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« Moving in reverse | Main | Versioning information goods »

Jan 21, 2010


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Killer pics, lately.


Here's the tale of the noble birth of legal glibertarianism: "corporate personhood" was invented by an ex- railroad tycoon doctoring a SCOTUS decision.


Not good news, but not unexpected. Actually, pretty bad news. The Founders would be aghast.


"Because if there's anything this country needs, it's more powerful corporations"

You forgot to ad "and unions". Unless you believe they are somehow less influential/corrupting on the political process.

Andrew Brod

Isn't it interesting that in spite of how loudly modern conservatism advertises its populism, it consistently promotes judges who undermine populist ideals? As disturbing as this decision is, I'm going to sit back for a moment and savor the irony.

Andrew Brod

I think Ed left out unions because they're already so weak. This decision is unlikely to make unions suddenly relevant again.


Corporations have more money than unions. Hence. greater influence.

The point is that neither corporations or unions should be allowed this ability. The decision, as was the original decision awarding personhood to corporations, represents a fundmental misreading of the purpose and intent of the Constitution and the people who wrote it.

The ruling is as wrongheaded as something like Dred Scott, and the repercussions may eventually be as potent.


You could see this coming since last spring, when the "strict constructionist" Roberts bloc invited the parties to re-brief/re-argue on issues that weren't raised in the underlying case.

That same group of ruggedly strict constructionist appears to have conjured up ponies by judicial fiat, as the minority observes in FN 64: "The majority declares by fiat that the appearance of undue influence by high-spending corporations 'will not cause the electorate to lose faith in our democracy.' The electorate itself has consistently indicated otherwise, both in opinion poll ... and in the laws its representatives have passed, and our colleagues have no basis for elevating their own optimism into a tenet of constitutional law."

I thought it would be impossible to out-Stoopid Bush v. Gore. Oh me of little faith.

Santa Clara County v. Union Pacific Railroad through Buckley v. Valeo to this. Welcome to Banana Republicville, population: you.


It's not all bad. Just infer by corollary your own right to limited liability, get a Chase Visa card and find some hookers and blow.



Do you think Corporations have more influence with this President than unions?


Yes indeed, the knee jerk responses above are predictable, are they not?

Lost in the noise is the reality that many segments of corporate business resmble those being fed here from the government trough

(Side note: I was there when this was dedicated. I was a friend of the man who commissioned it.)

Cutting through the babble-on previously posted, it's clear that this ruling levels the playing field:

"The 5-to-4 decision was a doctrinal earthquake but also a political and practical one. Specialists in campaign finance law said they expected the decision, which also applies to labor unions and other organizations, to reshape the way elections are conducted."

Dems/Lefties/"Progressives" no longer have their shadow money advantage.


the knee jerk responses above are predictable

I'm going to make this a keyboard macro and my sig line.


>>Do you think Corporations have more influence with this President than unions?

I honestly don't know.

But, that's besides the point. To be a person you need to have human DNA. This and previous decisions to adorn legal entities like corporations and unions with personhood are judicial atrocities.

Conservatives, as Bubba has predictably demonstrated, will support this decision because, fundamentally, they support the accumulation of wealth and power among the privileged few, and value and trust the power of the state ruled by those few more than than the rights of the actual people the Constitution is intended to safeguard. They use language dressed up with constant references to freedom, but can you point to any oppressive movement that did not take a similar propaganda line?


I will read it first and then tell you what I think. However, as a moral issue and in terms of political influence, there is no difference between unions and corporations. Unions include the NEA, SEIU, etc;. not just the UAW, Teamsters, and other rust belt unions that have lost members. Their influence is far and wide just as corporate influence is. Damn them both, or damn none- or let your outrage be relative and hypocritical.


>> Damn them both, or damn none...

Surprisingly, I agree with this.

People have the right to form corporations. People have the right to form unions.

The people in corporations and the people in unions can exercise their free speech rights to attempt to influence politicians.

The legal constructs called corporations and unions do not have the same rights as people. The same obviously applies to any other legally sanctioned organization.

But, then, the issue isn't really about free speech. It's about money. If corporations, or unions, didn't have he financial clout to saturate the media with partisan pitches, no one would be energized by this case.


Statists, as corbs ALWAYS demonstrates, can be counted on to predictably respond predictably to information that threatens a cherished world view agenda item. That type of faulty reasoning is typified by his response above.

"The dirty little secret — the real impetus for this law — in incumbency protection. How else to explain the so-called Millionaire’s Amendment, which the Court struck down in 2008. That little gem in the McCain-Feingold 'reform' package exempted candidates (read: incumbents) from the law’s strictures if they were running against a self-financed 'millionaire,' who could not be prohibited from spending his own money campaigning.

Thus, the nominal rationale for the incomprehensible edifice we call 'campaign finance law' — to prohibit corruption — suddenly disappeared if you were running against a millionaire. Well, the Court, fortunately, saw right through that. And a majority on the Court saw the light in today’s decision, too.

The First Amendment is not a 'loophole.' It’s the very foundation of our democracy, and we are the stronger today for this decision."

I know that the judicial branch of our government is a thorn for those who feel its only legitimate functions are to support the statists' ppolitical/social/economic aspirations and agenda, and to think up new and further innovative "rights" to further progress said aspirations and agenda.

Too bad accurate, definitive constitutional interpretation and common sense often get in the way, huh?


Missing link for the last post.

Andrew Brod

Whether this is a good decision or not, there's one thing that's obviously true about it: it's in-your-face judicial activism. So much for strict constructionism and "calling balls and strikes."


Bubba, surely you don't expect me to acceot Cato and Commentary as uninterested sources?

What's "statist" about wanting inividual people to have as much ability to influence politicians as much wealthy, often foreign-owned, corporations or as wealthy unions?

What's "statist" about making the argument that the First Amendment protects people, and that organztions are not?

Do you believe something without human DNA is a person?

The First Amendment loophole in question was created by the Court when it granted personhood to corporations.

The "statists" in the room are the bought-and-paid for polticians and their supporters whose every action is to concentrate more power and more wealth in the hands of their masters. It's the glory of the state that draws them, not the liberties of each of us.

The long-term effect of decisions like today's bastardization of the Constitution and the right's cyncal hypocrisy in mouthing words about freedom and liberty while working to restrain the rights of individuals will be to destroy respect for the very Constitution they falsely claim to be protecting.


We can't have no statist faction. That's what I say.

Too bad accurate, definitive constitutional interpretation and common sense often get in the way, huh?

What have you been smokin', hoss?


Has Bubba answered my questions? He never does.

Maybe he's out of answers.


Andrew, can you explain why this is an "activist decision"?


"People have the right to form corporations. People have the right to form unions." @justcorbly.
Corporations do not tell their employees how to vote and who to back with contributions, unions DO tell their members how to vote and who to contribute to .


Good question Spag:

"activist" is rarely defined.

Often it simply means that the judge makes decisions with which the critic disagrees.

One reasonably objective and quantifiable measure is how often a justice voted to strike down a law passed by Congress?

An OP-ED measured the Justices (as of 2005):

Thomas 65.63 % of the time voting to invalidate laws
Kennedy 64.06 %
Scalia 56.25 %
Rehnquist 46.88 %
O’Connor 46.77 %
Souter 42.19 %
Stevens 39.34 %
Ginsburg 39.06 %
Breyer 28.13 %

So chalk another one up for the top of the leader board.

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