Supreme Court strikes a blow for the First Amendment.

Lies, damned lies, and statistics.
User avatar
Cool Hand
Posts: 9999
Joined: Sun Jun 06, 2004 4:09 pm
Location: Earning my avatar in the rain
Been thanked: 130 times

Post by Cool Hand » Tue Feb 09, 2010 1:12 am

gnome wrote: CH, I'm still curious if Stevens' comments about the reach of the case hold any water, if you've examined that part while reading yet.
No, and I'm not inclined to at the moment. My cat shredded the shit out of Stevens' dissent, literally. He's got super shredders on his front feet, and his hobby is vigorously digging at papers I leave lying around. I left the dissent on my bed one day, and he had at it. I take it he was not pleased with Stevens' lack of commitment to protecting free speech. Anyway, I'm not likely to attempt to read it again for a while, as it burned through the remaining ream of paper I had printing all 183 pages of it, on some really good 96 brightness 24 lb paper. Fuck.

CH
....life purpose is pay taxes -- pillory 12/05/13

And you run and you run to catch up with the sun but it's sinking
Racing around to come up behind you again
The sun is the same in a relative way, but you're older
Shorter of breath and one day closer to death.

"Time" -- Pink Floyd

User avatar
gnome
Posts: 22086
Joined: Tue Jun 29, 2004 12:40 am
Location: New Port Richey, FL
Has thanked: 362 times
Been thanked: 394 times

Post by gnome » Tue Feb 09, 2010 2:33 am

It's all right. You've already done a lot to help me understand the case better.

I'll chalk this up as that your cat vigorously disagrees with Stevens' dissent.
"If fighting is sure to result in victory, then you must fight! Sun Tzu said that, and I'd say he knows a little bit more about fighting than you do, pal, because he invented it, and then he perfected it so that no living man could best him in the ring of honor. Then, he used his fight money to buy two of every animal on earth, and then he herded them onto a boat, and then he beat the crap out of every single one. And from that day forward any time a bunch of animals are together in one place it's called a zoo! (Beat) Unless it's a farm!"
--Soldier, TF2

User avatar
Cool Hand
Posts: 9999
Joined: Sun Jun 06, 2004 4:09 pm
Location: Earning my avatar in the rain
Been thanked: 130 times

Post by Cool Hand » Tue Feb 09, 2010 4:17 am

Actually, I wasn't kidding. I did burn through the rest of a ream of paper printing that goddamn decision (183 pages, after including the syllabus and all opinions, Stevens' being the longest). I had to stop by Office Depot on my way home this evening to buy two more reams so I can get a little work done tonight.

Fucking Stevens.

CH
....life purpose is pay taxes -- pillory 12/05/13

And you run and you run to catch up with the sun but it's sinking
Racing around to come up behind you again
The sun is the same in a relative way, but you're older
Shorter of breath and one day closer to death.

"Time" -- Pink Floyd

User avatar
ed
Posts: 33068
Joined: Tue Jun 08, 2004 11:52 pm
Title: Rhino of the Florida swamp
Has thanked: 441 times
Been thanked: 754 times

Post by ed » Tue Feb 09, 2010 4:40 am

Cool Hand wrote:Actually, I wasn't kidding. I did burn through the rest of a ream of paper printing that goddamn decision (183 pages, after including the syllabus and all opinions, Stevens' being the longest). I had to stop by Office Depot on my way home this evening to buy two more reams so I can get a little work done tonight.

Fucking Stevens.

CH
You know, you can upload a file to Staples print center and have them print and bind it. I just got a 70 page thing done for $9 and change.

Convenient.

User avatar
corplinx
Posts: 20036
Joined: Tue Jan 29, 2008 12:49 am
Title: Moderator
Has thanked: 212 times
Been thanked: 657 times

Post by corplinx » Tue Feb 09, 2010 4:43 am

The new kid on the block, Soto. What was her problem?

And I think everyone should remember the facts here:
1. Citizens United was a non-profit corporation specifically for making political speech.
2. They broke the "30/60 day rule" from McC-Feingold.

In other words, if their evil corporation had run the propaganda film 31 days from a primary, they would have been fine. However, they challenged this rule and won.

Some of us suspected that McCain-Feingold included this provision to satisfy legislators by protecting them from those with the power to make their voices heard shortly before elections.

User avatar
Abdul Alhazred
Posts: 70845
Joined: Mon Jun 07, 2004 1:33 pm
Title: Yes, that one.
Location: Chicago
Has thanked: 3180 times
Been thanked: 1182 times

Post by Abdul Alhazred » Tue Feb 09, 2010 10:07 am

corplinx wrote:The new kid on the block, Soto. What was her problem?
She follows the legal theory that political considerations are paramount with no bourgeois nonsense about rule of law.
Image "If I turn in a sicko, will I get a reward?"

"Yes! A BIG REWARD!" ====> Click here to turn in a sicko
Any man writes a mission statement spends a night in the box.
-- our mission statement plappendale

User avatar
ed
Posts: 33068
Joined: Tue Jun 08, 2004 11:52 pm
Title: Rhino of the Florida swamp
Has thanked: 441 times
Been thanked: 754 times

Post by ed » Tue Feb 09, 2010 12:49 pm

Interesting little essay on the topic.

CH?

http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/20 ... -works/?hp

User avatar
Abdul Alhazred
Posts: 70845
Joined: Mon Jun 07, 2004 1:33 pm
Title: Yes, that one.
Location: Chicago
Has thanked: 3180 times
Been thanked: 1182 times

Post by Abdul Alhazred » Tue Feb 09, 2010 2:33 pm

ed wrote:Interesting little essay on the topic.

CH?

http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/20 ... -works/?hp
Stanley Fish.

I can't figure out whether he supports the decision or not.

ed?
Image "If I turn in a sicko, will I get a reward?"

"Yes! A BIG REWARD!" ====> Click here to turn in a sicko
Any man writes a mission statement spends a night in the box.
-- our mission statement plappendale

tedly
Posts: 240
Joined: Sun Jun 13, 2004 7:51 pm
Location: Soviet Canukistan

Post by tedly » Tue Feb 09, 2010 5:16 pm

Ed Brought up the Fish article which says inter alia:
The metamorphosis of corporations into persons follows a less straightforward course. Regarding corporations as persons for some legal purposes, while always being aware of the fiction involved, has been the practice for a long time, but breathing human life into corporations (in the manner of Michelangelo’s God) and giving them rights enjoyed by flesh and blood citizens is arguably something new, and something Justice Stevens vigorously protests against, making many of the points made in the comments: A corporation does not have a conscience. Its interests are exclusively economic and do not include the health and welfare of society. It is not seeking to join and further the free flow of ideas. Its acts do not reflect the will of shareholders. Its massive funding of political advertising amounts to buying votes and can not finally be distinguished from bribery. (Obviously not points that carried the day, but they may prevail in a day when the Court’s composition changes.)

"Regarding corporations as persons.... while always being aware of the fiction involved....

Okay, citizens elect a representative government, which creates corporations as legal entities. The Courts, in their wisdom, decide that these bodies are persons and then, through the constitution that rules all, somehow these created entities. become citizens, and take part in the election of the government that brought them into being.

Does it necessarily follow, from the corporation's creation as a person, that it is therefore a citizen, and entitled to contribute to political campaigns? I seem to recall a great deal of fuss in US politics about taking money from Korean sources, because, (I'm guessing) they weren't citizens.

User avatar
xouper
Posts: 8763
Joined: Fri Jun 11, 2004 4:52 am
Location: HockeyTown USA
Has thanked: 222 times
Been thanked: 134 times

Post by xouper » Tue Feb 09, 2010 5:40 pm

tedly wrote:... Does it necessarily follow, from the corporation's creation as a person, that it is therefore a citizen, and entitled to contribute to political campaigns? I seem to recall a great deal of fuss in US politics about taking money from Korean sources, because, (I'm guessing) they weren't citizens.
1) With respect to the court decision and the First Amendment, it is irrelevant whether a corporation is a legal "person".

2) The court decision was not about contributions to political campaigns, it was about Congress making a law abridging freedom of speech.

tedly
Posts: 240
Joined: Sun Jun 13, 2004 7:51 pm
Location: Soviet Canukistan

Post by tedly » Tue Feb 09, 2010 8:41 pm

Point taken, but could not the Congress, sharpening it's pencil, make a law that limited the corporation's right to political speech? The Press, of course, covered under the First, is free to speak whether owned by a corporation or a citizen.

I recognize that McCain -Feingold isn't such a law, but corporations are taxed differently than citizens, so the law would be making no new distinctions.

If they could make such a law, and haven't, they have no reason to whine about this one being struck down.

User avatar
xouper
Posts: 8763
Joined: Fri Jun 11, 2004 4:52 am
Location: HockeyTown USA
Has thanked: 222 times
Been thanked: 134 times

Post by xouper » Tue Feb 09, 2010 9:17 pm

tedly wrote:Point taken, but could not the Congress, sharpening it's pencil, make a law that limited the corporation's right to political speech?
That's exactly what Congress did with McCain-Feingold, and that's what the court struck down as unconstitutional.

User avatar
hammegk
Posts: 15134
Joined: Sun Jun 06, 2004 1:16 pm
Title: Curmudgeon
Location: Hither, sometimes Yon
Has thanked: 386 times
Been thanked: 28 times

Post by hammegk » Tue Feb 09, 2010 9:25 pm

Still Law, I believe.
Political Action Committee (PAC) — A popular term for a political committee organized for the purpose of raising and spending money to elect and defeat candidates. Most PACs represent business, labor or ideological interests. PACs can give $5,000 to a candidate committee per election (primary, general or special). They can also give up to $15,000 annually to any national party committee, and $5,000 annually to any other PAC. PACs may receive up to $5,000 from any one individual, PAC or party committee per calendar year. A PAC must register with the FEC within 10 days of its formation, providing name and address for the PAC, its treasurer and any connected organizations. Affiliated PACs are treated as one donor for the purpose of contribution limits.

PACs have been around since 1944, when the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) formed the first one to raise money for the re-election of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The PAC's money came from voluntary contributions from union members rather than union treasuries, so it did not violate the Smith Connally Act of 1943, which forbade unions from contributing to federal candidates. Although commonly called PACs, federal election law refers to these accounts as "separate segregated funds" because money contributed to a PAC is kept in a bank account separate from the general corporate or union treasury.

Many politicians also form Leadership PACs as a way of raising money to help fund other candidates' campaigns. Since June 2008, Leadership PACs reporting electronically must list the candidate sponsoring the PAC, as per the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act of 2007. Leadership PACs are often indicative of a politician's aspirations for leadership positions in Congress or for higher office.
The most important things in life–beauty, grace, redemption, compassion, loyalty, love–are beyond the reach of reason. Which doesn’t make them any less real. Stay far back: I'm allergic to Stupid.

The simple rule, the greatest plan, that he should keep who has the power, and he should take who can.

The only enemies of guns: rust ... and politicians.

Philanthropist (n.) - Someone who spends his own money to advance his version of Utopia. Socialist (n.) - Someone who spends your money to advance his version of Utopia.

“Jesus loves the little cheeses, all the cheeses of the world. Swiss and Cheddar, stinky, too. If He loved them, so should you. Jesus loves the little cheeses of the world.”

I'm right 98% of the time; who cares about the other 3%?

User avatar
gnome
Posts: 22086
Joined: Tue Jun 29, 2004 12:40 am
Location: New Port Richey, FL
Has thanked: 362 times
Been thanked: 394 times

Post by gnome » Tue Feb 09, 2010 9:54 pm

tedly wrote:Point taken, but could not the Congress, sharpening it's pencil, make a law that limited the corporation's right to political speech? The Press, of course, covered under the First, is free to speak whether owned by a corporation or a citizen.
As I mentioned before, the bit that sells me on this decision is... where do you draw the line between "The Press" and Corporations engaging in political speech?

It has to be something qualitative and pretty damn unmistakable... or you have corporations calling themselves "Press" with magic words, or (worse) you have the government deciding what's REALLY the press.
"If fighting is sure to result in victory, then you must fight! Sun Tzu said that, and I'd say he knows a little bit more about fighting than you do, pal, because he invented it, and then he perfected it so that no living man could best him in the ring of honor. Then, he used his fight money to buy two of every animal on earth, and then he herded them onto a boat, and then he beat the crap out of every single one. And from that day forward any time a bunch of animals are together in one place it's called a zoo! (Beat) Unless it's a farm!"
--Soldier, TF2

User avatar
corplinx
Posts: 20036
Joined: Tue Jan 29, 2008 12:49 am
Title: Moderator
Has thanked: 212 times
Been thanked: 657 times

Post by corplinx » Tue Feb 09, 2010 10:19 pm

gnome wrote: It has to be something qualitative and pretty damn unmistakable... or you have corporations calling themselves "Press" with magic words, or (worse) you have the government deciding what's REALLY the press.
It also displays the silliness of the law that was in question here. Citizens United could not air their "documentary" within 30 days of a primary, but Fox News could discuss all of their allegations and show clips of the movie to discuss the controversy.

The swifties had a huge impact on John Kerry. Funded by billionaires. They wrote a book. The book's controversy caused news networks do devote time to covering the story.

Thus, corporations (news ones) were carrying the Swifties' messages electronically for them within 60 days of a general election. Even in a McCain-Feingold world, negative messages about candidates financed by big money still makes it way over electronic communications.

User avatar
Cool Hand
Posts: 9999
Joined: Sun Jun 06, 2004 4:09 pm
Location: Earning my avatar in the rain
Been thanked: 130 times

Post by Cool Hand » Wed Feb 10, 2010 12:46 am

ed wrote:Interesting little essay on the topic.

CH?

http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/20 ... -works/?hp
Well, I agree with Fish in that I "love" the decision too, in the sense that it is chock full of discourse and analysis. It's very dense with ideas. I mentioned that earlier in the thread.

I like his point about how the First Amendment is always building the road it walks on.

I don't find anything terribly controversial about Fish's essay. I suspect some of what he writes might seem foreign to those of us who have not wrestled with those concepts deeply and had to untangle their implications. I'll say a little more about that in response to gnome.

CH
....life purpose is pay taxes -- pillory 12/05/13

And you run and you run to catch up with the sun but it's sinking
Racing around to come up behind you again
The sun is the same in a relative way, but you're older
Shorter of breath and one day closer to death.

"Time" -- Pink Floyd

User avatar
Cool Hand
Posts: 9999
Joined: Sun Jun 06, 2004 4:09 pm
Location: Earning my avatar in the rain
Been thanked: 130 times

Post by Cool Hand » Wed Feb 10, 2010 1:10 am

gnome wrote:
tedly wrote:Point taken, but could not the Congress, sharpening it's pencil, make a law that limited the corporation's right to political speech? The Press, of course, covered under the First, is free to speak whether owned by a corporation or a citizen.
As I mentioned before, the bit that sells me on this decision is... where do you draw the line between "The Press" and Corporations engaging in political speech?

It has to be something qualitative and pretty damn unmistakable... or you have corporations calling themselves "Press" with magic words, or (worse) you have the government deciding what's REALLY the press.
That's an interesting idea, and one I think springs from some of what Scalia wrote, but to me it really focuses on something which is not even necessary in this area of the law.

I really dislike the emphasis and focus so many people (not just in this thread, but elsewhere as well) seem to place on the status of corporations. That focus is misplaced. It fails to appreciate the reason for the existence of the Bill of Rights in general, and the First Amendment in particular.

The Bill of Rights exists solely for the purpose of placing limitations on the powers and authority of Congress. The Fourteenth Amendment later extended those same limitations to state and local governments. The Bill of Rights is about limiting government's power. Everyone who writes about or discusses what other ways Congress can come up with to limit the reach or influence of corporations in this context -- the context of political speech and the protections afforded it under the First Amendment -- are completely missing the point. They are trying to find a way to grant Congress the power to limit speech, which is precisely contrary to the intent and express language of the First Amendment itself.

"Congress shall make no law...abridging the freedom of speech..."

Goddamn. How many times does one have to write that or read it? Every time some pundit or even a dissenting Supreme Court Justice, Member of Congress, or the President pontificates about how Congress might draft a law to limit the speech of corporations that person is engaging in cognitive dissonance. Congress cannot constitutionally limit speech via legislation. It really is that simple.

Stop looking at the problem as one of protection of someone's rights. It is instead a limitation on Congress' power. The drafters of the First Amendment intended it as such. The founders did not trust government, and neither did the people they represented at home. They deliberately limited Congress' power when drafting the Constitution, and they deliberately created a government whose powers were separated among three independent branches, each serving as a check and balance against the others.

The fact that some members of Congress and the President today are trying to find a way for Congress to limit speech via new legislation now that McCain-Feingold has been struck down is ample evidence that the founders were right not to trust government. Government is trying to get around the Supreme Court's decision before the ink is even dry on Citizens United. Fuck. Congress and the President think it's a game of chess and they are coming up with sneaky moves to defeat the Supreme Court and the First Amendment. Don't trust them or their motives when it comes to limiting speech.

Goddamn those founders were smart fucks. Maybe Alexis will come around and say something relevant here. He always has something insightful to say about the US from an outsider's view.

CH
....life purpose is pay taxes -- pillory 12/05/13

And you run and you run to catch up with the sun but it's sinking
Racing around to come up behind you again
The sun is the same in a relative way, but you're older
Shorter of breath and one day closer to death.

"Time" -- Pink Floyd

User avatar
gnome
Posts: 22086
Joined: Tue Jun 29, 2004 12:40 am
Location: New Port Richey, FL
Has thanked: 362 times
Been thanked: 394 times

Post by gnome » Wed Feb 10, 2010 1:56 am

I just enjoyed what I think is a very clear realization about how CH puts it.

If the reason the law was unconstitutional is because the government cannot limit speech, it need not be seen as an expansion of the status of corporations as fictional persons--basically not because corporations enjoy the natural rights that humans do, but because Congress simply can't limit speech at all.

So if that's my beef I don't have to worry. Correct?
"If fighting is sure to result in victory, then you must fight! Sun Tzu said that, and I'd say he knows a little bit more about fighting than you do, pal, because he invented it, and then he perfected it so that no living man could best him in the ring of honor. Then, he used his fight money to buy two of every animal on earth, and then he herded them onto a boat, and then he beat the crap out of every single one. And from that day forward any time a bunch of animals are together in one place it's called a zoo! (Beat) Unless it's a farm!"
--Soldier, TF2

User avatar
Cool Hand
Posts: 9999
Joined: Sun Jun 06, 2004 4:09 pm
Location: Earning my avatar in the rain
Been thanked: 130 times

Post by Cool Hand » Wed Feb 10, 2010 10:18 am

gnome wrote:I just enjoyed what I think is a very clear realization about how CH puts it.

If the reason the law was unconstitutional is because the government cannot limit speech, it need not be seen as an expansion of the status of corporations as fictional persons--basically not because corporations enjoy the natural rights that humans do, but because Congress simply can't limit speech at all.

So if that's my beef I don't have to worry. Correct?
Yes, that's exactly how I see it.

CH
....life purpose is pay taxes -- pillory 12/05/13

And you run and you run to catch up with the sun but it's sinking
Racing around to come up behind you again
The sun is the same in a relative way, but you're older
Shorter of breath and one day closer to death.

"Time" -- Pink Floyd

User avatar
hammegk
Posts: 15134
Joined: Sun Jun 06, 2004 1:16 pm
Title: Curmudgeon
Location: Hither, sometimes Yon
Has thanked: 386 times
Been thanked: 28 times

Post by hammegk » Wed Feb 10, 2010 1:42 pm

gnome wrote:I just enjoyed what I think is a very clear realization about how CH puts it.

If the reason the law was unconstitutional is because the government cannot limit speech, it need not be seen as an expansion of the status of corporations as fictional persons--basically not because corporations enjoy the natural rights that humans do, but because Congress simply can't limit speech at all.

So if that's my beef I don't have to worry. Correct?
Damn. You & I agree.

I'd add the protected speech in question is also clearly targeting the US electoral process.
The most important things in life–beauty, grace, redemption, compassion, loyalty, love–are beyond the reach of reason. Which doesn’t make them any less real. Stay far back: I'm allergic to Stupid.

The simple rule, the greatest plan, that he should keep who has the power, and he should take who can.

The only enemies of guns: rust ... and politicians.

Philanthropist (n.) - Someone who spends his own money to advance his version of Utopia. Socialist (n.) - Someone who spends your money to advance his version of Utopia.

“Jesus loves the little cheeses, all the cheeses of the world. Swiss and Cheddar, stinky, too. If He loved them, so should you. Jesus loves the little cheeses of the world.”

I'm right 98% of the time; who cares about the other 3%?