Is Citizens United v. FCC really that bad?

In another political decision, Citizens United vs. Federal Communications Commission, the Supreme Court made some sense of certain portion of McCain-Feingold — by striking down certain portions of it.
Please do not be confused by this ruling — especially if you listen to the left.  It is not a a “major victory” for Big Oil, Wall Street banks and health insurance companies as President Obama may lead you to believe.
This Supreme Court decision is the last word on an action Citizens United, a conservative non-profit company, which tried to run a film critical of then-primary-candidate Hillary Clinton.  Basically, the Supreme Court struck down the law prohibiting corporations and labor unions from funding certain kind of political communication, thus, corporations and unions can now directly run political advertisements out of their general treasuries.
Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote for the decision, and was joined in the majority with Chief Justice John Roberts, Justice Samuel Alito, Justice Antonin Scalia and Justice Clarence Thomas.
Bottom line:  The First Amendment applies to corporations.  Corporations are owned by individuals.  At its purest, a corporation is a pooling of peoples’ money with the advantage of limited liability (and the disadvantage of double taxation).  As such, the majority of these individuals can dictate where the money goes — including, to run ads favoring a candidate that group of individuals supports.  Does this mean that Big Oil, Wall Street banks and health insurance companies will immediately start emptying their bank accounts to run ads about Republican candidates?  That seems doubtful.  Regardless, they still cannot under the law make contributions directly to candidates and

In another polarizing Supreme Court decision, in the  Citizens United vs. Federal Communications Commission, the court made some sense of a particular portion of McCain-Feingold — by striking it down as unconstitutional.

Please do not be confused by this ruling — especially if you listen to the left.  It is not a a “major victory” for Big Oil, Wall Street banks and health insurance companies as President Obama may lead you to believe.  This Supreme Court decision is just another last word on the issue of whether a corporation or union can run certain political ads endorsing or dismissing a particular candidates.  The underlying action was commenced by Citizens United, a conservative non-profit, which tried to run a film critical of then-primary-candidate Hillary Clinton.  Basically, the Supreme Court struck down the law prohibiting corporations and labor unions from funding certain political communication.  Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote for the decision, and was joined in the majority with Chief Justice John Roberts, Justice Samuel Alito, Justice Antonin Scalia and Justice Clarence Thomas.

Bottom line:  The First Amendment applies to “speech,” whether by an individual or by a corporation.  How could it not?  At its purest, a corporation is a pooling of individuals’ money with the advantage of limited liability (and the disadvantage of double taxation).  Imagine a world where speech could be regulated (a.k.a. censored) if the speech came from a corporation.  Last I checked, books and magazines are published by corporations; and well as television and film.

Does this mean that Big Oil, Wall Street banks and health insurance companies will immediately start emptying their bank accounts to run ads about Republican candidates?  That seems doubtful.  The actual provision rendered unconstitutional is only for corporations/unions that run ads, it does not strike the law that prohibits corporations to make contributions directly to candidates.  Fear not leftists, unions can now run such ads and you still have your media and your PACs to dominate the airwaves.

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January 28th, 2010 at 05:27pm Brian

Entry Filed under: Election, Random

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