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Corporations and the First Amendment

Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by 21, Jan 21, 2010.

  1. 21

    21 Well-Known Member

    As noted on the No Politics running political thread, 8) ,The Supreme Court ruled today 5-4 that corporations, unions, and non-profits can buy advertising for/against political candidates.

    Putting aside the political debate, the bigger picture is that the decision was based on first amendment rights. The ruling is essentially based on the existing premise that corporations are entitled to the same free speech protection as individuals.

    Kennedy for the majority: "When government seeks to use its full power, including the criminal law, to command where a person may get his or her information or what distrusted source he or she may not hear, it uses censorship to control thought. The First Amendment confirms the freedom to think for ourselves."

    Stevens for the dissent: "In a democratic society, the long-standing consensus on the need to limit corporate campaign spending should outweigh the wooden applications of judge-made rules." He added, "The court's ruling threatens to undermine the integrity of elected institutions around the nation."

    Since the SJ community has great interest in and passion for the First Amendment, I ask you:

    Is it possible to look past the political ramifications of this and acknowledge that there are indeed free speech issues here?

    And what, if any, peripheral effect might this have on other free speech cases?
  2. cranberry

    cranberry Well-Known Member

    Money talks.
  3. I think there are. But I'm taking First Amendment right now in law school and am realizing every day what a tangled up mess it actually is.

    I kind of am of the opinion that this is probably an overbroad/activist ruling when it should have been narrower, but I have to examine the opinion a little more.
  4. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    I don't like this because each one of those organizations and individuals already has free speech.

    The issue is money and the ability to broadcast that speech.

    It has the effect of doing an end-run around campaign finance laws and makes it even more certain that candidates are going to be beholden to special interests.
  5. printdust

    printdust New Member

    That's right. And corporations will always have rights the rest of America can only dream of. Which means Obama going against the banks is a joke. It's like taking a coat hanger to a gun battle.
  6. 21

    21 Well-Known Member

    Here's the decision, Citizens United v FEC:

  7. TheSportsPredictor

    TheSportsPredictor Well-Known Member

    Obama v banks -- winner banks, 2nd round knockout
  8. DanOregon

    DanOregon Well-Known Member

    When corporations begin serving in the Army, or on juries or voting - then I'm willing to extend the Bill of Rights to them.
  9. 21

    21 Well-Known Member

    A whole lot of Americans don't serve in the Army or on juries, or vote.
  10. printdust

    printdust New Member

    But Dan, corporations are made up of people who pay taxes, allegedly. People with Social Security numbers, allegedly.
    Oh wait, we're owned by China and various entitities in Europe. Never mind.
  11. DanOregon

    DanOregon Well-Known Member

    Corporations are not people. There is nothing preventing people from donating money. How can a corporation claim that they are being denied rights when the bill of rights was written for the people, long before the first business was incorporated in the U.S?
  12. zagoshe

    zagoshe Well-Known Member

    About damn time.

    Now it is time to tear down all the rest of the ridiculous finance laws that restrict people from getting involved in the process.

    Corporations have money, yes, but so do individual citizens
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