Liberalism

Glenn Greenwald: "unconstitutional actions…can't be justified because of the allegedly good results they produce"

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I was all set to write a blog post drawing similarities to the liberal ends-justify-the-means laments for Citizens United v. FEC and the conservative ends-justify-the-means laments of various judicial checks on executive-branch power to detain whoever the hell indefinitely, but then Salon's Glenn Greenwald beat me to it. Forward this one to your liberal pals. Excerpt:

One of the central lessons of the Bush era should have been that illegal or unconstitutional actions—warrantless eavesdropping, torture, unilateral Presidential programs—can't be justified because of the allegedly good results they produce (Protecting us from the Terrorists).  The "rule of law" means we faithfully apply it in ways that produce outcomes we like and outcomes we don't like.  Denouncing court rulings because they invalidate laws one likes is what the Right often does (see how they reflexively and immediately protest every state court ruling invaliding opposite-sex-only marriage laws without bothering to even read about the binding precedents), and that behavior is irrational in the extreme.  If the Constitution or other laws bar the government action in question, then that's the end of the inquiry; whether those actions produce good results is really not germane.  Thus, those who want to object to the Court's ruling need to do so on First Amendment grounds.  Except to the extent that some constitutional rights give way to so-called "compelling state interests," that the Court's decision will produce "bad results" is not really an argument.

Whole thing here. Link courtesy of Ray Eckhart.

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  1. Foreign, non-uniformed combatants and terrorists making war on the United States do not have any “rights” under our Constitution. Nor should they. They can be held indefinitely, interrogated in an “enhanced” manner, etc. The Constitution is a document which protects the citizens of the US from its government, and sets up the rules of engagement between citizens and the government. It doesn’t create rights for non-citizens. At least, that’s my view and that of many conservative Americans. If I’m wrong, I’m sure someone will let me know.

    1. You’re wrong. Just letting you know.

      1. not just wrong, fabulously wrong.

        1. Super-duper extra wrong.

    2. Foreign, non-uniformed combatants and terrorists making war on the United States do not have any “rights” under our Constitution

      Foreign uniformed combatants have no rights under our Constitution either.

      1. Yes they do. The Constitution gives the President the right to sign treaties, the Senate the right to ratify them, and empowers treaties to the extent that they do not contradict the Constitution. The Constitution does not demand that foreign uniformed combatants have no rights, so it then enforces the treaty.

        1. Exactly John. Which is why I made the distinction. Thank you for clarifying.

      2. Re: John

    3. The Constitution does not “create rights” for anybody. It defines the authority of the U.S. government, and it does not give the government the power to imprison or torture anybody at the president’s whim. Sorry.

      1. It defines the authority of the U.S. government, and it does not give the government the power to imprison or torture anybody at the president’s whim. Sorry.

        That’s correct, but in the recent cases, Congress both authorized force and had knowledge and oversight of what the President was doing.

        As Greenwald said, one does have to bother to read precedents like Johnson v. Eisentrager. The Administration positions were not unreasonable under existing precedent, but the Supreme Court continued its (generally welcome) century long trend towards greater protection of aliens and foreigners.

        1. The comment I was replying to was discussing the nature of the Constitution. I am aware that Congress and the Courts routinely violate the Constitution. None of this means that the Constitution “creates” rights.

          Yeah, I know. I’m being a “purist”. I think of it as “consistent”.

    4. Re: Draco,

      Foreign, non-uniformed combatants and terrorists making war on the United States do not have any “rights” under our Constitution.

      The Constitution does not grant rights. These already exist – all individuals are born with inalienable rights.

      1. …And the Constitution tells the government to protect those rights. Which it is failing to do when it tortures human beings.

        1. People may have “rights” which precede government. Let’s grant that for that sake of argument. Now, those rights were routinely violated, by governments and individuals, for millennia. Our forebears were smart enough to form a state wherein the government would be explicitly restrained from violating our rights. All well and good. Lucky for us. Now, why do I give a rat’s ass if our government violates the “rights” of enemy combatants, if it’s in my interest that they do so?

          1. 1) Because, whatever choices they have made, enemy combatants are still human beings.

            2) Because someday it will be in the interest of someone with political influence to violate your rights. If the state can violate one person’s rights because it is convenient to do so, what’s the big deal about doing to someone else?

          2. Re: Draco,

            People may have “rights” which precede government. Let’s grant that for that sake of argument.

            It is a self-evident truth, Draco – no need to grant it for the sake of anything. Let’s take that you’re alive and reading these posts for the sake of argument … Ooops! You ARE living AND reading these posts already!

            Now, those rights were routinely violated, by governments and individuals, for millennia. Our forebears were smart enough to form a state wherein the government would be explicitly restrained from violating our rights. All well and good. Lucky for us. Now, why do I give a rat’s ass if our government violates the “rights” of enemy combatants, if it’s in my interest that they do so?

            A) I don’t see how one thing (the forefathers having the great sense to form a government that protected our rights) leads to your question.

            B) Doesn’t matter what you want – so-called “enemy combatants” have the same rights that you do, which are liberty, life and property.

            1. My point is that “rights” aren’t worth the paper they aren’t written on unless there is a mechanism to protect them with force. Hence my pointing to history, and the consistent violation of rights. Funny, isn’t it, how people have a “right” to property they’ve created or labored over, and yet other people can overlook this in such a facile way when expropriating them?

              In practice, we only have rights to life, liberty, and property because there is a forceful entity we set up, called government, that protects those rights (as an agency of our own force, which we could also use if it were sufficient or omnipresent — everyone’s got to sleep some time).

              When someone violates the rules of warfare between states (treaty signatories), and visits death and destruction upon innocents while wearing no uniform and employing terrorist means, they seal their fate, with me, and hopefully with my government. These people have forfeited any chance to have their “rights” protected.

              PS. I’ve been where you’re coming from guys. I’ve made all of the same arguments you’re making. Now, I’m testing those arguments. Bear with me.

              1. Re: Draco,

                My point is that “rights” aren’t worth the paper they aren’t written on unless there is a mechanism to protect them with force.

                No mechanism needed – got a gun?

                Hence my pointing to history, and the consistent violation of rights.

                As I pointed out, there is no connection between this fact and your subsequent question which basically asks “why would I give a shit about enemy combatants’ rights”?

                Funny, isn’t it, how people have a “right” to property they’ve created or labored over, and yet other people can overlook this in such a facile way when expropriating them?

                So? If your wallet gets stolen, does that mean you lose your right to possess a wallet?

                In practice, we only have rights to life, liberty, and property because there is a forceful entity we set up, called government, that protects those rights

                This is circular thinking, Draco – you’re saying we have rights because the government that purports to secure those rights secures those rights.

                When someone violates the rules of warfare between states (treaty signatories), and visits death and destruction upon innocents while wearing no uniform and employing terrorist means, they seal their fate, with me, and hopefully with my government

                Consider what you’re saying – would a person that wears a uniform be justified to bring dead and destruction upon innocents? Would these rules of warfare bring any consolation to the innocents on the receiving end of the howitzers and bombs?

                1. Guns are mechanisms, aren’t they? They’re certainly machines. 😛

                  1. “Mechanism” as in a scheme, Sean 😉

              2. When someone violates the rules of warfare between states (treaty signatories), and visits death and destruction upon innocents while wearing no uniform and employing terrorist means, they seal their fate, with me, and hopefully with my government. These people have forfeited any chance to have their “rights” protected.

                Here’s the problem:

                No member of the executive branch has any authority, as far as I am concerned, to make any determination that any particular individual not actually in the field fighting has done any of those things.

                None of those facts exist unless and until a court says they do. Or unless you are actually engaged in fighting someone in the field who is flagrente delecto.

                If George Bush or Barack Obama told me my ass was on fire I’d demand they get a judge and jury to certify it before I so much as looked down.

          3. Now, why do I give a rat’s ass if our government violates the “rights” of enemy combatants, if it’s in my interest that they do so?

            Because “your interests” do not define justice. Nevermind that Plato dealt with this 2400 years ago in The Republic; it should be obvious to you that any society in which individuals held their own interest over and above the rights of others is nothing but a loose assocation of sociopaths.

            1. it should be obvious to you that any society in which individuals held their own interest over and above the rights of others is nothing but a loose association of sociopaths

              Well, I think you just defined Congress perfectly but I’m not sure how that’s relevant…

            2. In case you didn’t notice, I’m not talking about within society. I haven’t suggested that rights don’t pertain within society — in fact, I’ve stated they’d been agreed to when forming the government. I’m talking about non-citizens bringing war upon that society.

              Also, who says that Soqrates won the argument, and Thrasymachus lost?

              1. Since when were non-citizens not a part of society?

    5. So you think our rights are granted to us by the government?

    6. According to the terms of Draco’s argument, if officers of a small-town police force want to seize a couple of British tourists without probable cause that they have permitted a crime, and then want to deny them access to a judge for a habeus corpus hearing, and then want to steal all the property they have brought with them on their trip, and then want to torture them to death, they are allowed to do each and every one of these things.

      Because the British tourists aren’t citizens, and therefore possess no due process rights, no habeus corpus rights, no 5th Amendment right to their property, no right to a jury trial, and no right to not be subjected to cruel and unusual treatment or punishment.

      Now he’ll say “That’s not what I mean!” but that’s exactly what his argument means. It can’t mean anything else.

      1. Are you really that dense, or are you pretending to be for the sake of argument? As Thacker pointed out early on in the threat, I’m not talking about cases where the actors in question are protected by other governments (with whom we may have treaties), as in your absurd example. I’m talking about non-uniformed enemy combatants and terrorists, who bring war against the US or its citizens.

        1. What if the people we suspect to be non-uniformed enemy combatants also happen to be citizens of countries with whom we have treaties?

          I call bullshit. The reason we give due process to foreigners is not because we have treaties with their home countries.

        2. You said that the Constitution does not create rights for non-citizens. You specifically claimed that the Constitution’s protections are for citizens ONLY.

          That would mean that they don’t apply to British tourists. If you actually meant it.

          I used my example to prove that you DON’T actually mean it.

          You’re already backing away from it now. See how that works?

          Now you’re arguing that we should provide Constitutional protections to some non-citizens, but only for the practical purpose of being nice to governments with which we are friendly or allied. But if we’re only granting those British tourists the rights in question as part of our practical foreign policy, then we aren’t actually granting them “Constitutional” protections, are we? You’re basically saying, “Yeah, sure, those British tourists don’t actually possess any rights we have to respect, but we’ll pretend that they do for the sake of maintaining friendly relations with their government.”

          1. First, see my post of 2:19pm, above.

            Second, yes, I’m positing that rights are nonsense on stilts — unless and until they are protected by force. We agree to empower a govt to protect certain rights, and we empower that govt to make deals with other govts to further our interests. And yes, maintaining friendly relations with their government, and how we’ll be treated when we visit there (not for the food, or for the women, but presumably for some reason), are a part of those interests.

            Fluffy, I’m making as naked and cynical a “positive” case for rights as I can. That is, there are no rights but what can be enforced. I’m explicitly laughing at (in this thread, anyway) the “but we’re all God’s creatures!” nonsense.

            1. OK, so now you AGREE that if a few small town cops abducted and tortured to death some British tourists, there wouldn’t be anything morally wrong with it?

              OK, great. Thanks for your contribution.

              1. No, that would violate the NIOFP, so it wouldn’t be moral (at least by that standard, which I think by and large is a very good standard).

                Note that terrorists not only violate the NIOFP, they laugh while doing so, and then tell you they’ll do it again tomorrow.

                So, your reductio ad absurdum has failed.

                1. Then we don’t share the same definition of what a right is.

                  To me, in a political context, a “right” is anything the denial of which would morally justify violence against the state.

                  Would the British tourists be morally justified in using violence against the police in question? If so, then some right of theirs is being violated.

  2. Hasn’t Glenn gotten the memo? “Bad results” = “results that we don’t like and makes us all mad and stuff.”

    It’s not really about what could happen, or even an objective reality for that matter, but how it makes us feel.

  3. Republicans wet the bed and burn the constitution when they see a brown man with a plane ticket.

    Democrats pee in their pants and shred the constitution when they see a white man with a checkbook.

    That seems to be the main difference between the parties.

  4. The Constitution is not a suicide pact.

    Right?

    1. Right.

    2. No. It’s a pregnancy pact. OH NOES

    3. But dumping the constitution may be a suicide pact.

    4. I don’t think we can ever be sure.

    5. If it has to be, it is. It doesn’t really matter, that’s concequentialism.

  5. Similarly, just because a law has bad results or is bad in itself does not mean it is unconstitutional.

    It was wrong to deny women suffrage, and yet it was not unconstitutional before 1920 ( Minor v. Happersett )

    It was wrong to exempt women but not men from the draft, and yet it was not unconstitutional ( Rostker v. Goldberg )

    It was wrong to exempt underage girls, but not underage boys, from prosecution for statutory rape, and yet it was not unconstitutional ( Michael M. v. Superior Court )

    1. It was wrong to deny women suffrage

      That’s your opinion, at this time in history. People don’t generally enshrine in laws (nor do they generally practice) that which they think of as “wrong” or “immoral.”

      It was wrong to exempt women but not men from the draft

      Ditto. In defense of the “wrong” that you identify here: It’s bad enough to force men to fight to defend the country; it just makes it worse to force women to do so as well. So, to me, it’s not a slam dunk that this is a “wrong” to be righted.

  6. the Government obviously can’t ban media figures from going on television and opining on elections

    Oh, Glenn.

    You’re cute when you’re angry!

    1. Glenn seemed less angry to me than bewildered. It was like he looked around, suddenly, and realized he was alone.

      1. It’s like being the only sane person in an insane asylum, or in other words it’s like being Ron Paul.

  7. Ah, nothing like some ideological purism in the morning. But isn’t this a matter of degree? If a single teensy violation of the Fourth Amendment saved 10 million lives, would Greenwald and Welch really object?

    Also, this argument coming from a leftist like Greenwald tends to grate on me, given that the left is not nearly so Constitutionally purist when it comes to the Second and Tenth Amendments, etc.

    1. Well, if that teesny violation is so terribly important, then the violator won’t mind being prosecuted for it. You know, for a good cause, saving millions of people and all that.

      1. That is what I always say. If you can really save 10 million lives by violating someone’s due process rights, then I hope your moral calculations would allow you to violate those rights. But that doesn’t mean we should scrap the whole thing.
        The problem with making policy about “enemy combattants” like this is that someone gets to define what that means. And as we have seen many times, definitions are very slippery in the hands of politicians. Remember when “weapons of mass destruction” actually meant something?

        1. Great…another “half libertarian” has snuck in here…now utilitarianism can be used to decide morality? Welcome to the welfare state…cause you know, they can just make a “moral calculation” that taking money from you can save 10 million starving poor people…unreal…do you need a link to the dailykos?

          1. I was writing of “edge cases,” as I specified in the reply below, which was there hours before you commented. I just distrust any philosophy taken to the nth degree. I take the Constitution seriously and don’t advocate pushing it’s limits for minor or domestic matters, but I’m generally of the “it’s not a suicide pact” camp when it comes to matters of war.

            And I’ve been posting here for about five years, IIRC. How about you?

        2. Well, everything gets defined by somebody. If someone claims “enemy combatant” includes some blogger, obviously I’d object. But if it means Al Qaeda terrorists, that’s OK with me.

    2. Also, this argument coming from a leftist like Greenwald tends to grate on me, given that the left is not nearly so Constitutionally purist when it comes to the Second and Tenth Amendments, etc.

      The argument tends to grate on me, because if you follow it too much you end up in the “the Civil War should never have been fought” rabbithole, etc. (Not that the CSA didn’t violate civil rights as much, perhaps more than the USA, but certainly torture, indefinite imprisonment, etc. were used by the US government as well as ignoring the Fourth Amendment.)

      1. The Civil War should never have been fought. Just saying.

    3. But isn’t this a matter of degree? If a single teensy violation of the Fourth Amendment saved 10 million lives, would Greenwald and Welch really object?

      I would – people cannot know the future.

      1. I would – people cannot know the future.

        This cannot be repeated enough. I wish the server squirrels had tripled Old Mexican’s post.

        1. I’ve said this about a thousand times to every utilitarian that slithers in here…

  8. I think Papaya is living proof of Greenwald’s main point.

    1. And Greenwald is living proof of mine: that rigid ideological purity leads to absurd conclusions in edge cases.

      1. It doesn’t, because as Old Mexican points out you’re talking about two completely different evaluations.

        If we’re at a moment in time where millions of deaths have already been averted, and we have available to us incontrovertible evidence that one “teensy weensy” search without probable cause saved all those lives, we could look back into the past and say, “Wow, I’m glad that happened. If I end up on that cop’s jury I’ll nullify so he gets off scot free.”

        But as we sit here now, thinking about what course of action to take in the future, we don’t have all the data points that a past tense example gives us. And we can never have them, in the future tense. Due process is partially a moral concept, and partially an epistemological one. [That is not surprising, since morality itself is at least 50% epistemological.] We cannot know that any particular 4th Amendment violation will be the one that saves millions of lives, or even that such an event will ever occur. Therefore, we should not violate the 4th Amendment, because while we’re still deciding to do so we can never possess the justification you’re advancing.

        1. Hey, routinely violating the 4th works for Jack Bauer. He saves millions of lives in a day. That’s good enough for me.

        2. If we’re at a moment in time where millions of deaths have already been averted, and we have available to us incontrovertible evidence that one “teensy weensy” search without probable cause saved all those lives, we could look back into the past and say, “Wow, I’m glad that happened. If I end up on that cop’s jury I’ll nullify so he gets off scot free.”

          Actually we don’t. We just know that there was a search without probable cause, and that we think if that search HADN’T happened, then there would have been millions of deaths. We couldn’t know for sure what would have happened if we didn’t search. For example, the guys in the UK with the Hydrogen Peroxide may or may not have been willing and able to blow up a plane or whatever the heck they were accused of plotting.

  9. It’s hard to argue with Greenwald, though I will say that the court can decide what cases to take. It not only hand picked this case, it decided to make it into a much more sweeping decision than it originally would have been. This was plainly the conservative end of the court reaching out specifically to hand corporations the freedom to engage in electioneering. Dress it up in the first amendment all you want–and I’m somewhat convinced by Greenwald but not totally–corporate control of government appears to have extended to the supreme court, and all else aside, that isn’t good.

    Put another way, this decision was the most nakedly “activist” one in recent memory. There was no great, long-lasting oppression here, there was a long history of prudent attempts to keep corporations from buying government (though, as Greenwald notes, it’s hard to imagine that it could get much worse than it already is).

    1. It is important to remember that just because a law has bad results or is bad in itself does not mean it is unconstitutional.

      It was wrong to deny women suffrage, and yet it was not unconstitutional before 1920 ( Minor v. Happersett )

      It was wrong to exempt women but not men from the draft, and yet it was not unconstitutional ( Rostker v. Goldberg )

      It was wrong to exempt underage girls, but not underage boys, from prosecution for statutory rape, and yet it was not unconstitutional ( Michael M. v. Superior Court )

    2. This was plainly the conservative end of the court reaching out specifically to hand corporations the freedom to engage in electioneering.

      Do you really believe this? Have you read any of the opinion?

    3. Yeah, striking down a blatant violation of the First Amendment is nakedly activist.

      There was no great, long-lasting oppression here

      Ah, so then we shouldn’t really be complaining about Gitmo then, should we? It’s not even a decade old. How long is it okay for the government to violate the Constitution before someone can speak up?

    4. Re: Tony,

      This was plainly the conservative end of the court reaching out specifically to hand corporations the freedom to engage in electioneering.

      Who cares? Was the rule unconstitutional, or not? The point Glen is trying to push is that it does not matter if a rule or law gives “good results”. If it violates (i.e. rapes) a constitutionally protected right, then the rule or law is unjust and unconstitutional. Period.

      Write better laws, or make sausages.

    5. there was a long history of prudent attempts to keep corporations from buying government

      HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!

      The last time I laughed that hard was when I read Mark Twain railing against the influence of corporate money in Washington.

    6. No oppression? Citizens United was prevented from airing their work due to an arbitrarily established time frame. It oppressed their right to political speech just as much as it would have done so if this were an independent film created by one person. The fact they were a corporation means very little. The work was created by free people peaceably assembled and therefore should not have been restricted. If you want to argue against the establishment of LLCs, go ahead, but their existence and special benefits is a different issue that has nothing to do with the right to political speech.

      1. Not only did it violate their right to free speech, the Citizen United case is the quintessential example of why the 1st Amendment exists to begin with! A critical piece on a well known politician (Hillary) was stifled DURING an election season!

        How much more blatant a violation could you get? Hillary used government to prevent someone from saying something negative about her during her goddamn primary election for a run at the presidency. Do you really need a better example of why McCain-Feingold needed to be struck down on not only unconstitutional, but completely and inordinately unethical grounds?

    7. This was plainly the conservative end of the court reaching out specifically to hand corporations the freedom to engage in electioneering.

      Election donations are one of the less efficient ways for a corporation to influence government. You either give money to both sides, or take a gamble. It makes more sense to wait until the cards are on the table and then lobby the newly (re)elected politician.

      Which is, sensibly, how things are done now. I don’t expect this to change much.

    8. Tony is so smart. I wish I was as smart as Tony.

  10. I is a sock puppet and I is promiscuis — anyone can use me.

  11. It was wrong to deny women suffrage,

    Good results, though. Comparatively tiny state, freakishly ugly presidents. Golden years.

    1. There is little doubt in my mind that we’d have much more individual liberty, and we’d have a far higher standard of living, if women hadn’t been granted suffrage. As hard as that is to conscience!

      This is one of the best examples, I think, for the debate between the relative value of principles and results. It’s hard to say women shouldn’t have a voice in electing our government; but it’s just as hard to ignore that they’ve made the country worse for all of us, men and women alike, by voting in the nanny-staters.

      1. There is little doubt in my mind that we’d have much more individual liberty, and we’d have a far higher standard of living, if women hadn’t been granted suffrage.

        That is true – women historically tend to vote in favor of expanding government.

        1. That is true – women historically tend to vote in favor of expanding government.

          Any reason why that is?

          1. I think the answer may lies within this observation: “I’ve heard it said that when a man and a woman marry, he hopes she won’t change, and she hopes he will.”

          2. Any reason why that is?

            Because women traditionally were not property owners, so they had a higher propensity to vote against the property of others instead of in favor of property rights.

            And I live in Santa Cruz – most of the envirowackoes are women, and they are the loudest crackpots ever to attend community meetings – so there.

          3. Women think with their heart and not with their head.

            /female

          4. Because many women (not my lovely and wonderful libertarian wife), want a “daddy” state (much like a nanny state)

          5. “Any reason why that is?”

            Because bitches ain’t shit but hoes and tricks.

            For more information, see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2_N3CK-6CHk

      2. Because women are interfering bitches, by and large. Not including me, of course 🙂

        1. Based on the politics of my neighborhood association, I’m inclined to agree with you. Of course, plenty of men are interfering bitches, too, but the percentage does trend higher among women.

        2. Banjos and Raven are both right – women are interfering bitches who vote based on what they “feel”.

          Not including me, of course.

          1. And only women who regulary read Reason are exceptions to this rule…god we really are bitches. Why do women hate women so much? I only have a handful of female friends and they all hate other women too.

            1. Why do women hate women so much?

              Understanding leads to loathing?

          2. Few people would be able to vote in SugarFreelandia, but their franchise would definitely not be based on the morphology of their genitalia.

            SugarFreelandia: If you are going to live in the broken dream of a megalomaniac, I ask you: why not mine?

            1. Mosty because I am afraid of the groping. Do you offer some sort of contract promising that you will not grope?

              1. There is no violation of self-ownership in SugarFreelandia that goes unpunished.

                Hands-free filthy talk is the worse you might encounter. And maybe a few naked Warty statues. But they will be clearly marked on all maps.

              2. Only if Sug doesn’t still insist on having Steve Smith be the Secretary of Rape. But, he seems to be dead-set on it.

                1. You misunderstand my platform: only his bones and pelt would hold office. His remains would serve in only a perfunctory sense, as a warning of the bad times now past.

                  1. A Libertarian Dictatorship, sounds very Heinleinesque, I’m game.

          3. Banjos and Raven are both right – women are interfering bitches who vote based on what they “feel”.

            Not including me, of course.

            Would it surprise you if a majority of women in Afghanistan supports the Taliban?

  12. What Glenn Greenwald forgets is that corporations are made out of an evil that is thousands of times more evil than the concentrated evil produced by all the evil-glands of all the evil terrorists in the world.

  13. Glenn Greenwald tries (operative word) to explain moral principles to liberals and conservatives.

  14. well, per answer #1 on this thread, that twaddlenock and his ilk are disqualified from talking at the adults’ table.

    TORTURE IS WRONG.

  15. Two facts about the issue:

    1) corporations have always had the right to express and fund political views via segregated fund contributions from employees and share holders

    2)Company treasuries are accrued and accumulate through state-sanctioned beneficial tax laws

    S.C. majority decision, 1990 RE campaign finance rules (Austin v. Michigan Chamber of Commerce):

    “We emphasize that the mere fact that corporations may accumulate large amounts of wealth is not sufficient for [regulation]; rather, the unique state-conferred corporate structure that facilitates the amassing of large treasuries warrants the limit on independent [campaign] expenditures”

    And what’s changed since then regarding the law and our constitution? – new SC appointees.

    text of 1990 ruling:

    http://www.law.stanford.edu/pu…..4us652.pdf

  16. And what’s changed since then regarding the law and our constitution?

    Nothing. The original ruling was wrong, in that it failed to apply the clear wording of the 1A.

    Look, one of these decisions has to be wrong. I nominate the one that is least consistent with words on the page.

  17. I liked the paragraph quoted, but not the article in general. There was too much about whether or not a corporation is a “person,” which doesn’t matter. The 1st amendment doesn’t use the word “person” at all, so whether or not a corporation is legally a person is irrelevant (plus, why does he use the quote marks?)

    Also, at the end he calls for public financing of campaigns, which is a horrible idea and also unconstitutional (because none of the enumerated powers have anything to do with paying for campaigns).

  18. I’m just glad a group of chinese business men can finally open up shop here, funnel in millions, and start buying results that benefit them…free speech is great!

    1. Good point. Before I ever go to vote, I sit down and do a lot of thorough research on the candidates. Specifically, I try to see how much money each one spent on their campaign. I would sure feel like an idiot if I didn’t vote for the one that spent more on ads!

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