Citizens United, Free at Last

In a major victory for the First Amendment and political speech, the Supreme Court has by a 5-4 vote overturned many of the worst campaign finance restrictions in federal law. From the Associated Press story:

[T]he court on Thursday overturned a 20-year-old ruling that said corporations can be prohibited from using money from their general treasuries to pay for their own campaign ads. The decision, which almost certainly will also allow labor unions to participate more freely in campaigns, threatens similar limits imposed by 24 states.

It leaves in place a prohibition on direct contributions to candidates from corporations and unions. [...]

The justices also struck down part of the landmark McCain-Feingold campaign finance bill that barred union- and corporate-paid issue ads in the closing days of election campaigns.

Read the whole 183-page opinion here [PDF] (and tell us the juicy bits in the comments!). Early reaction from Cato's Ilya Shapiro. As always, the SCOTUS blog is essential reading.

Reason has written tons about the Citizens United case; start here. More on this landmark ruling throughout the day.

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  • ||

    Hahaha is anyone surprised by this? Corruption is bliss. Bought and paid for, its the AMerican way.

    Jess
    www.web-privacy.pl.tc

  • ||

    An-Bot sure is active this morning.

  • ||

    New can of paint

  • Sidious823||

    A step in the right direction to be sure, but it's still a pity that it takes the Supreme Court 183 pages to read "Congress shall make no law...abridging the freedom of speech" exactly as it is written.

  • ||

    A fair amount of it is saying why the decision that they're overturning was stupid and contradicted earlier decisions.

    Eugene Volokh notes that the decision contains some lines that could point toward overturning Red Lion and Pacifica. (The "broadcast TV and radio are special so we can regulate them" decisions that Justice Thomas questioned last year.)

  • Hank||

    It's about time, Matt. Where's the complaints dept.? Take off Thanksgiving, MLK, weekends.....slackers.

  • Matt Welch||

    I hear you.

  • Hank||

    Matt, did you check out the "debate" over at the Daily Caller Nick posted yesterday? Tucker was babbling something about the vitriol (I thought liberals had exclusive providence over that word) in the comments section.

    It's a good thing the sombitches over here at Reason don't engage in any kind of vitriolic bullshit, huh!?

  • T||

    True enough. We left vitriol in the dust long ago.

  • ||

    In this case, as in others, several of the precedents referred to by the Court involve protecting the rights of people to anonymously contribute to the NAACP (NAACP v. Alabama) and for the NAACP to be able to solicit and electioneer without state licensing (that they couldn't get, NAACP v. Button).

    Many on the left don't want to be consistent about it, because they're sympathetic to the idea that the NAACP and other "good" groups needed to be able to engage in speech, but don't like the idea of "bad" groups having that right. The Sunlight Foundation is particularly silly when talking about it.

  • ||

    Shockingly, the Kos Kiddies are gnashing their teeth over this.

  • WWJGD||

    Someone needs to inform them that this is not,in fact, the end of freedom and America.

  • Attorney||

    Quite the contrary.

  • Enyap||

    Just read one the post on this over at the kos, some of the posters are seriously suggesting that Obama repeat FDR's attempt to pack the court.

  • Cliché Bandit||

    Bot missed this one.

    I hope this has good repercussions on the FCPA (Fair Campaign Practices Act) law in Colorado. It is as, if no more, restrictive than FEC rules. The amount of time and effort filling out paperwork and forms for this stupid crap takes away from resources we could be using to campaign. But I guess that is the point.

    Is that your filing or are you just happy to see me?

  • ||

    It leaves in place a prohibition on direct contributions to candidates from corporations and unions.

    Ensuring votes through intimidation is not a direct contribution to a politicians campaign?

  • ||

    They're doing God's work, NutraHater!

  • ||

    The Teamsters were understandably upset when they found out the new voting booths were not big enough to fit three people any longer.

  • ||

    How about three people who are merely 5'6" in work boots?

  • Lexicon||

    They can vote while on piggyback with one another in the new "Tote-M-Poll" voting booth (patent pending).

  • ||

    Does the patent application specify whether the Tot-M-Poll has featherbedding? You know, while there are surely union members who are vertically challenged, some of those boys are alos horizontally challenged-thus the need for more support.

  • ||

    The wee folk are always welcome to commit voting fraud.

  • ||

    There goes yet another fundraising gimmick for the NRA.

  • Paul Simon||

    I'm guessing RBG couldn't find any free speech penumbral emanations in African tribal customs.

  • ||

    I would think a kind word for George W. Bush's scotus appointments is in order. Although he should have never been such a pussy to sign the bill in the first place.

  • ||

    Maybe one word, but Justices Alito and Roberts are nowhere near as good for liberty (in my book) as Justices Scalia, Thomas, or in some ways Kennedy.

  • Sidious823||

    Eh, Thomas still pisses me off for his willingness to allow 13 year old girls to be strip searched in the pursuit of Advil.

  • ||

    That, and he shouldn't be let off the hook for not asking questions. Getting his thoughts or idea challenges in the court record DOES mean something for the debate of an issue, whether he thinks so or not.

  • ||

    He writes tons of separate dissents. That's in the court record a lot more officially than oral argument.

    Most of what he addresses in his dissents are questions that none of the advocates present are prepared to address. Any other question, he says that usually anything he wants to ask gets asked by other justices, and he only asks questions if the issue doesn't get addressed but he feels that it could. (The cross burning case being one exception.)

  • Adam||

    But on the other hand Thomas also calls bullshit on the invocation of "interstate commerce" as a justification of federal involvement in everything (and "everything" is not an overstatement in this case).

    We all get to choose our favorite poison, I guess. (ah, freedom.)

  • ||

    I think that the search is an incredibly stupid policy. I'm a little bit confused about where people manage to draw the line between what is and isn't allowed. There are a lot of things allowed in loco parentis by compulsory schooling (something that itself I question the Constitutionality of) that come pretty close and yet no one seems to question. They allow all sorts of searches and restrictions, so what exactly is the specific bar towards one more unConstitutional search that distinguishes it from the other unConstitutional searches?

  • ||

    Your word be correct.

  • ||

    John T-

    My last post was directed at your comment on which justice is best overall for liberty.

  • DJF||

    So a corporation which is a fake person created by government mandate can now campaign in elections. Another big step down the road of crony capitalism and corporate/government partnerships

  • MJ||

    A corporation is an organization of real people. The fact that real people might use their free speech in the pursuit of noxious policies is not a reason to deprive them of their free speech rights.

  • Cliché Bandit||

    This applies to Sole Proprietorships and Partenerships as well as LLCs and Corps.

    Unless I am wrong, and I am never wrong, they are headed right into the Fire Swamp.

  • Jersey Patriot||

    Right, campaign finance laws had just about stopped crony capitalism. We were so close!

  • ||

    Since this involves McCain, I'll note an interesting fact from Cato:

    Libertarian voters swung away from Bush and the GOP in 2004 and 2006, but in 2008 they swung back, voting for McCain by 71 to 27 percent, presumably because the prospect of a Democratic president with a Democratic Congress in the midst of a financial crisis was frightening to small-government voters. Also, while many libertarian intellectuals [ed.: and Reason contributors] had a real antipathy to McCain, the typical libertarian voter saw McCain as an independent, straight-talking maverick who was a strong opponent of earmarks and pork-barrel spending and never talked about social issues.

    Unfortunately, that in some ways gives less hope for libertarians. If Obama was elected by such a margin without libertarian votes, there's less he has to worry about in pissing them off. Of course, there's always intensity and other issues too.

    Certainly one can always claim that these respondents aren't "real libertarians," who wouldn't have voted for Sen. McCain. But if you do that, then you have to admit that all the people willing to call themselves libertarian or "fiscally conservative, socially liberal" in polls aren't "real libertarians" either.

  • ||

    I think McCain was pro-choice.

  • Hank||

    Oh no. No....NO! This is gonna open the door to misleading campaign ads. That's it for me, no more basing my voting decisions exclusively on campaign ads. What a politcal strategy by pols: keep the public stupid and then preserve that stupidity and apathy during election season by shielding them from unfavorable campaign ads.

    [picking self up off the floor ten minutes later]

    Holy shit, I didn't just hear Pelosi suggest repealing Mccarran Ferguson? Must be new uniform federal regulations.

  • EscapedWestOfTheBigMuddy||

    It's been a good week so far.

    I predict a Balko post any minute now.

  • WWJGD||

    I think his New Orleans Hookers-as-sex-offenders post qualifies. Oral/anal are considered "unnatural sexual activities" and using that sex offender law loophole...voila!

  • EscapedWestOfTheBigMuddy||

    Damn. I started from the top and hadn't gotten that far yet.

  • EscapedWestOfTheBigMuddy||

    And there is the football fan thing.

    I think Balko is prescient. He gets in our karmic retribution before we've even heard the good news.

  • GC||

    It's too bad Thomas was the only one with the cahones for striking down the law in its entirety, as it should be. He gets it wrong occassionally (as Sidious823 notes correctly above), but I think he's quite frequently the best of the bunch despite the attacks on him.

  • Sidious823||

    Yeah, isn't it interesting how Kennedy spends so much time in the early parts of the opinion explaining that complex federal rules and regulations essentially "abridge" speech (in this case, with respect to PACs), but then no one but Thomas is willing to apply that rationale to the disclosure requirements.

    Strict Scrutiny is some kind of joke foisted on us to allow the government to do anything, if it "really, really means it."

  • GC||

    Perhaps the others had to deal with Kennedy to get the majority on the first part despite the complete disconnect in the reasoning.

  • ||

    GC, agreed.

    He is the justice who has opined that, in an appropriate case, he would vote to overrule the Slaughterhouse cases and reinvigorate the privileges or immunities clause of the 14th.

  • ||

    He also noted last year that Red Lion and Pacifica should be re-opened, and Eugene Volokh notes that this opinion opens that possibility up more.

  • ||

    But corporatism! Our politicians bought and sold! It's the end of the world! We're doomed! DOOOOOOOOOMED!

  • ||

    First really good news I've seen in a long time. Hopefully this is the beginning of the end of grandstanding attacks on political speech.

  • ||

    Does anyone know what this means for the rule that no candidate can be mentioned in any ad for the thirty days before an election? Is that what this overturns?

  • ||

    Step in the right direction. MA vote, this - think I'm gonna buy me a lottery ticket.

  • ||

    free speech is free speech, y'all. It is not qualified based on who agrees with whom.

  • Some dude||

    That sucks. Corporations should have more restrictions, not less. Let's increase the voice of (actual) people instead of being crowded out by (fictitious) corporate persons.

  • ||

    Dude, are you high or something? when a few people want to join together and pool their money to affect political change you have no business telling them they can't.

  • DJF||

    I have no problem with people joining together and pooling their money to affect political change, just don’t do it with government granted privilege of limited liability and using an organization which has been granted facetious personhood by the government. The same applies to unions and any other group of people, stand on their own and don’t hide behind government licensed, privileged or approved organizations

  • ||

    just don’t do it with government granted privilege of limited liability

    Right, so if you want to give money to or a form a libertarian organization or a non-profit, you should be prepared to lose your entire life savings if they're sued by someone with deep pockets.

  • DJF||

    Just like everyone else in the world. I also think that the government should be stripped of its liability protection.

    Also what about those who are truly harmed by people who have formed a corporation, should their loss recovery be limited by the use of limited liability privilege? That is what you are saying.

  • ||

    Also what about those who are truly harmed by people who have formed a corporation, should their loss recovery be limited by the use of limited liability privilege? That is what you are saying.

    Yes. The tradeoffs are worth it.

  • DJF||

    So you are a follower of Utilitarianism and "the greatest good for the greatest number of people". Isn’t that the same belief that Obama has when it comes to health care

  • Some dude||

    I have no problem with what you describe. But what is a corporation's "general treasury"? It doesn't sound anything like a pool of individual people's money earmarked for the affecting of political change.

  • ||

    But what is a corporation's "general treasury"? It doesn't sound anything like a pool of individual people's money earmarked for the affecting of political change.

    It depends on what the corporation is. A corporation can be a non-profit formed for the explicit means of individuals pooling and earmarking their money for political change. Should people risk losing their life savings because they want to agitate for political change but some of their targets have big pockets and sue for libel?

    As the opinion noted, the law in question made absolutely no distinction between types of corporations, small or large, profit or non-profit.

  • Some dude||

    I did not know it worked that way. What about you? You are not a limited liability corporate person. What if I gave you some money for whatever reason and you got sued for libel. They could sue me too?

  • ||

    What if I gave you some money for whatever reason and you got sued for libel. They could sue me too?

    They could take my life savings. If the two of us wanted to make a political argument without having either of our life savings up for grabs, forming a limited liability corporation (or a limited liability partnership) is the way to do it.

  • Some dude||

    That is how I thought it worked. That is how it should work. A person is doing the speaking and that person is accountable. Limited liability allows a group of people to erect a straw man to do their speaking for them. If the straw man gets knocked down, so what? Sounds wonderful, but no actual persons are accountable, not even to their own conscience.

    Should a group of people be able to sign over their voting privileges to a voting pool? That way they won't have to think on election day. The corporate voting pool person casts all of their votes for them.

  • ||

    If, however, limited liability were revoked, and you gave some money in exchange for taking a share in a partnership with me, then, yes, they could sue you. If in any way you got ownership rights for your money, then, yes, you could be sued if not for limited liability.

  • j.i.am||

    I might settle for this deal. If the government doesn't tax and regulate corporations as if they are real persons, then they be prohibited from representing themselves in politics.

  • DJF||

    I have a better idea, lets strip corporations and their owners of all government granted privileges and see how many exist next year to actually get taxed. Once they no longer have government granted advantage over individuals and partnerships then they will be abandoned and there will be neither money to be taxed or to give to politicians

  • ||

    And you won't have any food on your table either.

  • DJF||

    So I only get food on my table because the government grants food corporations owners the right to limit their liability when they have harmed others?

    If limited liability is so great, why not give it to everyone? If I run into your car I can simply say that my corporation only has assets consisting of one wrecked car. Sorry you can’t touch my 5,000 Rolex or 1,000,000 house because that is not part of my transportation corporation.

  • ||

    I'll make a deal with you. End the jackpot justice system and eliminate punitive damages and I'll part with limited liability. I believe people who do harm should pay damages but the trial bar has made it to where judgements are way beyond the actual damages.

  • DJF||

    Once you get rid of the limited liability for the corporate owners then I bet that jackpot justice system will go away as well. Once the people who gave millions to the Clintons, Bush’s, McCain and Obama to get elected actually have their wealth on the line then I bet they will pull their puppets strings and get the legal system changed. But as long as they are protected they don’t care

  • ||

    Once you get rid of the limited liability for the corporate owners then I bet that jackpot justice system will go away as well. Once the people who gave millions to the Clintons, Bush’s, McCain and Obama to get elected actually have their wealth on the line then I bet they will pull their puppets strings and get the legal system changed.But as long as they are protected they don’t care

    Limited liability is better for the small shareholder. The truly rich, those who could "pull their puppets' strings," could afford to own things individually. You want to set up a world where only the very rich can afford to own a business, and where people of whatever wealth can't diversify their holdings.

    Now, perhaps you think things would be better if most corporations were run as extensions of their single owner (or family, or small partnerships), like with newspaper families or media giants like Rupert Murdoch, instead of being owned by a huge collection of shareholders. But let's be clear about what you want.

  • ||

    So what mom and pop operation made the computer you are posting with? What local co-op was formed to make your ISP? The car you drove to work? (or the bus/train/bicycle?) What individual cobbled together your cell phone? The next time you go to the hospital, made sure all the drugs and equipment they keep you alive with were crafted by folksy artisans.

    Divest yourself of all things made by the dread demon corporations and then get back to us.

  • DJF||

    So now you use the Utilitarian argument? Isn’t that the same one which all the big government types like Bush and Obama use to create government drug programs or universal health care or invade and occupy other countries

    You must also think that giving government employees limited and often full time freedom from liability is also good.

  • ||

    Still posting I see.

    And not understanding what utilitarianism means either.

    Cast out the demons, DJF! Reject their works!

  • DJF||

    Utilitarianism "the greatest good for the greatest number of people"

    Which is the same argument that is being used to push “Health Care Reform” and lots of other big government programs

  • ||

    If limited liability is so great, why not give it to everyone?

    Everyone can have it. It's incredibly easy for an individual to set up a C Corporation or S Corporation, and shareholders do have limited liability there. Most states allow single member C Corps, S Corps, and even LLCs.

    Certainly you have to do the accounting and justify why this is a separate operation. But the requirements aren't onerous if you're actually engaging in something like political agitation.

  • DJF||

    So its ok for me to create my limited liability transportation corporation and when I have an accident and run into your car I can claim that the only assets my transportation corporation has is a wrecked car and that all my other assets are in other corporations which are protected by my limited liability.

  • Retired Now A Consultant||

    Yup.

    Work half as hard, get 75% the money, pick my own jobs.

    But that's just me, I have 40 year experience and the clients are lining up...

  • ||

    I have a better idea, lets strip corporations and their owners of all government granted privileges and see how many exist next year to actually get taxed.

    What government granted privileges do you have in mind?

    Presumably, limited liability, am I right?

    How is a formal recognition that someone can't be held liable for the activities of an organization that they were not involved in and had no ability to control a "privilege" granted by government?

  • DJF||

    How are the people who have formed and organized a corporation not involved in that corporation? People who have created a limited liability corporation have gotten a privilege from government

  • T||

    Shareholders are rarely involved in the day to day operations of a corporation. If I loan you 20 bucks and you use it to buy a claw hammer and beat somebody to death, am I liable? No? Then why should shareholders be liable for corporate acts?

  • DJF||

    Because as stockowner you are not loaning $20, you are buying $20 of that corporation and with it $20 worth of control.

  • ||

    People who have created a limited liability corporation have gotten a privilege from government

    In the sense that people who sue that corporation are getting a privilege from government too, I suppose.

  • DJF||

    No, they are losing since their recovery from the lawsuit can be limited to less then what the actual damages are. The whole purpose of limited liability is to limit the stockowners liability. This does not limit the losses however so if real losses have occurred then either the person suing must make up the difference or someone else must do it.

  • ||

    How are the people who have formed and organized a corporation not involved in that corporation?

    The people who have the limited liability protection have no involvement in the day-to-day operation of the corporation.

    Whatever the corporation did to make it liable, they, as individuals, by definition, were not involved.

    Should someone who has no direct involvement in, no knowledge of, and no ability whatsoever to affect, the actions of a corporation be held liable for what it does? Under what principle of personal responsibility?

  • DJF||

    “””Under what principle of personal responsibility?””

    Under the concept that you own it either individually or through your voluntary collectivization with others in a corporation. Unless you are of the opinion that ownership is just a privilege and has no responsibilities with it. Which seems strange since in most free market belief ownership gives total power over the owned, the right to buy, sell, destroy or modify in anyway, yet some people want this power but not take responsibility for having that power over what they own.

    I must take responsibility for my acts, yet somehow the act of ownership if done via a corporation gives a free pass to the owners. Ownership is an act done by people, so people need to take responsibility for that act.

  • DJF||

    The stockowners were the ones who limited their day to day operations. They collectively can get involved in any decision they want, from firing and hiring the board of directors and management to deciding what will be on the lunch menu at the corporate picnic. Collectively they own it and can do whatever they want with that corporation. Laziness is not a legitimate excuse

  • Ryan M||

    My understanding of limitied liability is that your liability is limited to your investment in the corporation. If my share of ownership is $20, my liability should be limited to $20. Now, it's possible I misunderstand limited liability...

  • DJF||

    You are correct as far as I know

    However why should your liability for the corporation you in part own be limited to your investment. Your profits are not limited to $20. So why should your liabilities be limited?

  • ||

    If the government doesn't tax and regulate corporations as if they are real persons, then they be prohibited from representing themselves in politics speaking in public.

    C'mon, say what you mean.

  • Paul||

    Justice Scalia's acerbic tongue does not disappoint (pdf at 85):

    The dissent says that when the Framers "constitutionalized the right to free speech in the First Amendment, it was the free speech of individual Americans that they had in mind." That is no doubt true. All the provisions of the Bill of Rights set forth the rights of individual men and women -- not, for example, of trees or polar bears. But the individual person’s right to speak includes the right to speak in association with other individual persons." (Internal citation omitted; emphasis in original.)
  • DJF||

    “””But the individual person’s right to speak includes the right to speak in association with other individual persons." “””

    And I have no problem with people joining together to speak. I do have a problem with giving people government granted limited liability for what they do. If you want to formally join together with others then form a partnership. That way you are in the same status of liability as any individual. But why should someone who is part of a corporation get special liability protection that an individual does not

    Just like I am against government granted limited liability for the government and its employees I am against the mini-me of government, the corporation from getting limited liability for its fake personhood or its owners

  • Cliché Bandit||

    See my comment above...I believe this removes restrictions on partnerships and SPs too. RC would need to chime in as I do telecom not law.

    Work with me here!

  • ||

    I do have a problem with giving people government granted limited liability for what they do.

    You continue to insist that the government is the sole and exclusive source of limited liability.

    I posit, by contrast, that the people who benefit from limited liability are those who would not be held liable under any sane justice system.

  • DJF||

    If you can come up with limited liability without government then do so. You can’t do it through contract law since contract law only applies to those who have agreed to contracts and your relationship with people is not limited to only those you have contract with.

    Also limited liability is a false concept to begin with, since it is limiting damages to less then what damage actually occured and that is impossible. Once damage occurs all limited liability does is limit one group from paying the full damage, the rest of the damage still must be paid for so others who are not guilty of anything end up paying the damages. Just like debt, once a debt occurs there is no debt forgiveness, somebody has to pay, either the borrower, the lender or some third party. You have not limited anything, you just have transferred who must pay, usually to someone with no fault in the debt or the liability

    Government granted limited liability is an evil thing, its evil when government does it for itself and its employees and its evil when it is granted to others

  • ||

    Just like debt, once a debt occurs there is no debt forgiveness, somebody has to pay,

    Ah, "just like debt," huh? So you're against bankruptcy and would like a return to debtors' prisons? I'm sorry if I'm misreading you here.

  • DJF||

    Why should debtors get relieved of their debts by government command?

    As to prison, if we have prisons for someone stealing $100 out of your wallet why not for stealing a $100 by not paying a loan back? How is one stealing and the other not stealing?

  • SM||

    I just want to make clear, if you have a dispute over a bill with someone, and a court agrees with the other person, you should be sent to prison if you don't pay it?

    And if you get sick and can't pay a credit card bill, you should be sent to prison?

    How long do you stay in prison for each $100 you owe? Forever? Cause you STILL can't pay it back?

  • DJF||

    How long do you have to stay in prison after you pickpocket a $100 from someone?

  • SM||

    I'm not sure if this will link...new here....

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mens_rea - look up "mens rea" if that doesn't link...

    This is why your silliness is dismissed so easily...you can't cobble together a coherent worldview...

    ....you realize that you just turned freedom on its head, right? You trip and fall in front of a car, which then hits you, you should go to jail if you can't pay to repair the car... Your mother gets sick and can't pay a bill, she should go to jail...

    ...nice philosophy you got there...angry much?

  • Zeb||

    I don't think you understand what "limited liability" means. The liability of the shareholders is limited. The corporation is potentially liable for whatever damages it commits. But if the company goes bankrupt, the shareholders are not on the hook. This seems absolutely appropriate. It would not be a good thing for anyone if every holder of every mutual fund that owns some stock in Evil Corp. is on the hook for Evil's bad deeds.

  • DJF||

    But the shareholders as you call them are the owners and why should the owners have their liability limited for the corporation they own? If its “Evil Corporation” then the shareholders are “Evil Corporation owners”. They have ultimate power when it comes to that corporation, if they don’t want it to be “Evil Corporation” then its their responsibility to make it change it since they have the power to do so

    The fact that they are lazy and don’t want to and just want to collect their dividend is not a legitimate reason

  • ||

    Woo Hoo!

  • ||

    Jesus Christ, Chucky Schumer vows that they will pass legislation to reverse the ruling. I wasn't aware that the legislature could overrule the supreme court.

  • ||

    Chucky Schumer vows that they will pass legislation to reverse the ruling. I wasn't aware that the legislature could overrule the supreme court.

    They'll probably pass something that only applies to for-profits, or something like that, and then say that the law is more narrowly tailored and hope to peel off a Justice or two. The original law didn't consider large vs. small, profit vs. non-profit.

  • ||

    Note the very important caveat in this ruling: the prohibition of direct contributions. It eviscerates the practical impact of their ruling. Frequently, the individual corporation doesn't have the money, by itself, to make campaign ads. Only by aggregating its money with others can it mount an effective campaign. Very large corporations and national unions won't see any real limit to their activities, but small corporations are locked out.

  • anthony k.||

    Matt,
    Your excitement is pretty shortsighted here. This decision was handed down by the conservative block of the Court, and its primary result will be to strengthen the ability of companies to spend money on campaigns. This means corporations can now run commercials saying vote for X.

    This is not a victory for private speech or progressive in any real sense. It means congress will be even more captive to large corporate interests, effectively squelching the voices of the rest of the electorate. Look into Lessig's work at www.change-congress.org. today is hardly a great day for american democracy.

  • EscapedWestOfTheBigMuddy||

    Just in passing, and for DJF's benefit, I note that Public Citizen (for instance) is a corporation, and it's shareholders and contributors are protected by limited liability in the instance that, say, the organization could not pay it's legal bills.

    Would you really want to be joint and severally liable for those costs? How much support do you think they'd be able to muster if each every person who joined was as risk of being bankrupted by a bad decision on the organizations part? I ask because that would be entirely consistent with the definition of "personal responsibility" you are using here.

    The whole limited liability thing cuts both ways.

  • DJF||

    I think that the owners of Public Citizen should be just as liable as anyone else

    I don’t think that I as an individual should have special government issued liability protection and I don’t think that others should either, whether individually or in a group and no matter what that groups does or supports. And that certainly includes any government as well and in fact we should start by stripping government employees of their liability protections and the rest of the limited liability will collapse with it.

  • EscapedWestOfTheBigMuddy||

    Only by aggregating its money with others can it mount an effective campaign. Very large corporations and national unions won't see any real limit to their activities, but small corporations are locked out.

    That is trivial. There is no prohibition on a corporation giving money to another corporation to support some agenda.

    It is no big matter to set up a holding corporation that will run the adds with money contributed from multiple sources. Kinda like what people do when they contribute to a non-profit. You know, like Public Citizen to pick an example not really at random at all.

  • EscapedWestOfTheBigMuddy||

    When I asked about the liability status of non-profits, DJK said

    I think that the owners of Public Citizen should be just as liable as anyone else

    Fair enough. You're buying a very different world than the one we know and...er...know, but at least you're being consistent.

  • SM||

    Just found this site...

    ...love the ironic name.

    ...love even more you guys can't cobble together a coherent argument as to what you guys are for or against...keep trying to figure it out as you go along...

    ...so which is it? Limited liability or no? Corporations or no? Well? Quick...go see if Atlas has the answer...i'll wait here...

  • Global Exporters||

    stops involved blacks or Hispanics; only 10 percent involved white people.

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