Corporations, people, money, and speech - Page 3

Just about everyone wants to overturn Citizens United. But it's not so simple

|
(4)
Corporations corrupting the political system was a major concern of the Occupy Wall Street movement.
GUARDIAN PHOTO BY YAEL CHANOFF

The Move to Amend proposal is the broadest and cleanest. It states: "The rights protected by the Constitution of the United States are the rights of natural persons only. Artificial entities, such as corporations, limited liability companies, and other entities, established by the laws of any State, the United States, or any foreign state shall have no rights under this Constitution and are subject to regulation by the People, through Federal, State, or local law."

It goes on to say: "Federal, State and local government shall regulate, limit, or prohibit contributions and expenditures, including a candidate's own contributions and expenditures, for the purpose of influencing in any way the election of any candidate for public office or any ballot measure."

It also includes this statement: "Nothing contained in this amendment shall be construed to abridge the freedom of the press."

Free Speech for the People is simpler. It only addresses the corporate speech issue: "People, person, or persons as used in this Constitution does not include corporations, limited liability companies or other corporate entities established by the laws of any state, the United States, or any foreign state, and such corporate entities are subject to such regulations as the people, through their elected state and federal representatives, deem reasonable and are otherwise consistent with the powers of Congress and the States under this Constitution."

Cobb notes that the Move to Amend measure doesn't say how political speech should be regulated; it just opens the door to that kind of lawmaking. "The question of how to protect the integrity of the electoral process is a political question, not a Constitutional question," he said. In the end, there's a huge issue here. The framers of the Constitution, their political consciousness forged in a battle against big and repressive government, feared as much as anything the notion of rulers controlling the rights of the people to speak, write, assemble, publish (oh, and carry firearms) freely. Corporate interests (with the possible exception of the British East India Company, which monopolized the tea trade) weren't a major concern.

And First Amendment purists still recoil at the idea that government, at any level, could make decisions limiting or regulating political speech. I sympathize. It's scary. But in 2012, it's easy to argue that the power of big money and big business has far eclipsed the power of government, that for all practical purposes, the rich and their corporate creations are the government of the United States — and that the people, assembled and exercising the power envisioned under the Constitution, need to make rules to, yes, level the playing field. Not rashly, not in crazy ways, with full cognizance of the risks — but also with the recognition that the current situation is fundamentally unacceptable, and that the potential dangers of messing with the First Amendment have to be balanced with the very real dangers of doing nothing.

Comments

Perhaps it's because I deem the 1st amendment as trumping just about all other considerations.

But mostly because corporations need to have a political voice too. They don't get to vote and yet are affected by politics. The CU decision levels the playing field between those who can vote and those who can inlfuence in other ways.

Moreover, it doesn't just benefit corporations but also unions, which are some of the biggest funders of lobby and campaigning.

The CU decision ensures that voters can't just vote to rob blind corporations and the wealthy of their means in a form of legal mugging. It ensures balance, equity and fairness.

CU isn't going away but, more importantly, it shouldn't go away.

Posted by Guest on Aug. 02, 2012 @ 9:05 am

Nearly 80% opposed civil rights and wanted to keep segregation back in 1965..

SCOTUS is often ahead of the curve.

Posted by Guest on Aug. 02, 2012 @ 9:08 am

incorporated, cities, unions, colleges, newspapers, non-profits, bands, private clubs... pretty much any entity that involves money changing hands in any way shape or form is a corporate entity. I look forward to our progressives defining good and bad corporate entities. Removing 1st amendment protections from all these entities would be a disaster, while the progressives would just laughably cherry pick to their own advantage and be obvious in their idiotic scheming.

The progressives are convinced that if they were the only voice to be heard the stupid peasants would suddenly fall for the version of crazy they represent. That is of course not true, and plainly stupid on their part.

Most people don't like money in politics, because they think the lack of money would have America's "sheeple" voting their way. Just ask a right winger who thinks that the liberal media is keeping the truth of creationism and abortion from the masses..

The progressives are selling something that no one wants all that much in the USA, they think that if they could just change the rules, (RCV, state funded elections, for example) the idiot voters would wise up and go along.

Posted by matlock on Aug. 02, 2012 @ 8:08 pm

how many folks noticed that when they look at the ballot they discover they never heard of most of the candidates? Why?
the corporate news/propaganda media has a golden rule; Buy Advertising and get a story.
The corporations only give money to candidates that will represent their interest and those candidates are the only ones who can buy advertising.
To a lesser extent the public employee unions also do this.

Proposal, ban all paid political advertising on the public airways and give every candidate, who manages to get on the ballot for an office, FREE EQUAL TIME to inform the electorate about why the electorate should vote for them..

Posted by Guest on Aug. 16, 2012 @ 10:19 am