View Full Version : Grayson: S.C. Decision Worst Since Dred Scott"

Gayle in MD
01-25-2010, 10:00 AM

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Grayson: Court's Campaign Finance Decision "Worst Since Dred Scott"

Alan Grayson, the first-term Democratic congressman from central Florida, really didn't like Thursday's Supreme Court decision legalizing unlimited corporate spending in election campaigns. "It's the worst Supreme Court decision since the Dred Scott case," he told me last night. In Dred Scott, Grayson explained, the Supreme Court decided that neither slaves nor the children of slaves could ever be US citizens. In Citizens United v. FEC, decided Thursday, the Supreme Court ruled "that only huge corporations have any constitutional rights," Grayson said. "They have the right to bribe, the right to buy elections, the right to reward their elected toadies, and the right to punish the elected representatives who take a stab at doing what's right."

I wrote a profile of Grayson for the most recent issue of Mother Jones. You can read the whole thing here.

Like independent campaign finance reform groups, Grayson saw this decision coming. Last week, he filed five bills that he hopes will help counteract the effects of the Court's decision. On Wednesday night, he launched a website, savedemocracy.net, to rally support for these measures. On Thursday morning, he delivered over 10,000 signatures from a web-based petition to the Supreme Court. After the court issued its decision, he introduced a sixth campaign finance reform bill.

The Court's decision creates serious problems for the Fair Elections Now Act (FENA), a bill that Grayson co-sponsored that would institute publicly financed elections. "The funding from FENA is a drop in the bucket compared to what the oil companies might spend to defeat representatives who don't want to drill everywhere," Grayson warned. "It's a drop in the bucket compared to what Wall Street's prepared to spend to reward those who vote for bailouts and punish those who won't." The Supreme Court has "created a whole new problem.... that really isn't addressed by that bill," Grayson said, while emphasizing that he still supported FENA because it is "a step in the right direction, but not sufficient."

Via Grayson's website, here are the six bills "and what they aim to accomplish,":

The Business Should Mind Its Own Business Act (H.R. 4431): Implements a 500% excise tax on corporate contributions to political committees, and on corporate expenditures on political advocacy campaigns.
The Public Company Responsibility Act (H.R. 4435): Prevents companies making political contributions and expenditures from trading their stock on national exchanges.
The End Political Kickbacks Act (H.R. 4434): Prevents for-profit corporations that receive money from the government from making political contributions, and limits the amount that employees of those companies can contribute.
The Corporate Propaganda Sunshine Act (H.R. 4432): Requires publicly-traded companies to disclose in SEC filings money used for the purpose of influencing public opinion, rather than to promoting their products and services.
The Ending Corporate Collusion Act (H.R. 4433): Applies antitrust law to industry PACs.
The End the Hijacking of Shareholder Funds Act (H.R. 4487): This bill requires the approval of a majority of a public company’s shareholders for any expenditure by that company to influence public opinion on matters not related to the company’s products or services.
The fifth measure has already gained the support of Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.), the chair of the House Judiciary committee, Grayson said. Grayson hopes the committee might hold a hearing on that bill sometime in the next 30 days. Grayson circulated his proposals among his colleagues on Thursday. He has a decent record with winning support for populist ideas— last year he signed up over 100 cosponsors for Texas Republican Ron Paul's bill to audit the Federal Reserve.

Still, what Grayson could really use is the support of President Barack Obama, who has slammed the Supreme Court decision and promised a "forceful" legislative response. Grayson's bills would certainly qualify. The Atlantic's Marc Ambinder has reported that the White House and other Hill Democrats are seriously considering three options for responding to the decision, including one that bears a resemblance to Grayson's sixth bill—requiring shareholders to approve of independent political expenditures. When we spoke, Grayson also voiced support to another idea Ambinder says is under consideration—a "Stand by Your Ad" requirement. As Ambinder describes it, "The head of an insurance company would be forced to say, 'I'm Honus Wagner, the CEO of Acme, and I stand by this ad.'" Grayson emphasized that such a move would be consistent with the Supreme Court's decision today, which explicitly allowed Congress to pass tough disclosure requirements.

01-25-2010, 12:22 PM
The function of the SC is to make sure that laws in this country fit within the guidelines of the constitution.

The constitution is very clear on the fundamental of free speech.

Laws that limit freedom of speech, whether it be for individuals or organizations, are unconstitutional.

The SC did what it is supposed to do.

Sorry if the constitution gets in the way of the liberal agenda of shutting down opposing opinions.


01-25-2010, 12:45 PM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: pooltchr</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Sorry if the constitution gets in the way of the liberal agenda of shutting down opposing opinions.

Steve </div></div>

In the mind of the leftist, the SCOTUS is supposed to shut down opposing POV's.

Only the far left can read this:

Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

and believe that interpreting it to mean that congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances is a bad decision, while reading this:

Amendment II

A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

and believe that deciding it means that the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed is a bad decision, yet read this:

Amendment IV

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

and determine that it means that minor children have an unlimited right to legal abortion without parental notification or consent or being counseled as to other available options ... and that such a reading is a great decision.

The COTUS is merely a stage prop to the far left.


01-25-2010, 04:44 PM
Fortunately, Grayson is on the hit list of the Tea Party folks so he won't be around for long.

01-25-2010, 05:57 PM
With apologies to LAmas

Founding Fathers Smiling After Supreme Court Campaign Finance Ruling
By Ken Klukowski

In the wake of the Supreme Court's ruling on Thursday, every American should be worried when the president of the United States starts threatening the highest court in the land.

The Supreme Court’s action in striking down the worst censorship provision of McCain-Feingold restores vital free speech protection in America. The First Amendment does not allow the government to silence its critics, and Thursday’s decision would make our Founding Fathers applaud -- they built this country out of a revolution founded upon a critique of oppressive government. But fast forward to 2010, this week, instead of applauding the Supreme Court’s ruling, America’s current president is responding by issuing an ominous threat against our highest court.

On January 21, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its decision in Citizens United v. FEC. At issue was a key part of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (BCRA), better known as McCain-Feingold, that made it a federal felony—punishable by five years in prison—for a corporation to use any of its funds to criticize a candidate for federal office within thirty days of a primary election or sixty days of a November general election.

The group Citizens United made a documentary about Hillary Clinton during the 2008 campaign. The Federal Election Commission did not allow it to be distributed, and David Bossie, president of Citizens United, decided to fight back.

The case went to the Supreme Court, where former U.S. Solicitor General Ted Olson—a living legend among Supreme Court lawyers—fought it out against Barack Obama’s Justice Department. During argument, the Obama administration’s lawyer, Solicitor General Elena Kagan, made extravagant claims about the extent to which government can censor its critics, outlawing books, movies, and other methods of informing the public. Olson pushed back hard, pointing to the terrible power that this part of BCRA gives the government against private citizens banding together to speak out during election season.

The Supreme Court agreed that such power is frightening. In an opinion written by moderate Justice Anthony Kennedy, he noted that the Court upheld regulations decades ago on corporate speech, on the theory that corporations could amass vast sums of money to drown out ordinary citizens, distorting public debate.

On Thursday, the Court overruled that earlier case and also part of a 2003 case involving BCRA, finding the earlier anti-distortion rationale to be “unconvincing and insufficient” to justify government censorship of political speech. Instead, the Court noted that ordinary people often need to pool their money into an organization they support, to use those pooled funds to get their message out about the issues they care about when elections are approaching. Rather than drown out the little guy, this option allows groups, be they Citizens United, the National Rifle Association, or the Family Research Council, to be a megaphone for the little guy, informing the voters of what’s at stake.

The Court’s opinion went on to note that the government’s theory of being able to censor organizations that speak to the public simply because that organization is a corporation with the ability to accumulate money would enable the government to go after the media. Every major press outlet is a corporation, and all have vast sums of money. The government’s argument could be used to justify censorship of the press. When that happened, the First Amendment dies.The far left has already taken up the cry that this decision somehow undermines democracy, with Senator Chuck Schumer calling it “un-American.”

The White House itself is engaging in an unseemly Chicken Little routine, with President Obama himself crying that the Court, “has given a green light to a new stampede of special interest money in our politics. It’s a major victory for big oil, Wall Street banks, health insurance companies,” etc.

It’s nothing short of Orwellian that many on the left argue that the First Amendment protects pornography and obscenity, but not the right to freely speak out about candidates for the presidency of the United States. History is clear that the Founding Fathers’ purpose in writing the Free Speech Clause was to ensure that people—either individually or as a group (which includes corporations)—have the right to share and spread their ideas and opinions of the government, its policies and its candidates for office.

President Obama’s hypocrisy here is appalling. In the midst of the grossest and sleaziest politics that this country has ever seen over the past weeks’ health care shenanigans, with U.S. senators being bought off, labor unions getting a free ride on all of our backs, and special deals cut for every special interest that backs this president, it’s astounding that he has the gall to criticize anyone for “special interest” politics. The worst aspects of corrupt Chicago politics are oozing out of this White House, and anyone can see who is enjoying a “big victory” these days.

Obama then ends with a warning, saying that he will go to Congress to craft a “forceful response to this decision.”

That sounds like a threat. And every American should be worried when the president of the United States starts threatening the Supreme Court.

And they should be especially worried when all the Court is doing is protecting one of our most sacred rights. The Supreme Court says it best in its majority opinion: “Governments are often hostile to speech, but under our law and our tradition it seems stranger than fiction for our Government to make this political speech a crime.”

In other words, if there is one place on earth where people should be free to join together and pool their resources to inform their fellow citizens about public issues, that place is America. And if there’s one time where it’s most critical to inform our fellow citizens, it’s in the days leading up to an election, where we as a people must choose who will wield the power to rule over us.

Citizens United v. FEC is a “big victory” alright. It’s a tremendous victory for average Americans, restoring their First Amendment rights to join together to be heard. Barack Obama may be fuming, but our Founding Fathers are smiling.

Ken Klukowski is a fellow and senior legal analyst with the American Civil Rights Union