Public’s Right to Anonymously Criticize Elected Officials Upheld
Free Expression Essay Contest at the Center for Inquiry for college students. Top Prize $2K
I’m a huge believer in free speech. The supreme court decision to allow unlimited funding by corporations for elections is not a win for free speech, it is a terrible, devastating blow to American citizens. I was appalled when I found out the court was hearing the case, and even more so when they voted this way. This is a complete slap in the face of democracy.
Corporations were already spending considerable amounts in our elections, but the decision by the Supreme Court in the Citizens United case now gives corporations unmatched influence and ability to spend on elections. The decision represents nothing less than the radical departure from the political culture of this nation.
On JANUARY 21, 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court unleashed a flood of corporate money into our political system by announcing, contrary to long-standing precedents, that corporations have a constitutional right to spend unlimited amounts of money to promote or defeat candidates. The decision in this historic case - Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission - overturns a century of campaign finance law.
The court overruled two existing Supreme Court decisions. In Austin v. Michigan Chamber of Commerce, the Court held that the government can limit for-profit corporations to the use of PACs to fund express electoral advocacy. McConnell v. FEC applied that principle to uphold the constitutionality of the McCain-Feingold law’s restrictions on “electioneering communications,” that is, corporate funding of election-eve broadcasts that mention candidates and convey unmistakable electoral messages. Striking down these decisions unleashes unlimited corporate and union spending in candidate campaigns, and dooms the 1907 Tillman Act, which also prohibits corporate contributions to candidates.
Reversing the well-established laws and judicial precedents barring direct corporate and union financing of elections is a radical affront to American political culture and poses grave dangers to the integrity of our democracy.
How Much New Corporate Money in Elections Might We See?
It is impossible to predict how much corporate and union money will flood into our elections in an unregulated system, but it is reasonable to assume it would be very substantial indeed-and possibly overwhelming in selected races of particular interest to the business or labor communities.
Special interest groups primarily funded by corporate money spent conservatively about $50 million on TV ads promoting or attacking federal candidates just in the last two months of the 2000 election, up from $11 million just two years earlier. Corporations and unions chipped in another $500 million in “soft money” contributions in each of the 2000 and 2002 election cycles, due to a loophole in federal election law.
These loopholes were largely closed with passage of the 2002 McCain-Feingold law, which added two powerful pillars to the campaign finance law: first, broadcast ads that mention a candidate, target the candidate’s voting constituency and air within 60 days of a general election cannot be paid for by corporate or union funds; and second, soft money contributions to parties and federal candidates are prohibited.
Although the McCain-Feingold law was upheld almost in its entirety by the Rehnquist Court in its 2003 decision, McConnell v. FEC, today’s Roberts Court began to whittle away at the law in its 2007 decision, FEC v. Wisconsin Right to Life. The new loophole caused by the Roberts Court immediately resulted in another $100 million in corporate spending on TV electioneering ads in the last two months of the 2008 election.
This is just the tip of the iceberg. Corporations have long shown a willingness to spend and contribute hundreds of millions of dollars each election through loopholes in the law. Now that the Court has invalidated restrictions on corporate political spending, expect a flood of new money into the 2010 congressional campaigns, state candidate campaigns, judicial elections, and the 2012 presidential election.
The scope of the damage to the nation’s political and economic well-being by an adverse ruling by the Court can be mitigated in part by a comprehensive public financing program that provides candidates with new money to respond to corporate political expenditures, and by reasonable constraints on how those corporate CEOs may spend other people’s money in politics.
Learn more about solutions here.
”[…] we should grant corporations all the rights of persons. In exchange, they carry all the responsibilities of persons. They get the same tax breaks we do. We can try them for murder; one thinks of Xe or KBR. The question of corporate marriages becomes more difficult. Must they be married by corporate priests, or can a human do the ceremony? Can a corporation and human marry, being both persons under the law? Of course, corporations of the same gender are not currently allowed to wed. I can hear the objections now: “Corporations have no gender.” That is nonsense. As persons, they have a gender that is innate and immutable. Anyone can look at a corporation and see how manly it is. To argue otherwise is to give into liberal, postmodern, intellectual mumbo jumbo of gender as a social construct…”
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that corporations are entitled to spend unlimited funds in our elections, rolling back a century of modest limits. The First Amendment was never intended to protect corporations.
This cannot stand. Join our campaign to protest this decision. Protect our democracy! Two things that can be done now:
1) Fair Elections Now Act: Give congressional candidates a public financing alternative to elections bankrolled by corporations. Also fix the presidential public financing system.
2) Shareholder Accountability: Give shareholders a say over corporate spending in elections.
But ultimately, we must pass a constitutional amendment to ensure corporate money does not overwhelm our democracy and clarify that the First Amendment is for people — not corporations.
WHEREAS, the First Amendment to the United States Constitution was designed to protect the free speech rights of people, not corporations;
WHEREAS, for the past three decades, a divided United States Supreme Court has transformed the First Amendment into a powerful tool for corporations seeking to evade and invalidate democratically-enacted reforms;
WHEREAS, the United States Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United v. FEC overturned longstanding precedent prohibiting corporations from spending their general treasury funds in our elections;
WHEREAS, this corporate takeover of the First Amendment has reached its extreme conclusion in the United States Supreme Court’s recent ruling in Citizens United v. FEC;
WHEREAS, the United States Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United v. FEC will now unleash a torrent of corporate money in our political process unmatched by any campaign expenditure totals in United States history;
WHEREAS, the United States Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United v. FEC presents a serious and direct threat to our democracy;
WHEREAS, the people of the United States have previously used the constitutional amendment process to correct those egregiously wrong decisions of the United States Supreme Court that go to the heart of our democracy and self-government;
Now hereby be it resolved that we the undersigned voters of the United States call upon the United States Congress to pass and send to the states for ratification a constitutional amendment to restore the First Amendment and fair elections to the people.
FAQ about the proposed amendment itself.
Maurice Sendak is one of my most beloved children’s authors. My grandparents bought me In the Night Kitchen, among many of Sendak’s other books when I was little, and I loved the dreamy adventure of it.
My mother absolutely hated the book, and scolded my grandparents fiercely over it. The nudity was the issue. In the story, little Mickey falls out of his PJs and spends quite a chunk of the story in his birthday suit.
I think many parents don’t expose their children to enough nudity. That is to say, the right kind of nudity.
If you hide nakedness from your children, it means their first real exposure (besides their own bodies) will likely be medical or sexual. On the medical side, it will all be about mechanics & very clinical. On the sexual side, it will all be about, well, sex. Both are very sad in their limited view points. Nakedness doesn’t have to be sexual or medical. It can be artistic, it can just -be.
I have paintins on my walls with nudity. I don’t hide them from my children. My kids have grown with In the Night Kitchen, just as I did. I don’t avoid certain sections of the Art museums or National Geographic when with them. Nudity doesn’t have to be bad or confusing. When children are raised with a well-rounded view of it, they have a better sense of themselves & even the sameness between all humans. My kids don’t run around naked, and neither do I. This exposure has not made them nudists or anything of the kind.
I understand the catalyst behind people wanting to pull books like this from schools, but it isn’t necessary. Let’s have some more nakedness, shall we?