The idiots ruining this country:
John Roberts, Samuel Alito, Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, Anthony Kennedy
And those trying to save Democracy in vain:
Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, John Paul Stevens
Court OK’s Unlimited Corporate Campaign Spending
WASHINGTON - A sharply divided Supreme Court ruled yesterday that labor unions and corporations can spend unlimited amounts to influence federal elections, throwing out a ban that had been in effect for 63 years and adding an explosive new element to this year’s midterm elections.
The 5-to-4 ruling dismayed lawmakers and public interest groups that fought for decades to limit the influence of wealthy special interests in politics. But it cheered those who have railed against what they see as government control of free speech in election campaigns.
The decision also could provoke changes in Massachusetts law, which bans corporate spending to influence an election. Campaign finance specialists said that while the high court opinion specifically applies to federal races, the First Amendment issue cited in the ruling could end up preempting state laws or enabling new lawsuits to challenge them.
The court said that corporate and labor union spending amounted to free speech and should be constitutionally protected. “The censorship we now confront is vast in its reach,’’ Justice Anthony Kennedy said in the majority opinion.
The justices left in place the dollar limits for contributions to candidates by individuals and political action committees. In doing so, the justices adhered to previous rulings that there is a more significant “quid pro quo’’ attached to such direct contribution to a candi date, said David Primo, a First Amendment specialist and University of Rochester political science professor.
The high court’s ruling also lifts the ban on corporate and union-paid “issue ads’’ in the waning days of a campaign, upending a key element of a 2002 reform law.
Martin Meehan, chancellor of University of Massachusetts Lowell and a former US representative who coauthored the 2002 act, said he was devastated by the ruling.
“I think it’s the worst campaign finance reform case in Supreme Court history,’’ Meehan said in an interview. “The court has abandoned longstanding judicial principles and precedents, and I believe this decision will result in influence-buying and corruption. The decision will empower financial companies, banks and energy companies to spend millions of dollars to elect federal candidates.’’
Under the ruling, corporations and unions will not be able to contribute unlimited amounts directly to a candidate, but may spend what they please on behalf of a candidate. The money must be disclosed, the court said.
Justice Stevens, dissenting: “The court’s ruling threatens to undermine the integrity of elected institutions around the nation."
For my opinion on this issue, just read my signature.