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Thread: Supreme Court Overturns Limits on Corporate Spending in Political Campaigns

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    Thumbs up SCOTUS Strikes Down Campaign Finance!

    hey HEY, Americans, it turns out we have a "freedom of speech" thingy!

    who knew?

    SCOTUS Knocks Down McCain-Feingold

    The Supreme Court today struck down key elements of McCain-Feingold legislation in a decision that could radically alter campaign finance.

    In a broad 5-4 decision in Citizens United vs. FEC, the Court found unconstitutional bans in the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act that prevented corporate and labor union money from funding some kinds of political communication. Under the ruling these groups may now fund political advertisements out of their general treasuries.

    ....Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote for the majority and was joined by Chief Justice John Roberts, and Associate Justices Samuel Alito, Antonin Scalia, and Clarence Tohmas. Associate Justice John Paul Stevens wrote for the dissent.

    When the case was first heard last march, at issue was whether campaign finance laws that cap corporate spending on political activities applied to Hillary: The Movie, a scathing documentary about Hillary Clinton financed by a non-profit group.

    But the case was given an unusual re-hearing, with new players in the form of Justice Sonia Sotomayor and Obama Solicitor General Elena Kagan, and this time it focused on the much broader question of whether corporate spending limits were themselves constitutional...

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    Re: SCOTUS Strikes Down Campaign Finance!

    Quote Originally Posted by cpwill View Post
    hey HEY, Americans, it turns out we have a "freedom of speech" thingy!

    who knew?

    SCOTUS Knocks Down McCain-Feingold

    The Supreme Court today struck down key elements of McCain-Feingold legislation in a decision that could radically alter campaign finance.

    In a broad 5-4 decision in Citizens United vs. FEC, the Court found unconstitutional bans in the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act that prevented corporate and labor union money from funding some kinds of political communication. Under the ruling these groups may now fund political advertisements out of their general treasuries.

    ....Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote for the majority and was joined by Chief Justice John Roberts, and Associate Justices Samuel Alito, Antonin Scalia, and Clarence Tohmas. Associate Justice John Paul Stevens wrote for the dissent.

    When the case was first heard last march, at issue was whether campaign finance laws that cap corporate spending on political activities applied to Hillary: The Movie, a scathing documentary about Hillary Clinton financed by a non-profit group.

    But the case was given an unusual re-hearing, with new players in the form of Justice Sonia Sotomayor and Obama Solicitor General Elena Kagan, and this time it focused on the much broader question of whether corporate spending limits were themselves constitutional...

    Yep. I was just reading that on real clear politics. We can expect a tsunami of spending from this point forward.

    We ain't seen nothing yet.
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    Re: SCOTUS Strikes Down Campaign Finance!

    Long overdue, IMO, but better late than never. I've always felt that prompt and full disclosure of all contributions, on the internet where we can all see it, is a much better course than the McCain-Feingold regulatory approach.

    Sunshine is the best disinfectant, far better than attempted regulation.

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    Supreme Court Strikes Down Key Section of McCain-Feingold

    The Supreme Court today killed a central part of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law and ruled that corporations may spend as much as they wish to support or oppose candidates for president and Congress. The 5-4 vote left intact limits on corporate gifts to individual candidates.

    Writing in dissent, Justice John Paul Stevens said the majority "threatens to undermine the integrity of elected institutions around the nation."

    But Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing for the majority, called McCain-Feinberg's restrictions "censorship ... vast in its reach."
    http://www.courthousenews.com/2010/01/21/23910.htm

    Good news for free speech advocates, bad news for liberals (and McCain).

    Let's hope this ridiculous law continues to be gutted.

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    Supreme Court Overturns Limits on Corporate Spending in Political Campaigns

    Writing for the court's five conservatives, Justice Anthony Kennedy ruled that a central provision of the 2002 McCain-Feingold campaign finance act violated the First Amendment by restricting corporations from funding political messages in the run-up to elections.

    "The government may regulate corporate political speech through disclaimer and disclosure requirements, but it may not suppress that speech altogether," Justice Kennedy wrote in a 57-page opinion.

    The very effort to sift permissible corporate political spending from that which violates the law chilled political speech, Justice Kennedy wrote.
    Court Rolls Back Campaign Spending Limits - WSJ.com

    Before people start yelling about how this means that corporate money is going to somehow start tainting campaigns, we need to understand that corporate money already taints campaigns in the exact same way. Corporations can already spend as much money as they want on influencing an election in shady ways. This simply allows them to do it forthrightly as well, which is preferable, while also ensuring that the right to speak is not limited to those with substantial means. Don't buy the hype.

    A highlight from the opinion:

    The law before us is an outright ban, backed by criminal sanctions. Section 441b makes it a felony for all corporations — including nonprofit advocacy corporations — either to expressly advocate the election or defeat of candidates or to broadcast electioneering communications within 30 days of a primary election and 60 days of a general election. Thus, the following acts would all be felonies under §441b: The Sierra Club runs an ad, within the crucial phase of 60 days before the general election, that exhorts the public to disapprove of a Congressman who favors logging in national forests; the National Rifle Association publishes a book urging the public to vote for the challenger because the incumbent U. S. Senator supports a handgun ban; and the American Civil Liberties Union creates a Web site telling the public to vote for a Presidential candidate in light of that candidate’s defense of free speech. These prohibitions are classic examples of censorship.

    Section 441b is a ban on corporate speech notwithstanding the fact that a PAC created by a corporation can still speak. A PAC is a separate association from the corporation. So the PAC exemption from §441b’s expenditure ban, §441b(b)(2), does not allow corporations to speak. Even if a PAC could somehow allow a corporation to speak — and it does not — the option to form PACs does not alleviate the First Amendment problems with §441b. PACs are burdensome alternatives; they are expensive to administer and subject to extensive regulations. For example, every PAC must appoint a treasurer, forward donations to the treasurer promptly, keep detailed records of the identities of the persons making donations, preserve receipts for three years, and file an organization statement and report changes to this information within 10 days.

    And that is just the beginning. PACs must file detailed monthly reports with the FEC, which are due at different times depending on the type of election that is about to occur: “‘These reports must contain information regarding the amount of cash on hand; the total amount of receipts, detailed by 10 different categories; the identification of each political committee and candidate’s authorized or affiliated committee making contributions, and any persons making loans, providing rebates, refunds, dividends, or interest or any other offset to operating expenditures in an aggregate amount over $200; the total amount of all disbursements, detailed by 12 different categories; the names of all authorized or affiliated committees to whom expenditures aggregating over $200 have been made; persons to whom loan repayments or refunds have been made; the total sum of all contributions, operating expenses, outstanding debts and obligations, and the settlement terms of the retirement of any debt or obligation.’”

    PACs have to comply with these regulations just to speak. This might explain why fewer than 2,000 of the millions of corporations in this country have PACs. PACs, furthermore, must exist before they can speak. Given the onerous restrictions, a corporation may not be able to establish a PAC in time to make its views known regarding candidates and issues in a current campaign.
    I'm very glad to see this decision.
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    Re: Supreme Court Strikes Down Key Section of McCain-Feingold

    Good news for free speech indeed, but of course it wont be over until McCain-Feingold is completely destroyed along with the FCC.
    Jackboots always come in matched pairs, a left boot and a right boot.

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    Re: Supreme Court Strikes Down Key Section of McCain-Feingold

    A partial victory. Too bad it didn't go further.

    Full disclosure and an informed electorate are the answers; not limitations on speech.

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    Re: Supreme Court Overturns Limits on Corporate Spending in Political Campaigns

    A victory for free speech and the First Amendment, indeed.
    “Offing those rich pigs with their own forks and knives, and then eating a meal in the same room, far out! The Weathermen dig Charles Manson.”-- Bernadine Dohrn

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    Re: Supreme Court Overturns Limits on Corporate Spending in Political Campaigns

    And death to US democracy. So when is the new Senator for Bank of America going to take his seat?
    PeteEU

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    Re: Supreme Court Strikes Down Key Section of McCain-Feingold

    Quote Originally Posted by chevydriver1123 View Post
    Good news for free speech indeed, but of course it wont be over until McCain-Feingold is completely destroyed along with the FCC.
    stevens got it right
    the majority had to broaden the reach of the original issue in order to effect change to the law
    they somehow equated a citizen's Constitutional right of free speech to now be a right of free speech enjoyed by corporations

    someone must have failed to return the Constitution to the library for them to research it on this occasion

    until this wrong is righted, the sc has assured we will continue to have the best government money can buy
    we are negotiating about dividing a pizza and in the meantime israel is eating it
    once you're over the hill you begin to pick up speed

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