What's this Blog About?

Politics in Wisconsin as they roll up to every level... and some other thoughts that may cross my mind are explored here from my lefty point of view. My values shape my opinions. You'll always find them in here. Let's have some fun exploring why Liberal values are American values!

Your comments are both welcome and encouraged!
(The watercolor is called Magnolia Tree for Momma, by Audrey Crawford)

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Why the Roberts Decision Yesterday Was Correct (even if it sucks)

Th panic over the Supreme Court decision yesterday granting full free speech rights to corporations was the correct decision for them to make no matter how much it sucks...

On a true free speech level, and considering current laws and precedents, the ruling is actually more consistent with the constitution and the decision of 1844 when corporations were declared equal to 'persons' having nearly the same constitutional rights.

People are getting upset with the WRONG point of the decision.

Over the years, the courts have expanded on that decision of corporate citizenship in a consistent manner perhaps more than any other ruling of the court in its history.

The court just expanded that ruling further yesterday and it's not inconsistent with the constitution if you let the 1844 ruling stand.

The problem isn't yesterday's decision, it's one made over 150 years ago!

That's where the fix belongs and anything else is just a stop gap until the corporate personage ruling is stripped via constitutional amendment.

We can complain and argue all we want. Under current constitutional law, a corporation equals a human being when it comes to constitutional protections and that's where the core problem lies.

From Wikipedia today: Since the 1800s, legal personhood has been further construed to make it a citizen, resident, or domiciliary of a state (usually for purposes of personal jurisdiction). In Louisville, C. & C.R. Co. v. Letson, 2 How. 497, 558, 11 L.Ed. 353 (1844), the U.S. Supreme Court held that for the purposes of the case at hand, a corporation is “capable of being treated as a citizen of [the State which created it], as much as a natural person.” Ten years later, they reaffirmed the result of Letson, though on the somewhat different theory that “those who use the corporate name, and exercise the faculties conferred by it,” should be presumed conclusively to be citizens of the corporation's State of incorporation. Marshall v. Baltimore & Ohio R. Co., 16 How. 314, 329, 14 L.Ed. 953 (1854).

If you don't like it, here's a suggested fix that will take 2/3rd's votes in both Houses of Congress and adoption by 3/4's of the state legislatures... I'm not necessarily advocating for this, the cost could be terrible, but it's really the only solution for those of you who are freaking out right now ;).

"Corporations are entities licensed by Federal, State and Local Governments and not personages equal to the same constitutional rights of a human being, but subject to the laws, regulations and controls government entities pass in conjunction with the privilege of a corporate charter."

Anyone up for the battle of a lifetime?

As for the conversation (argument?) it sparked, we are US citizens who do have the right to vote (well except for the 5.3 million currently barred under the antiquated Jim Crow statutes of felon disfranchisement) and making excuses that we are all too stupid to see through the b.s. of the corporations is pretty ridiculous and cynical.

I WANT the corporate logos on the candidates' commercials and pins on their lapels, and sponsorship notices as PUBLIC as they can be so I can be BETTER informed as to who's bankrolling them!

You think if Ben Nelson had written all over his campaign "This candidate brought to you by United Healthcare" the DNC would have bothered to spend a dime on his election?

You think if his primary opponent had "This candidate brought to you by Citizens for Universal Healthcare (made that up ;)" the voters could have made an INFORMED choice about who they were casting their ballot for?

I think the problem with our elections is not that corporations are bankrolling candidates. THEY ARE ALREADY. They just do it now through nebulous groups like the Tea Partiers and the Swift Boaters. "The problem is that we DON'T KNOW what corporations are bankrolling who!


I say bring it out in the open. I WANNA KNOW!


MAL said...

More speech, including electioneering speech, is not always better. And you agree:

Can you threaten a woman on free speech grounds? No.

Yell "fire"? No.

Libel you as a serial murderer? No.

A UW-Madison law prof once told me he could name two situations where I would agree speech should not be free for every one that I could name where it should be free. He's right.

As Justice Stevens writes in dissent:

"The real issue in this case concerns how, not if, the appellant may finance its electioneering. ..."

Neither Citizens United’s nor any other corporation’s speech has been 'banned,' ... . All that the parties dispute is whether Citizens United had a right to use the funds in its general treasury to pay for broadcasts during the 30-day period. The notion that the First Amendment dictates an affirmative answer to that question is, in my judgment, profoundly misguided. Even more misguided is the notion that the Court must rewrite the law relating to campaign expenditures. ..."

elliot said...

My goodness, an old-fashioned free speech liberal. I didn't think they existed anymore. (And that's meant as a compliment. Really. If the liberals hadn't abandoned free speech starting in the '80s, I might have remained one.)