I find this statement ominous in the extreme!
“…We are going to talk with bipartisan congressional leaders to develop a forceful response to this decision.” –Barack Obama
Supreme Court Ruling
WASHINGTON – A closely divided Supreme Court on Thursday swept away long-standing limits on campaign spending by unions and corporations.
In a much-anticipated 5-4 decision, the court’s conservative majority declared that the limits on so-called independent expenditures by corporations violate First Amendment free-speech rights. The decision means more money can be spent on federal elections, including this year’s midterm congressional elections.
“The government may regulate corporate political speech through disclaimer and disclosure requirements, but it may not suppress that speech altogether,” Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote for the majority.
The decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission does not affect direct corporate or union contributions to candidates. Those still will be banned. Nor does it cover spending from any of the thousands of political action committees set up by special interests.
Instead, the decision frees corporations and unions to spend from their own treasuries on ads and other advocacy efforts. It does so in several ways.
The decision strikes down part of a 2002 campaign finance law, which banned direct corporate spending on “electioneering communications” within 60 days of a general election and 30 days of a primary. The decision also reverses a 1990 Supreme Court decision that had upheld a broader federal ban on corporate campaign spending.
“Were the court to uphold these restrictions, the government could repress speech by silencing certain voices,” Kennedy wrote.
Corporations and unions still will have to disclose their sponsorship of ads run close to an election.
Justice John Paul Stevens, however, writing for the four dissenters, warned that the ruling would harm the political system as well as the court’s own reputation. In striking down certain corporate campaign spending limits, the court reversed its own precedents.
“The court’s ruling threatens to undermine the integrity of elected institutions across the nation,” Stevens wrote.
League of Conservation Voters President Gene Karpinski quickly warned that the ruling “will open the floodgates for oil companies like Exxon to spend vast sums of money to influence the outcome of federal elections.” More sanguine, legal scholar Ilya Shapiro of the libertarian Cato Institute insisted that “more spending – more political communication – leads to better informed voters.”
“This case will lead to more spending, and that’s a good thing,” agreed former Federal Election Commission member Bradley Smith.
Even the decision’s release suggested history in the making. Kibitzers waited on the Supreme Court’s steps, as justices convened in a rare special session. Stevens took the unusual step of reading aloud part of his 90-page dissent from the bench.
“The court’s ruling dramatically enhances the role of corporations and unions, and the narrow interests they represent … in determining who will hold public office,” Stevens wrote.
Kennedy was joined by Chief Justice John G. Roberts and associate justices Samuel Alito, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas.
Associate justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor joined Stevens in dissent….
Part of Obama response to the ruling:
“With its ruling today, the Supreme Court has given a green light to a new stampede of special interest money in our politics. It is a major victory for big oil, Wall Street banks, health insurance companies and the other powerful interests that marshal their power every day in Washington to drown out the voices of everyday Americans. … We are going to talk with bipartisan congressional leaders to develop a forceful response to this decision.” – President Barack Obama.
Statements made by the Regulatory Czar–Cass Sunstein
‘Beliefs and commitments’ of nation’s leader should supersede judges – The interpretation of federal law should be made not by judges but by the beliefs and commitments of the U.S. president and those around him, according to President Obama’s newly confirmed regulatory czar, Cass Sunstein.
“There is no reason to believe that in the face of statutory ambiguity, the meaning of federal law should be settled by the inclinations and predispositions of federal judges. The outcome should instead depend on the commitments and beliefs of the President and those who operate under him,” argued Sunstein.
This statement was the central thesis of Sunstein’s 2006 Yale Law School paper, “Beyond Marbury: The Executive’s Power to Say What the Law Is.” The paper, in which he argues the president and his advisers should be the ones to interpret federal laws, was obtained and reviewed by WND. Sunstein debated the precedent-setting 1803 case, Marbury v. Madison, which determined it is “emphatically the province and duty of the judicial department to say what the law is.” He lamented multiple recent examples of U.S. presidents interpreting law only to have their interpretations overturned by the Supreme Court.
As I see it, Obama broke his word to McCain about accepting Public Campaign Finance because he ended up getting over $744 MILLION dollars in private donations, much of which it came from, is STILL unaccounted for!
After McCain accepted the public Finance, he ONLY got $84 Million! Now tell me who made out like a bandit here by LYING about accepting the public financing? The end justifies the means I’d say! (SEE COMMENT Section for MORE LINKS)
In November 2007, Obama answered “Yes” to Common Cause when asked “If you are nominated for President in 2008 and your major opponents agree to forgo private funding in the general election campaign, will you participate in the presidential public financing system?”
Obama wrote: “In February 2007, I proposed a novel way to preserve the strength of the public financing system in the 2008 election. My plan requires both major party candidates to agree on a fundraising truce, return excess money from donors, and stay within the public financing system for the general election. My proposal followed announcements by some presidential candidates that they would forgo public financing so they could raise unlimited funds in the general election. The Federal Election Commission ruled the proposal legal, and Senator John McCain (R-AZ) has already pledged to accept this fundraising pledge. If I am the Democratic nominee, I will aggressively pursue an agreement with the Republican nominee to preserve a publicly financed general election.”
Not so “aggressively,” according to the McCain campaign, which argues that Obama did not discuss this or try to negotiate at all with the McCain campaign, despite writing that he would “aggressively pursue an agreement with the Republican nominee to preserve a publicly financed general election.”
The Obama campaign disputes this. Obama campaign counsel Bob Bauer met with McCain campaign counsel Trevor Potter and, according to Obama spox Bill Burton, Potter “immediately made it clear there was no basis for further discussion,” that they weren’t interested in any sort of agreement. “McCain and the RNC had spent months raising and spending money for the general election, and their basic attitude was ‘You’ll catch up,'” Burton says, suggesting that the Republicans were also turning a blind eye to the activities of 527s.
In April Obama seemed to be preparing an argument to opt out, as we noted at the time.
“We have created a parallel public financing system where the American people decide if they want to support a campaign they can get on the Internet and finance it, and they will have as much access and influence over the course and direction of our campaign that has traditionally been reserved for the wealthy and the powerful,” Obama said at the time.
Today he said something similar, telling supporters, “Instead of forcing us to rely on millions from Washington lobbyists and special interest PACs, you’ve fueled this campaign with donations of $5, $10, $20, whatever you can afford. And because you did, we’ve built a grassroots movement of over 1.5 million Americans. …You’ve already changed the way campaigns are funded because you know that’s the only way we can truly change how Washington works.”
Obama said, “I’m asking you to try to do something that’s never been done before. Declare our independence from a broken system, and run the type of campaign that reflects the grassroots values that have already changed our politics and brought us this far.”
Declaring independence from a “broken system” by breaking a promise. Obama hopes you’ll care more about the former than the latter.
UPDATE: McCain campaign communications director Jill Hazelbaker emails: “Today, Barack Obama has revealed himself to be just another typical politician who will do and say whatever is most expedient for Barack Obama. The true test of a candidate for President is whether he will stand on principle and keep his word to the American people. Barack Obama has failed that test today, and his reversal of his promise to participate in the public finance system undermines his call for a new type of politics. Barack Obama is now the first presidential candidate since Watergate to run a campaign entirely on private funds. This decision will have far-reaching and extraordinary consequences that will weaken and undermine the public financing system.”
McCain and Obama both declined public financing in the primary contests, thus avoiding the spending limits that come attached to the money. McCain had initially applied for the money, however, and has been in a dispute with the Federal Election Commission over whether he needs commission approval to decline the primary election funds. The FEC insists that he does….”While presidential candidates have rejected public financing in primaries, no major party candidate has bypassed the system in the general election.” http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/25259863/
Judge Napalitano weighs in on the ruling.
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