The Supreme Court Decision Today—Discuss


Some people are reading this as approval of "corporate personhood," and protecting corporate actions under the first amendment under free speech. This opinion is being tooted about on reddit, a site full of hivemind, so I doubt it's really that bad. But this is still kind of fucked.
Am I just being overly cynical, but how did this law that was struck down really keep corporations from "corrupting democracy"? Seems like now they can at least be more open about their influence....
Trust me, there's worse decisions. Also, corporations already considered persons under the law, just corporate speech was less protected than private speech.
Sorry America, you're as good as fucked now. Everything Olbermann said was right.
The grand bargain is formal recognition that organizations, corporate or otherwise, are not citizens. They are economic and social tools. As a result, they should have no right to influence the political process and no responsibility to pay income taxes.
it depends on the metric used to evaluate whether it is "the most irresponsible decision since dred scott." like deltron2 notes, there are some truly abhorrent cases out there.

i haven't read this opinion yet or carefully considered the consequences, but the stories i've heard/read lead me to feel that it will prove to be an unmitigated disaster.
I am somewhat diminished by this decision
Hopefully now Iran or someone can set up a shell corporation in Delaware, and get anyone they want elected.
Two things that stand out for me:

1. We have an activist Supreme Court. They went out and grabbed this case from the woodpile, out of sequence as it were.

2. It totally fucks over the bleeding remains of meaningful health care. a) Obama and various congressmen are distracted by and pontificating at length about it, and b) if something other than a stinking fart somehow emerges from the Capitol with "health care reform" stamped on it, the full fury of corporate PR can now descend to blow it to smithereens. The very day Obama floats a weak trial balloon attempting to reset the health-care debate in light of the Brown election, this decision is handed down. It is entirely unbelievable as a coincidence.
Once you understand that the "citizens" of America are all coporations, and people are just the transitory white blood cells inside those protected bodies, it all makes sense.
As long as America sits in front of the TV and listens to what comes from it as "truth" as many do, then this S.C. case is the end of the world. However, if you are one that does not fill your mind with "truth" as others think it is, this should not rock any boats. Sheep are lead by corporate America telling them what is right or wrong, good or bad. Humans who think for themselves will not be so lead and no corporation buying every last second of air time, print, blog space, twitter space, phone time, blah blah blah will alter that fact. The tragedy is that so few Americans think for themselves that the candidates elected will be in the pocket of the Corporations.

The problem is NOT Corporate America, the problem is Americans.

The recent elections proved that blogs are more important than TV.

Unless these corporations are going to pay thousands of bloggers to write polemic, they're wasting their money.

And if they are going to pay thousands of bloggers to write polemic...then, SIGN ME UP!
I'm totally fine if corporations have the same rights as people so long as they also have the same responsibilities. I mean, can you lock up a corporation when it breaks the law? Can they register for the draft?

If the answer to these questions is no, then yeah, they probably shouldn't be have the right to free speech in the same way a person does...

I will admit this is a little complicated. Olbermann's interview with Jonathan Turley was pretty interesting; much more nuanced and elevated than his slippery slope special comment.

(And I usually like his special comments! This one sounded more like the left-wing equivalent of teabaggery to me though. C'mon man... you're better than that.)
Grayson doesn't give a fuck about corporations buying elections, he just wants to gain reputation as a congressman who's tough on corruption. That's why Grayson sponsored six bills to accomplish one objective. If their titles are any indication, those bills are terribly worded, have no support, and will never pass. Come election time, Rep. Grayson will enjoy both corporate money AND voter support. I love politics.
Yeah, we're boned.
The Supreme Court just gave corporations and unions the overt right to buy American elections. We need this:

Amendment XXVIII

Section 1 The sovereign right of the people to govern being essential to a free democracy, no corporation, limited liability entity, or other corporate entity created by state or federal law or the law of another nation shall enjoy the rights of free speech and expression protected for the people by the First Amendment.

Section 2 Congress and the States may regulate the expenditure of funds by any corporation, limited liability company, or other corporate entity in public election activity.

Section 3. Nothing contained in this Article shall be construed to abridge the freedom of the press.
Will this decision slaughter 870,000 innocent babies a year?
This just makes me want to vomit. I'm wondering though, who counts as the corporation here? The employees, the shareholders, the CEO, or a handful of top executives, the board? If I'm an employee or shareholder who doesn't agree with where the corporation wants to spread their bribes, can I put a stop to it in court?

Hm, it cut off part of my post. Also, if I'm a shareholder, then ultimately it's my money they're using, and if I don't like how they're using it, it seems like it would open up another kind of free speech problem.
Perhaps the most ominous aspect of the Court's ruling is that it will allow unrestricted influence of foreign interests to control American elections. As an example, consider how furious the Republican response would be to a Democrat resolution to allow unrestricted dollars from illegal immigrants to fund candidates or issues. Yet, the Supreme court decision from the conservative faction results in exactly the same result. Foreign financial interests in American corporations are vast and it takes little imagination to conclude that those interests may now surreptitiously affect election outcomes in the United States.
It's as if our ruling class has a manual and we're on Step 27 of How to Totally Destroy a Country.
At least they upheld the disclosure rules, so we can kinda sorta know who's fucking us over...
It appears to me that this decision is a terrible mistake. I agree with the those who emphasize that it exacerbates the pitfalls of corporate 'personhood,' and I think it runs counter to the entire idea of free speech. Now, at a time when so much thoughtful and forward-looking reform needs to be accomplished, I think the Supreme Court has guaranteed that the institutions benefiting from the failures of our current system will speak so loud that any other voice will simply be drowned out.
This ruling puts corporations in the drivers seat. They can run constant ads against any politician they believe might legislate against them. There is no way to compete with that. Exxon made 45 Billion dollars last year. No political group, union, citizen or citizen's group could possibly compete against that. The large corporations- too big to fail- will now greatly influence elections to get politicians sympathetic to their desires. And corporations exist for only one reason- profit. That were devised and are operated for that single reason. Profit most frequently does not coexist with a clean environment, fair employee relations, or the betterment of society.

This Supreme Court was not put into place by the GOP to make abortion illegal. They do not really care about that. It was put into place for activist judicial decisions just like this. It was put there to tilt the playing field even more in the favor of huge corporations.
Olberman is a pearl-clutching drama queen.

He's right, of course - but he's still a pearl-clutching drama queen.
Welcome to the Gatorade Pizza Hut Taco Bell Supreme Court. Would you like Mexi-Fries with your ruling?
Our political system is already a shambles. We all know, in most cases, the one with the most campaign funds wins.
re: #11 - you are right, but getting millions of brainwashed and complacent people to change is about as feasible as gaining term limits (as Dan mentioned in a previous article).
Here is another rediculous proposition that would cure many of the ills: How about we make it illegal for lawyers to be politicians?
How many years will it be before the corporations get thier people in place to overturn laws and start drilling in the Grand Canyon or cutting down the redwoods 5 - 10? And how long to get rid of minimum wage?
I guarantee you that one or more conservative justices are about to jump ship-- otherwise they wouldn't have dredged this case up right now.
Corporations are not evil incarnate, they are a group of people like any other people and those groups should be allowed to express their opinions. As a shareholder you can elect members of the board, I think. They then decide where the money for ads go.

My opinion is that most people are smart enough to know when someone is manipulating them against their interests and will not just vote like drooling idiots, so this decision doesn't particularly worry me. Corporations are also vulnerable to group pressure via bad publicity or boycotts, and I can guarantee that any corporation that for some idiotic reason wanted to destroy the redwoods or the grand canyon would experience such public outcry as to jam up that idea immediately.
@26 Does Taco Bell still make the mexi-fries????? I can't seem to find them anywhere. I thought they were replaced by those awful potatos.
I am reminded of a motion to stay proceedings that I once worked on. Our clients were the owner of the business, and the business itself, and were being charged with a criminal offense and being sued by the alleged victim.

The Court granted a motion to stay as to the owner only (the reason for the motion: with the criminal case pending, any information gleaned from discovery in the civil case could bring about a fifth amendment issue), and the case law that supported that ruling was that corporations and businesses are not people, and therefore do not have fifth amendment rights.

Does this mean we can stay any future case that is similar?

The flip side, though, is this: sure, this is an awful ruling. However, what's to say that corporations are actually going to put up pro or anti candidate advertisements with their names on them? Most large corporations aren't going to want to alienate potential customers, and will likely stay away from direct support of a candidate. They currently are allowed to support a cause, so that won't change.

I really don't see much changing in the grand scheme of things. Most political action will still be done via PACs, which already receive TONS of money.

I could be wrong (it's been known to happen), but I'm not too concerned overall.
The sky is falling! The sky is falling!

Same shit different day. The country swings to the left, then back to the right. Over and over. It is our democratic tango...all the corporate money in the world will do nothing to change that.

Scream and rail against the corporations, but don't forget to use your I-Phone, shop at Whole Foods, buy shit off Amazon, watch Conan on NBC/GE, and buy a new pair of Nikes from Nordstroms.

For a bunch of smart people you can really be dumb sometimes.

Can't find the petition at Has anyone found it?
Can't wait to see what this bunch does with Prop 8.
Olsen is hurrying the case along to them before there is another change in the court...
@30, you're delusional. Who do you think the investors are in a corporation? In the large companies, they're primarily institutional investors. That is, large mutual fund companies, hedge funds, and various entities making money on mergers, acquisitions, stock options and credit default swaps. The individual investor has just about no say, even collectively.

And before you say it, no the mutual fund companies are not responsible to the wishes of their customers in turn regarding any votes in one of their holdings. Not in the real world, and not even theoretically.

My opinion is that most people are smart enough to know when someone is manipulating them against their interests and will not just vote like drooling idiots, so this decision doesn't particularly worry me.

Sir or madam, I present you with the Presidency of George W. Bush.
You know, this horrible, anti-democratic, pro-corruption ruling might be the thing that saves the media. Because that's where the money will be spent.
@33 -

It's just Nordstrom. No "s" at the end.

you believe it's a zero sum game, then? Read some history books or something. ;)
As I travel through the internet, I see so much confusion, hostility, and ideology. Not on Slog. For some reason, 90% of the comments on Slog are thoughtful and inventive.

I just love it.

Is there a way to replicate forums like this everywhere? Or is it more a problem of all the thoughtful people congregating in particular geographical areas? I'm rambling ... So anyway, congrats. Well done. Be proud.
You're welcome. I try to always be substantive.

Of course any real opinion also comes with feeling, and for some of the repressed uptight Seattleites that's a little hard to deal with.
@41, I think you would be shocked by where all the commenters here are from. We're spread out all over the country, and there are even a fair number of people in other countries. No, it's not a geographical thing.

Not to make his head any bigger than it already is, but it's a Dan Savage thing. People fall in love with Savage Love, discover that this is basically "his" blog, and the rest comes from that.
@40 Yeah thanks, actually I've read a few history books. Matter of fact I like history so much that I decided to become a high school history teacher about 10 years ago. So foo on you.

The point is this...shit don't change. Recent history: remember a few years back the terror of Karl Rove's permanent republican majority? The reign of domestic terror that would be ushered in by the patriot act? Now I'm supposed to believe that democracy is over and the corporations will enslave the workers, smash democracy and bring about a fascist paradise.

Fuck you, Supreme Court.
Why do I hear the song Uprising by MUSE playing in the background ....
Because you have terrible taste in music.

Sorry, i couldn't help myself.
@48 - you do realize this means the sovereign wealth holding companies owned by China and Saudi Arabia and Dubai now have a vote in US elections, right?

That's how trusts and holding companies work - they own other firms which do the dirty work.
@46, I think you're on to something. I think we need to impeach one or two of the conservative justices. (By the way, apropos of nothing, did you know they were all Catholics?)

Impeachment is a political process, not a criminal one, so you really don't even need cause, but handing the country over to corporate interests who might be shills for foreign governments would seem to be enough of a reason to impeach someone for treason.

Anyone remember how many votes you need in the House and Senate to impeach and convict someone and remove them from office?
@45 - done and many thanks, Irving!
So, the only corporations with unfettered free speech should be media corporations?...
It's time to burn down the Supreme Court.

They just legalized the sovereign wealth funds of China and Saudi Arabia being able to directly own US firms and use those to affect our elections.

Corporations aren't people. You can't draft them, they won't get executed for murdering someone, and they never serve a jail term for stealing people's property.
Rotten666@48 FTW!