Letters to the Editor

Bad precedent

February 3, 2010

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To the editor:

There have been letters on this page assailing the recent Supreme Court decision cutting back the power of the Federal Election Commission over campaign finance. The First Amendment prohibits interference with speech. The Constitution gives Congress a limited role in elections, that of breaking a deadlock in the Electoral College and passing legislation to guarantee voting rights per the 15th Amendment.

The fact that there is precedent and there have been limitations on campaign contributions since 1907 is beside the point. Bad precedent is bad precedent and needs to be checked lest the government exceed its powers to the detriment of our freedom.

It is unlikely that there will be a flood of corporate money into elections as no public corporation wishes to attract taxpayer lawsuits (courtesy of Sarbanes-Oxley). And if there is, I believe the electorate or a substantial proportion thereof is intelligent enough to say, “Hold on, there.”

I am not as concerned about “our democracy,” a term not used extensively prior to FDR, as I am about the health of our constitutional republic, which stands between its citizens and the tyranny of a central government and the tyranny of the majority.

Comments

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 6 months ago

Translation-- Government of, by and for corporations avoids any of the messiness that comes with democracy. Power to Exxon, Goldman Sachs and AIG!!!

notajayhawk 5 years, 6 months ago

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus (Anonymous) says…

"Translation— Government of, by and for corporations avoids any of the messiness that comes with democracy. Power to Exxon, Goldman Sachs and AIG!!!"

So, boohoohoozo, if money buys elections, is that why Obama won?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 6 months ago

"So, boohoohoozo, if money buys elections, is that why Obama won?"

It certainly didn't hurt-- and despite the myths to the contrary, more of his money came from special interests (as in corporate) than from small individual donations-- which explains why he's been governing primarily from a center-right perspective.

notajayhawk 5 years, 6 months ago

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus (Anonymous) says…

"which explains why he's been governing primarily from a center-right perspective."

Of course, nothing explains boohoozo's belief that he's governing from a center-right perspective - other than the fact that compared to Herr Klowne, Mao Tse-tung was "center-right".

anon1958 5 years, 6 months ago

This supreme court decision is bad for citizens regardless of race or radicalism, left or right.

labmonkey 5 years, 6 months ago

I am not very fond of the ruling, because it means that I will be donating even more to the Democrats against my will now (yep, I am a Union Member).

This also means that you will have to research the products you buy to see where the money goes (and I already hate that I have to search for the holy grail just to find something American Made).

Holy crap Bozo....if you think Obama is center-right, then your political radar needs recalibrated.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 6 months ago

".if you think Obama is center-right, then your political radar needs recalibrated."

I don't think that Obama is center-right. I think that his personal politics are best described as center-left. But in Washington, given the control influenced by corporations and their lobbyists, it's impossible to govern any further left than "center-right," which is precisely what he and the Democrats have done.

avoice 5 years, 6 months ago

Stuck between those who are trying to shove corporate control on us and those who think the only way to avoid corporate control is to capitulate to government control. More reason than ever to be a libertarian -- one who still defines "individual" as a human being and not a corporate entity.

notajayhawk 5 years, 6 months ago

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus (Anonymous) says…

"But in Washington, given the control influenced by corporations and their lobbyists, it's impossible to govern any further left than “center-right,” which is precisely what he and the Democrats have done."

Yep, just look at all those right-wingers in the past that have assumed ownership of major automobile manufacturers, and given large chunks of that ownership to the unions, for example. Why, how right-wing can you get, after all?

Jimo 5 years, 6 months ago

"The First Amendment prohibits interference with speech."

The 1st and indeed the entirety of the Bill of Rights protects the rights of people. Not one U.S. person was being prohibited the right to speak.

A corporation is not a person. A corporation is created only by governmental choice and is governed by whatever statutes government establishes. As a practical matter, corporations rarely speak with one voice; rather, narrow interests, often a single person, effectively loot shareholders money for their own ends, which may or may not, to some degree or not, concur with the voice of some portion of shareholders. Something like 2/3rds of American own corporate shares. No one seriously believes that there is any uniformity in those shareholder's collective opinion about political matters and in fact shareholders are rarely if ever asked by corporate management what their opinion is. It is the unrepresentative and unaccountable nature of corporate actions that cause extreme concern about this bizarre legal approach.

"Bad precedent is bad precedent and needs to be checked"

Since the beginning, the conservative approach (inherited by our Founders from England) to dealing with bad precedent is to find the most narrow means of limiting the existing rule. We do this so as to not do violence to authority of the courts, politicize jurisprudence unnecessarily, and to cautiously introduce change with an eye to the unforeseen consequences of court decisions. As the minority points out in this case, the activist majority takes a minor case, avoids multiple approaches that it could have ruled for the appellants on more narrow grounds, and instead goes in search of monsters to destroy. Thus, the majority allows its improper political activism to undermine the law and everyone's respect for court authority. That "conservatives" must be schooled on how conservatism works puts the lie to their misnamed identity; they are radicals, inpatient with conservatism in their desire to push an agenda.

"The Constitution gives Congress a limited role"

Nothing in the logic of the decision limits itself to Congress. Lawsuits are being filed even now state by state to undermine state authority to govern elections (which is without limit except as expressly limited by the Constitution).

Query: which corporation is paying Mr. Haehl to write this letter?

jumpin_catfish 5 years, 6 months ago

Nice read today on this topic and I declare the winner.....those who understand that this ruling was the constitutionally correct decision. And sadly, once again, bozo is our loser.

notajayhawk 5 years, 6 months ago

Defender (Anonymous) says…

"If you want to live in a nation where elections can be influenced more by corporations than individuals, then get the hell out of America. Americans have no use for this, not real Americans at least."

And Defender thinks SHE speaks for "real Americans"?

Thanks, needed that bit of humor.

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