizen is always going to be drowned out in a democracy. The biggest gang wins. That what Democracy is.

There's a saying that goes, "Democracy must be something more than two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner."

Re:Kennedy's folly and sad legacy (4, Insightful)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 3 years ago | (#34037306)

The problem isn't people banding together, the problem is that they're allowed to pump money into the system to push their agenda.

I don't think we're going to have anything resembling a fair democracy until we restrict politicians to public funding.

Re:Kennedy's folly and sad legacy (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34036958)

So free speech only applies to selected bodies? Unions can exercise all the political exertion they want but corporations can't? We're in a much better position today where it's everyone for themselves instead of selectively legislating who does and doesn't have first amendment rights.

And no, corporations don't run government, stupid people do. They are called politicians and they are more than happy to pass your tax dollars off to their buddies.

It's time to take government out of the equation in our society and back to being 5% or less of GDP like it used to be, simplify the laws so they apply equally to everyone...the others should be thrown out wholesale.

Re:Kennedy's folly and sad legacy (4, Insightful)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 3 years ago | (#34037006)

So free speech only applies to selected bodies? Unions can exercise all the political exertion they want but corporations can't?

Some corporations can. The people who are outraged over Citizens United never found the time to complain when the for-profit New York Times was endorsing political candidates.

Re:Kennedy's folly and sad legacy (5, Insightful)

blackraven14250 (902843) | more than 3 years ago | (#34037222)

Endorsing a candidate is fundamentally different from having the ability to run billions of dollars in ads, especially when the endorsement says "THE NEW YORK TIMES ENDORSES X CANDIDATE" and the ads say "Paid for by random mysterious group #50,982".

Re:Kennedy's folly and sad legacy (2, Insightful)

pixelpusher220 (529617) | more than 3 years ago | (#34037352)

Nobody is arguing that corporations can't buy their influence. The problem is the lack of disclosure.

Union spending is pretty clear on disclosure, it comes from the members. Where does Americans for Prosperity's funding? that's the problem.

Re:Kennedy's folly and sad legacy (5, Insightful)

toastar (573882) | more than 3 years ago | (#34037042)

Meh....

If it weren't for anonymous political speech we wouldn't have the Federalist papers.

Re:Kennedy's folly and sad legacy (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 3 years ago | (#34037124)

Kennedy has always attempted to be a fair mediator between the left and right impulses on the Court. But he really blew it on this one. His attempt at moderation in this case has taken an already out-of-control problem and made it much worse.

I don't see that. The Supreme Court made the right decision in Citizens United and the only choice consistent with the First Amendment. My view is that spending by corporate interests is not the problem. The problem is getting results from spending small amounts of money. We're now in a situation where massive amounts have to be spent to bribe anyone.

Sure, I agree that transparency is useful, but it's not the only problem with bribery. There should be an easy way for someone with way too much money to squander it on an election. The real problem, as I see it, is that government grows in power as rent-seekers. While much has been said of corporate power, it's worth remembering that complicit government officials would be the other side of the equation. If corporations have to kickback a significant portion of their profits to avoid government interference, that contributes greatly to the corporate power problem.

Unfortunately, as I see it (and perhaps a number of you see this coming as well), government is big and powerful. It's positioned well to turn society into the corporate republic that posters such as elrous0 above fear. Cutting back on government power will in turn cut back on corporate influence in government.

Re:Kennedy's folly and sad legacy (1)

tbannist (230135) | more than 3 years ago | (#34037290)

Cutting back on government power will in turn cut back on corporate influence in government.

Only in so far as corporations will be making the rules instead of government. In some situations that might work out well. In many, probably most situations, it would range from poor to disastrous.

Re:Kennedy's folly and sad legacy (1)

mapkinase (958129) | more than 3 years ago | (#34037154)

"Justice Kennedy, who sided with the majority on the ruling, has been called naive "

Is it only me who thinks that there is no way a Supreme Judge could be "naive"?

Only problem with the ruling (1)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 3 years ago | (#34037254)

was that is was not 9 to 0.

Any restriction on political speech should not exist. It would have only been a matter of time before the only groups allowed to make political speech are approved wholly by the people they are electing. People form groups, corporations, unions, non-profits, and the like, to give more weight to their voice. The individual long lost their ability to sway the politicians, but a group of them, regardless of how they are formed, still holds that power.

What CU did was strike down the ability of government to define acceptable groups. As in, the politicians saw the power that these groups had over them and reacted to prevent anyone not in their pocket from exercising influence over them. As in, they wished to not be held accountable to the people regardless how the people formed.

There will always be a special interest group with more money and influence than we like, that is part of the process. Some are better setup than others, it doesn't mean they have to win.

But.. (2, Funny)

Hatta (162192) | more than 3 years ago | (#34036794)

The Supreme Court doesn't make mistakes!

Re:But.. (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 3 years ago | (#34036898)

I still can't believe the outcome of this ruling. At a time when people are complaining about special interests and transparency, they enable corporations and unions to do this craziness?

Re:But.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34036926)

Yes, in the same way that the umpire of a baseball game doesn't make mistakes.

This was obvious. (2, Interesting)

Haffner (1349071) | more than 3 years ago | (#34036802)

I fail to understand how SCOTUS could be so short-sighted. When they made the ruling, I agreed with their judicial logic, but that was a case where very clearly the ruling was not in the good of the general population. I don't know how much transparency matters; if you can buy an election, you need not bother with appeasing the populace - you can just ignore it.

Re:This was obvious. (4, Insightful)

corbettw (214229) | more than 3 years ago | (#34036886)

When they made the ruling, I agreed with their judicial logic, but that was a case where very clearly the ruling was not in the good of the general population.

The Supreme Court needs to concerns itself with protecting the rights of the individual, not the good of the general population. Otherwise we'll end up with a tyranny of the majority.

Re:This was obvious. (1)

Mongoose Disciple (722373) | more than 3 years ago | (#34036984)

Except in this case, what that really means is:

The Supreme Court needs to concerns itself with protecting the rights of the corporation, not the good of the general population.

Frankly, I wish they'd used that case to slap down the idea of corporate personhood. Until I can put a corporation in a big-ass orange jumpsuit and stick them in federal pound-me-in-the-ass prison if they break the law, it's not fair for them to have all of the advantages of being a person and few of the drawbacks.

Re:This was obvious. (1)

corbettw (214229) | more than 3 years ago | (#34037058)

First off, you can put the people who work for a corporation in prison if they break the law. Just ask Jeff Skilling about the possibility of getting away with a crime just because you did so for the benefit of a corporation.

Second, if you and I pool our money to buy a political ad, that is not fundamentally different from both us buying two smaller ads separately. We're still exercising our rights to have our voices heard. The same principle applies between two people or two million.

You cannot trample the rights of individuals just because they're exercising those rights as a group. Why is that so difficult to understand?

Re:This was obvious. (1)

Mongoose Disciple (722373) | more than 3 years ago | (#34037086)

First off, you can put the people who work for a corporation in prison if they break the law. Just ask Jeff Skilling about the possibility of getting away with a crime just because you did so for the benefit of a corporation.

I can't decide if you're deliberately missing the point or if you somehow genuinely believe that's the same thing.

Re:This was obvious. (1)

corbettw (214229) | more than 3 years ago | (#34037376)

How about addressing my second point?

Re:This was obvious. (1)

blackraven14250 (902843) | more than 3 years ago | (#34037322)

First off, you can put the people who work for a corporation in prison if they break the law.

Then, you still have a corporation sitting around, usually with the same culture that made it commit a crime.

Re:This was obvious. (1)

characterZer0 (138196) | more than 3 years ago | (#34037070)

The Supreme Court needs to concerns itself with protecting the rights of the individual

Wrong. The supreme court needs to concern itself with judging based on the laws as written.

Congress needs to concern itself with protected the rights of the individual.

I think we need a fourth branch of the federal government. Every year one hundred citizens (two from each state) should be selected by lottery to form the veto branch. Each bill passed by congress must be presented and understood by the group, which can veto it with a two-thirds majority.

Re:This was obvious. (1)

gorfin (80548) | more than 3 years ago | (#34037314)

We used to have this. It was called the Senate, until the 17th Amendment changed that.

Re:This was obvious. (2, Informative)

timeOday (582209) | more than 3 years ago | (#34037250)

Otherwise we'll end up with a tyranny of the majority.

The bigger problem now is backsliding to the natural state collective of human affairs - tyranny by the minority. The rich get richer until they have all the power, individual rights are equated with capitalism so only the rich actually have them, and free enterprise boils down to "choosing" whether to slave away for a monopoly, or starve.

Re:This was obvious. (5, Interesting)

epiphani (254981) | more than 3 years ago | (#34037018)

Just for reference:

The Canadian election system limits campaign spending to roughly $20 million per major party. The full amount of money allowed in our election is somewhere around $60 million. It costs more to actually run the polling booths. We have a population roughly one tenth of the US. Taking a rough stab at it, you're spending $2.5 Billion for your midterm elections. Or about four times the amount per capita as us.

Additionally, in our system, a large percentage of that is publicly funded. And the maximum corporate donation is $1000. We have problems with corporate interests and lobbyists in Canada. You guys don't have a problem with it: you're OWNED by corporate interests.

Re:This was obvious. (1)

toastar (573882) | more than 3 years ago | (#34037102)

Just for reference:

The Canadian election system limits campaign spending to roughly $20 million per major party. The full amount of money allowed in our election is somewhere around $60 million. It costs more to actually run the polling booths. We have a population roughly one tenth of the US. Taking a rough stab at it, you're spending $2.5 Billion for your midterm elections. Or about four times the amount per capita as us.

Additionally, in our system, a large percentage of that is publicly funded. And the maximum corporate donation is $1000. We have problems with corporate interests and lobbyists in Canada. You guys don't have a problem with it: you're OWNED by corporate interests.

It's called Capitalism.

Re:This was obvious. (2, Interesting)

AnonymousClown (1788472) | more than 3 years ago | (#34037072)

I don't know how much transparency matters; if you can buy an election, ....

Influencing a politician with money, absolutely! Buying the election, I'm not so sure.

Everyone just assumes that the more you advertise (campaign), the better chance your candidate has in winning. But has anyone really put that to the test? I live in a Republican stronghold and the Democratic candidate is advertising hard (he's a multimillionaire trial lawyer who was Governor at one time here in GA), the only thing it seems to be doing is making the Reps dig their heals in deeper. I wonder if all that money could be counter productive or even worthless.

Years ago, I once read an article about LL Bean. The son of the owner studied how effective their advertising was. To make a long story short, all the money spent on "Field and Stream" advertising was waste and the money spent on advertising in yuppy magazines was paying off. Tweaked the advertising allotment and he saved the company lots of money and boosted sales.

Re:This was obvious. (1)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 3 years ago | (#34037162)

I fail to understand how SCOTUS could be so short-sighted.

This is a decision about letting money talk. It's blindingly obvious that money talked to them first.

Anonymous Coward (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34036820)

We are the naive ones is we believe Kennedy.

Oops. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34036822)

We're sorry that we accidentally killed democracy because we failed to do our homework. We'll try not to do that again.
--The Supreme Court

Re:Oops. (1)

beamin (23709) | more than 3 years ago | (#34036900)

They should have issued that statement after Bush v Gore.

So we're not even a plutocracy... (1)

TheSpoom (715771) | more than 3 years ago | (#34036824)

We're a shadow plutocracy.

Re:So we're not even a plutocracy... (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#34036936)

Overt plutocracy is so very vulgar, and might get the proles worked up....

It is interesting to note exactly how little people know about the actual American wealth distribution [theatlantic.com] ...

Re:So we're not even a plutocracy... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34037336)

No we are a meritocracy, where merit is measured by how much money you can raise.

fuckin old people (1)

Ryanrule (1657199) | more than 3 years ago | (#34036836)

get back to your rocking chair on your porch so you can yell at me about being on your lawn. stop trying to run things.

Re:fuckin old people (1)

jgagnon (1663075) | more than 3 years ago | (#34036902)

If this country were run by the fad and fashion fanatical youth, we would have never lasted 10 years.

Re:fuckin old people (2, Interesting)

gblackwo (1087063) | more than 3 years ago | (#34037226)

So what we need then is a group of people to run the country that properly represents it's citizens. We need the 20-somethings working alongside the 60-somethings. Why shouldn't our government be representative of age distribution too?

Re:fuckin old people (1)

OzPeter (195038) | more than 3 years ago | (#34036952)

get back to your rocking chair on your porch so you can yell at me about being on your lawn. stop trying to run things.

Yet by some strange twist of fate, you too will someday be a "fuckin old person". Perhaps then you might consider that the society that Logan ran from is not one to be idolized.

Re:fuckin old people (1)

Mongoose Disciple (722373) | more than 3 years ago | (#34037014)

Hey, he's not saying we should kill the old people. More maybe that's impolite to vote for something you probably won't live to see the effects of.

Re:fuckin old people (1)

OzPeter (195038) | more than 3 years ago | (#34037216)

Hey, he's not saying we should kill the old people. More maybe that's impolite to vote for something you probably won't live to see the effects of.

Then perhaps I would suggest that with some experience and more common sense he might learn to get his message across in a more understandable manner, rather than an outburst of incoherent rage.

Re:fuckin old people (1)

Mongoose Disciple (722373) | more than 3 years ago | (#34037274)

By the time he has that kind of experience, we'll secretly have to kill him for being so old!

Oh crap. I shouldn't have said it was for being so old.

Oh crap. I shouldn't have said it was a secret.

Oh crap. I certainly shouldn't have said we'll have to kill him.

Ah, it's too hot here.

Bullshit (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34036878)

I call bullshit. The court knew exactly what it was doing and knew that loopholes big enough to drive a dump truck full of money through were in place.

Re:Bullshit (1)

beamin (23709) | more than 3 years ago | (#34036924)

It's a good thing that we don't have a bunch of activist judges overturning all kinds of precedent!

Re:Bullshit (2, Insightful)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 3 years ago | (#34036934)

To play devil's advocate here, if that's the case...what's their motivation? They've already been granted lifetime appointments, why would they need to give in to the demands/wishes of special interests or politicians?

Re:Bullshit (1)

beamin (23709) | more than 3 years ago | (#34036998)

Not giving in, but rather injecting their political agenda.

Re:Bullshit (2, Interesting)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 3 years ago | (#34037240)

While they don't need to give in to their wishes, there are some motivations that could easily come up:
1. Speaking gigs
2. Donations to their spouse's organization [politico.com]
3. Free hunting trips [usatoday.com]

It should also be pointed out that Justices Scalia, Thomas, Alito, and Roberts also are true believers of their ideology.

Transparency (1)

Lije Baley (88936) | more than 3 years ago | (#34036906)

...they would have named him Cmdr Spellright...

Why would anyone expect different? (1)

digitaldc (879047) | more than 3 years ago | (#34036908)

With lobbyists, campaign contributors, secret donors, 2-party stranglehold, disinformation, barriers to entry and messed-up electronic voting machines...this is absolutely the best 'Democracy' money can buy!

simple fix (3, Interesting)

corbettw (214229) | more than 3 years ago | (#34036930)

The problem is not corporate/union donations to individuals, the problem is one of transparency. Focus on that and on closing the "loopholes" mentioned in the summary, rather than beating your chests about the supposed unfairness surrounding the act of individuals joining together to pool their resources for political change. Anything else is merely a red herring.

Re:simple fix (1)

FatSean (18753) | more than 3 years ago | (#34037040)

So the Supreme Court should have refused to hear the case and kicked it back to the legislature?

Re:simple fix (1)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 3 years ago | (#34037182)

the supposed unfairness surrounding the act of individuals joining together to pool their resources

It's not about individuals pooling resources together, it's about how some individuals have more resources by themselves than can be pooled by others. It's about the difference between a democracy and a plutocracy.

Capitalist Schwinehund !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34036946)

Unter Gleben Glauben Globen !!

Easy fix (4, Insightful)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#34037008)

Contributions may only come from registered voters (and with the current $2000 limit)
That would exclude money from corporations.

Re:Easy fix (3, Informative)

Mongoose Disciple (722373) | more than 3 years ago | (#34037048)

The problem isn't even direct donations to a candidate, really.

It's that, for example, Microsoft could set up a shell group called "Concerned Citizens for Software Freedom" and funnel money into it to buy a million political ads that trashed a candidate running against a candidate they liked.

Re:Easy fix (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34037198)

What part of "Contributions may only come from registered voters", did you not understand?

Re:Easy fix (1)

Mongoose Disciple (722373) | more than 3 years ago | (#34037214)

What part of "Contributions may only come from registered voters", did you not understand?

I understood all of it; what you didn't understand (even though I spelled it out) is that contributions are not the sole problem.

Re:Easy fix (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34037204)

It's not hypothetical. There are organisations that exist for exactly that purpose. For example, the FRC is a tax-exempt organisation promoting 'traditional family values' and all that general social conservative stuff - but, as a tax exempt organisation, they can't actually donate to any candidate. So they founded FRC Action, an open lobbying organisation that is not tax-exempt. Now FRC action does the actual donating, and the FRC itsself does... well, everything else, thus keeping it all shielded from tax.
 
  They were just the first example that came to mind. I'm sure there are plenty - on the left, on the right, and just on the side of maximising profits.

Re:Easy fix (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34037208)

don't exclude foreign businesses and governments. People are ignorant if they think they are not trying to influence the US elections too.

Easy fix? Are you sure? (1)

medv4380 (1604309) | more than 3 years ago | (#34037264)

That was basically the law before it was struck down. Free speech doesn't apply to only Citizens or Registered voters, and there is no current limit on donating since it was struck down as well as they saw it limited free speach. If you had 1 million to give to a candidate you could since there is no limit at this time. You're probably thinking of the old limit that was 2500. A real solution and probably the only one that would work is to go the route Japan did and ban ALL political ads during the election season. Force them to get votes by rally and in person hand shakes alone. It would require an amendment though and who in congress today would go for it.

Re:Easy fix (3, Interesting)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 3 years ago | (#34037350)

Easier fix: all funding must come from the gov't, in equal (and relatively small) amounts for each candidate. Offer each candidate who gets the required number of signatures to be on the ballot, a set amount of TV time, a set amount of ad money, and tell everyone else to butt the fuck out of the process.

As long as you can win by drowning your opponent in money, the system is fucked.

We accept refugees (if not Randy Quaid) (2, Insightful)

rbrander (73222) | more than 3 years ago | (#34037020)

Every US election cycle, I get more proud of Canada. My latest warm fuzzy? There was a nice article in Maclean's (our Newsweek) a few months ago about Beverly Mclachlin, our Chief Justice for the last 10 years, and the various notable decisions of the Mclachlin court. It's only because of that article I know her name, and I can't name any of the other eight.

Whereas, just from news spillover, I can probably name most of the SCOTUS, because every confirmation and a dozen decisions every year are so politically charged. Polarized pitched battles seem to infuse every branch of the US governments, at every level. Quite frankly, it sounds exhausting.

Re:We accept refugees (if not Randy Quaid) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34037118)

It is.

Re:We accept refugees (if not Randy Quaid) (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 3 years ago | (#34037152)

Every US election cycle, I get more proud of Canada.

Funny, with each of our election cycles I get more embarrassed by Canadian politics.

Polarized pitched battles seem to infuse every branch of the US governments, at every level. Quite frankly, it sounds exhausting.

Increasingly, that seems to be the hallmark of Canadian politics. Ideology trumping facts, discrediting people who say things that oppose the beliefs of those in power. What essentially amounts to lying to present your ideas and slandering others.

I fear it's a race to the bottom all around. I don't think we have as much room to stand around smugly and act like our own politics isn't moving in this direction as we like to think.

You know what they say.. (1)

TommyTumult (1614051) | more than 3 years ago | (#34037024)

You and I both know what happens when you assume...

Re:You know what they say.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34037232)

A good time is had by all?

there you go making assumptions again...

That's not what the Court said. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34037046)

The court upheld mandatory disclosure laws, 8-1. The Court was telling Congress that Congress can't restrict the donating, as there was a constitutional right to speech, but that Congress could require immediate disclosure of the source of every donated penny when it is received. The Court was not saying that it believed that current laws required that disclosure of the type that would be desirable.

Congress' failure to enact a law requiring that disclosure is the problem... and not that no senator or representative, in either party, authored such a bill to do so. They are all equally guilty.

republicans and democrats should both worry (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 3 years ago | (#34037094)

if you can simply buy candidates directly, you don't need to work through a brand or party powerbrokering. and so the republican and democrat hierarchies and names become redundant and unnecessary

as much as you hate the two big parties, you have to agree that no political party structure, just whoring mouthpieces for shadowy corporate interests, is far worse

Not buying it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34037100)

SCOTUS deals with the law. That's it. They are the final word for the Judiciary. Did they forget what the hell it is they exactly do? How can it be assumed that the moral and right action would be taken, by the parties the ruling favored, when it was explicitly not legislated that it must be taken?

I'm not buying this. What was it? They went against a 100 years of case law to favor w/ Corporate donations, yet they fell asleep on pretty much the last check and balance in the system: tracking the money? The whole lot of them are past their due at this point. However, I still have no faith in whoever replaces any sitting member. The next lot will stink the same if not more than the present.

This Republic is bunk. From shell to core. Bunk.

Undemocratic (2, Insightful)

Teun (17872) | more than 3 years ago | (#34037138)

It is highly undemocratic that entities without votes can legally spend so much on influencing the democratic process.

Democracy can only function properly when it's a one man-one vote system where every man and vote has the same bearing on the outcome.

This level playing field is seriously out of balance because of the present donations by companies, organisations and rich individuals.

How much were they spending before? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34037202)

"...In the meantime, campaign spending for House candidates alone is expected to reach $1.5 billion."

So what was the spending for the House candidates in the previous election cycles?

First of all, buying an election is expensive (1)

gurps_npc (621217) | more than 3 years ago | (#34037230)

Studies have pretty well shown that to gain 1% of the voting population, you need to double the amount of money you spend. Most of the time the reason why the man that spent more money won is not because he bought the election but because far more people liked him and therefore far more people gave him far more money. That is, money goes to the popular candidate far easier than the rich candidate can buy popularity.

That said, in close elections, money could buy it. There are 4 tossup elections (as per the New York Times data) that are close neough for a reasonable amount of cash to buy the election.

Colorado: Buck (r) ahead of Bennet (d) by .3%. Here money could buy the election with less than double

Illionis: (r) ahead of Giannoulias (d) by 1.3%. Could buy the election for 2 times the money

West Virgina: (Manchin (d) ahead of Raese (r) by 1.9%, for a bit less than 4 times the money

All other elections are more than 2.5% difference in voting, which would require about a at least a sixfold increase in cash - and that assumes your opponent can not keep up with your spending. It is simply too expensive to buy any other election.

Re:First of all, buying an election is expensive (1)

savanik (1090193) | more than 3 years ago | (#34037354)

I am intrigued by your statistics and wish to know of their sources.

Completely missing the problem (1)

chemicaldave (1776600) | more than 3 years ago | (#34037262)

The fundamental problem is people actually paying attention to TV political ads. What we need is voting reform in the form of massive civics and logic education. Teach people to cast a vote based on their own research & conclusions and not an error laden, buzzword filled TV ad that plays on people's emotions.

Time for a Constitutional Amendment (1)

gavving (1689168) | more than 3 years ago | (#34037266)

It's time to seriously get behind passing a constitutional amendment requiring all political races be funded by public money, and restrict the ability of outside sources to campaign for officials or for parties.

It's a race to see if we can fix the flaw in the Constitution before the government is completely corrupted by corporate interests. The only way it'll stand in the courts it to change the rules that Supreme Court has to play by. I.e. Change the Constitution of the United States with an Amendment passed by the state legislatures.

Transparency is not in the 1st Amendment (1)

Kohath (38547) | more than 3 years ago | (#34037304)

Transparency may be "vital to democracy" but it's not explicitly in the First Amendment or in other parts of the Constitution. Until the Constitution is amended, transparency isn't really the Supreme Court's overriding concern.

Allowing free speech to be abridged by Congress for "transparency" reasons is a flat violation of the Congressional and Supreme Court oath of office. Only 4 of the 9 justices chose to break that oath.

9You insensitiv7e clod! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34037334)

these chaalenges up 8y toys. I'm we need to address

Inevitable result of capitalism (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 3 years ago | (#34037362)

see now, we are all free to vote, free to become candidates, right ? right. but, it takes phenomenal amounts of finances to make yourself known, right ? riiiight. so, in case you dont have a big media conglomerate you own, you need to find cash somewhere. even then, even if you find the cash, big media companies, who can reach the voters you want, may not allow you to give ads in their networks or give you air time, in case your policies and ideas dont suit them. ooook, right. so, that makes it so that, you can not get elected EVEN if you have the money. you need to either own a big media conglomerate, or, get one behind your back.

and the result is what ? in the capitalist system, your freedom goes only as far as your cash goes. can anyone define that as being 'free' ?

for any idiot who would venture down the path that is 'you can make cash', i would like to remind the 2004 statistic of income and wealth distribution in u.s. that comes up as 7% top of society owning 72% of the pie, and bottom 80% having to do with 15%. http://sociology.ucsc.edu/whorulesamerica/power/wealth.html [ucsc.edu]

actually its much worse, top 1% has 52% or so of the pie.

and that basically means, 1% of the american nation is ruling over the rest, despite all being 'free'. and anyone's chances of getting into that 1%, without being born into that class, is, practically nil. even our much applauded tech stars are not in that segment. serfs in middle ages had more chance to be made a baron due to bravery in the wars they were conscripted to fight in for their lord.
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