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Literature Discussion -


Most Biased Supreme Court Decision Since Dred Scott, 1857

February 1, 2010

Opinion by Warren Turner (USA)

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Freedom isn’t free…nearly always, somebody has paid dearly for it: and many of our forefathers (and mothers) paid with their lives for the freedom we Americans now enjoy.  And for those of us already free, continued freedom must be paid for daily by our ongoing vigilance and due diligence, and challenges to our freedoms must be swiftly and aggressively opposed.


We must never take freedom for granted, and due diligence requires that we stay informed.  In most instances, the usurpation of our freedoms comes from within; witness Hitler’s takeover of Germany.


Just 10 days ago, in the Supreme Court’s most radical intervention into politics ever, and with the most overtly-biased decision ever handed down by the United States Supreme Court, we, the people, lost our individual freedom to elect political candidates of our choice in every jurisdiction in America, in a partisan Supreme Court decision now projected to permit the corporate takeover of our electoral system.


Corporations, those metaphorical inventions of mankind, which have (1) “no consciences, no beliefs, no feelings, no thoughts, no desires”, and which are further known to swallow up their own kind, have now been granted the same rights as individuals under the “Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission” ruling.  January 21, 2010, will now live in infamy as the day individuals lost their democratic voices to corporations.


(2) “The corporation itself is an invention of government, and the more you study its origins and structure, the more peculiar and artificial you realize it is.  The first corporations were established in the 15th century by monarchs eager to maintain their power against a rising merchant class.  These chartered corporations were endowed by their royal creators with monopoly rights to control trade and exploit various regions of the world, backed by the full legal and military power of the state.  This unholy alliance between central governments and powerful corporations has continued right on down to this day.”


“In the decades following the American Revolution, Americans remained highly suspect of economic concentration.  Thomas Jefferson even proposed making “freedom from monopolies in commerce” part of the Bill of Rights.  Although his proposal failed, the early republic still placed strict limits on the power and longevity of corporations.”


“But the corporate form waited in the wings and made a comeback after the Civil War, when a series of court rulings and new laws endowed the modern corporation with extraordinary power, including most of the rights of citizens plus several superhuman powers, notably, limited liability and unlimited life.  In the words of David Morris, co-founder of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, ‘We gave business the tools to grow beyond our capacities to control it.  And one hundred years later these creatures of the state have come to dominate states.’ “


“From bailouts for big banks to tax breaks for superstores, we have rigged the system with policies that underwrite corporate expansion and undermine local economies.  A handful of companies now dominate every sector of our economy.”


Corporations, both domestic and multinational, now have the ability to spend all the money they wish to elect American political candidates who reflect their policies and goals, and to spend a similar amount of money to defeat those candidates who oppose their policies and goals.


What does this mean?  In a local, county, state or federal election, for every campaign ad placed by a political candidate without corporate support, a corporate-sponsored candidate can (and will) place 100 campaign ads—or 1,000 campaign ads if corporations choose--thereby inundating media streams and subsequent American political elections with candidates who are no more than spokespersons for special interests.


How did it happen?  In “Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission”, a 5-4 majority decision by Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts and four other Justices ruled that federal restrictions on corporate electoral advocacy under the “Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act” of 2002 were unconstitutional for violating the free speech clause of the First Amendment.


The Court overruled the 1990 “Austin v. Michigan Chamber of Commerce” ruling, which had previously held that a law that prohibited corporations from using treasury money to support or oppose candidates in elections did not violate the First or Fourteenth Amendments.


The Court also overruled the part of the 2003 “McConnell v. Federal Election Commission” that upheld such restrictions under the “Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act” of 2002.


Justices who voted for the majority decision:


Chief Justice John Roberts…..Republican Appointee….George W. Bush
Justice Anthony Scalia……….Republican Appointee….Ronald Reagan

Justice Anthony Kennedy……Republican Appointee….Ronald Reagan

Justice Clarence Thomas…….Republican Appointee…George Bush, Sr.

Justice Samuel Alito………….Republican Appointee….George W. Bush


President Obama, in his State of the Union Address on January 27, 2010, stared at the Supreme Court Justices in attendance and told them that their decision “opened the floodgates for special interests—including foreign corporations”, as Justice Samuel Alito mouthed a denial, and Chief Justice John Roberts chuckled at the admonition.


It is the opinion of many onlookers that the “Corporate Five” Justices who voted as the majority in “Citizens United” are bought-and-paid-for spokespersons for special interests, and that they should be impeached and their tainted decision overturned by whatever means possible.


Renowned legal scholar Lawrence Lessig, a Harvard Law School professor, has called for a Constitutional Convention, and has a website to support the Fair Elections Now Act.


Alan Grayson, Democratic Representative from Florida, and an outspoken proponent of individual rights, has a number of bills to address the loss of citizens’ rights on his website


Another website, mirrors Grayson’s judicial concern for the American electoral process.  Those who support the individual’s right of free speech should stand up for their rights now and visit these websites and others, and write and phone their Representatives and Senators to oppose what many believe to be one of the most politically-biased Court decisions in history.


Justice John Paul Stevens led (and read) the dissent, on the principle that corporations “are not human beings”, and, “corporations have no consciences, no beliefs, no feelings, no thoughts, no desires”.  Stevens further stated that “corporations are not themselves members of “we, the people”, by whom, and for whom, our Constitution was established”.


Former Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist once warned that treating corporate spending as the First Amendment equivalent of individual free speech is “to confuse metaphor with reality”.


But Thomas Jefferson said it best in a letter to George Logan on November 12, 1816:  “I hope we shall…crush in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength and to bid defiance to the laws of our country”.


Want freedom of speech?  Want democracy?  Want justice?


Speak up now.




(1) Justice John Paul Stevens, who led the dissent in “Citizens United”.

(2) Stacy Mitchell, author of “The Hometown Advantage” and “Big Box Swindle”, and a senior researcher with the Institute for Local Self-Reliance.