How a state created registered and chartered institution can then be given the rights of human beings is moronic, it belies logic, and was previously unthinkable. The Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision in
Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission is not only morally wrong it also is not based soundly in law. In overturning a ban in direct corporate advocacy of a candidate in place since 1907 the Supreme Court has opened the door for corporate conglomerates foreign and domestic to spend an unlimited amount of money directly supporting or against a candidate for election. It allows corporations from Wall Street to Dubai to China to directly thank their sponsors in Congress by running ads, and spending an unlimited amount of money in direct support of a candidate over another.
The right wing conservatives in yet another 5-4 ruling written by Justice Kennedy held that corporations have the same first amendment rights as human beings, and the government can not put limits on what they spend in support of a candidate. Leaving McCain Feingold and campaign finance reform virtually dead. Justice Stevens writing for the four dissenters decried the ruling stating in part, “Corporations are not human beings. They can’t vote and can’t run for office.”
This decision by the Supreme Court is revolutionary in that it is revealing in what some of the left have feared. A corporate state. Ironic that the branch of government that should be the protector of the republic threatens to undo its very existence. They ignorantly and dangerously underestimate the role money plays in politics, particularly in buying up air time. Under this ruling corporations can give millions or billions if they wanted to defeat a candidate. Corporations such as News Corporation which owns Fox News no longer has to pretend like they are fair and balanced. They can outright spend money supporting opponents of President Obama and Congressional Democrats.
Can you imagine the political implications? Drug companies, health insurance companies, chemical food companies, defense contractors can directly spend millions of dollars to defeat members of Congress or a state legislature whose against their views. A corporation whose business and profits relate to war can spend billions against candidates who are against war. Justice Kennedy states, “Governments are often hostile to speech, but under our law and our tradition it seems stranger than fiction for our Government to make this political speech a crime.” No Justice Kennedy it is not strange its because first corporations are not human beings and second corporations that have the gross wealth of some nations can so influence the political outcome that the limits are necessary in a democratic republic.
This 5-4 ruling by the right wing activist Supreme Court will rest alongside decisions such as Dred Scott, The Civil Rights Cases, Plessy, Korematsu, Bush/Gore as one of the worse Supreme Court decisions ever made. Citizens United threatens the entire democratic framework. The money corporations have can easily drown out the voices of individuals and non-profits. The result will be corporations choosing elected officials. Elected officials that support their profits, to the detriment of the people.
The implications of this decision beyond the political are enormous for all aspects of American life. What’s next? Do corporations have a right to privacy? Do corporations have freedom of religion? A right to bear arms? Corporate conglomerates no longer have to hide behind the Republican elephant or to a lesser extent the Democratic donkey. They can form their own political party and purchase what remains of the republic.
Justice Stevens correctly stated, “The Court’s ruling threatens to undermine the integrity of elected institutions across the Nation. The path it has taken to reach its outcome will, I fear, do damage to this institution.”