Today in Supreme Court History

Today in Supreme Court History: November 10, 1975


11/10/1975: Buckley v. Valeo argued.

Senator James Buckley

NEXT: The Justices Struggle To Remember Luther v. Borden

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    1. Those with money have more rights than the rest of us. L&E.

      1. No, they have the same rights. Like the man said, "la loi, dans un grand souci d'égalité, interdit aux riches comme aux pauvres de coucher sous les ponts, de mendier dans les rues et de voler du pain."

        1. I don’t know French but I assume this is the one about sleeping under bridges.

          1. O yes.

            (I occasionally try to encourage my American friends to remember that countries other than the US exist, and that they speak languages other than American that are worth learning.)

            1. I learned French in HS, it came in handy as I lived 20 miles from the border, and we'd vacation every summer at our family cottage on the Canadian shore of St. Claire. And the local clerks would all forget how to speak English when you needed help, even if they'd been chatting with each other in English until you drew their attention.

              Sadly, all I retain now is, "Je ne parle pas français."

            2. "countries other than the US exist, and that they speak languages other than American that are worth learning'

              Its good to be the king.

              Little countries have to learn our language, we don't have to learn their language.

              1. Except, increasingly, Spanish.

            3. "they speak languages other than American that are worth learning"
              Clearly not.

  1. Charles Koch funded both Valeo and the Bonta case that replaced it, as far as the standard for disclosure.

  2. Money in politics is completely over-rated.

    McAuliffe just out raised and outspent Youngkin. Lost

    Clinton out raised and outspent Trump by almost double. Lost.

    Truck driver in NJ spent $150 and beat the state senate president.

    Plenty of other examples.

    1. Just for the record, the truck driver spent $153.00 in the primary.
      He spent 5 or 6 thousand in the actual race.
      Leave the blatant lying to the democrats.

      1. "Leave the blatant lying to the democrats."

        F-you. I don't lie. Its what was reported, sorry if I don't research every update since the original reporting.

        1. This The Hill article reports Durr's statement exactly the way you did ("Durr, in contrast, claims that he has spent just $153 on his campaign, reported.") despite the fact that only said that in the headline. Neither the headline writer nor The Hill writer competently read the article:

      2. Dunno what the cost of the race was in 2021, but in 2017 $18.7 million was spent on it. $153 or $5 or 6 thousand are both basically zero, making Bob's point.

        1. ... The The Hill article linked above ups the reported spend to $24M. No, when I quoted $18.7 million I wasn't "blatantly lying" either.

    2. Since Buckley it's been issued-driven PAC's and similar outfits. They have a huge influence. Think of all the $ from the gun industry and how that's stopped enactment of laws that have the people's overwhelming support.

      1. "people's overwhelming support"

        Delusional. Reality is that gun rights have expanded almost everywhere, its people, not money, pushing the reforms to carry laws etc.

        Issue polls are trash, no exceptions. We have actual real world results that say gun rights, not gun grabbers, are popular.

      2. The left are so fond of astroturf themselves, that they can't imagine there are genuine popular movements opposed to themselves.

      3. Bob's right that money in politics is overrated.

        Guns are actually a good example it. It is absolutely true that the industry spends a ton on lobbying. But it's also true that the basic reason the politics of gun control looks the way it does isn't because of that money; it's because tons of gun owners, who vote, are activated on that issue.

        Where lobbying and money works best is behind the scenes. If you want to argue there's some warping effect of money, pick an obscure issue like whether there's some special visa program to let a few people in a weird industry into the country or some program to extend drug patents are something.

        But on issues people really care about, money is quite ineffective in the face of public opinion.

        1. "It is absolutely true that the industry spends a ton on lobbying."

          The problem here is that the industry spends that money (About $3.8M a year) through the National Shooting Sports Foundation. But anti-gunners pretend that all money spent in opposition to gun control is "the industry" lobbying, when most of it is lobbying by the owners through membership organizations like the NRA.

          1. The NRA is very much tied to the firearms industry, and maintains the fiction that it isn't. We just had evidence of it in this thread:

              1. This seems to be not so much irrelevant, as totally backwards.

                The gun control movement tends to claim that the NRA isn't a real membership organization representing the interests of a huge number of Americans, but instead a sort of sock puppet for the firearms industry.

                And, to defend that position, you muster evidence that the firearms industry is subservient to the NRA? Of course they are, an industry is nothing without customers, and the NRA has a lot of influence over gun owners. If Colt, for instance, starts sucking up to the gun control movement, (As they did for a few years.) the NRA can just tell it's members, and suddenly Colt's sales implode.

                The interests of gun owners and the industry are not remotely identical, but it's the owners calling the tune in this relationship, not the industry.

                1. The NRA is a real membership organization.

                  But it definitely and explicitly does the bidding of the firearms industry and promotes the interests of the industry in being able to sell weapons even when such interests are antithetical to the interests of its members.

                  1. And to prove this, you pointed to evidence of the firearms industry doing the bidding of the NRA, not the other way around. And apparently didn't even notice.

                    " to sell weapons even when such interests are antithetical to the interests of its members."

                    Do tell. The interests of its members as understood by gun controllers, I assume, and not the members themselves...

                    Go ahead, explain: Is the NRA defending selling guns that blow up in your hand, maybe, or misfire?

                    1. It isn't good for people to be marketed that guns are sexy and that they need to acquire arsenals to defend against the US government.

                      But it's great for gun companies, the NRA's real masters.

    3. "Money is the Mother's Milk of politics"
      -- Jesse Unruh

      1. Yes, it gets you started.

        Occasional truck drivers to the contrary, you do need to spend a certain sum of money but once you reach a moderate level, the rest is of minimum value.

        1. That's why the campaign finance laws were written the way they were, so that incumbents, with the added advantage of automatic news coverage and name recognition, would have enough resources, and challengers, lacking those, would not have enough money to make up for it.

          The campaign finance laws were primarily incumbent protection, and secondarily incumbent party protection, crafted to fatally starve third parties.

    4. Money can’t be that over rated because if it were Republicans wouldn’t be so opposed to campaign finance reform. The very fact that the GOP hates campaign finance reform with the fury of a thousand suns is a pretty good indication money does matter. Individual anecdotes to the contrary notwithstanding.

      1. Republicans are opposed to campaign finance deform because it has long since become just a backdoor approach to political censorship, assuming it was ever anything else. And Republicans know that they're unlikely to get to dictate who gets censored at this point. I doubt they'd be so virtuous if the shoe were on the other foot, but being the underdog makes you appreciate constitutional rights.

        You did follow the arguments during Citizens United, when the deputy AG actually argued before the Court that they could ban books, right?

        "JUSTICE ALITO: “You think that if -- if a book was published, a campaign biography that was the functional equivalent of express advocacy, that could be banned?” … MALCOLM L. STEWART, Deputy Solicitor General: “If the book contained the functional equivalent of express advocacy.”

        "CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS: “If it's a 500-page book, and at the end it says, and so vote for x, the government could ban that?” … MALCOLM L. STEWART, Deputy Solicitor General: “We could prohibit the publication of the book.”"

        "JUSTICE SOUTER: “To point out how far your argument would go, what if a labor union paid an author to write a book advocating the election of A or the defeat of B? And after the manuscript was prepared, they then went to a commercial publisher, and they go to Random House. Random House says, yes, we will publish that. . . . We’re talking about how far the Constitutional ban could go, and we’re talking about books.” … MALCOLM L. STEWART, Deputy Solicitor General: “The labor union's conduct would be prohibited. . . .and I think it would be constitutional to forbid the labor union to do that.”"

        So the AG shows up to repair the damage, but couldn't bear to reject censorship powers: "ELENA KAGAN, Solicitor General: “The government's answer has changed, Justice Ginsburg. . . .the government’s view is that although 441b does cover full-length books . . . the FEC has never applied 441b in that context.” … CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS: “We don't put our First Amendment rights in the hands of FEC bureaucrats; and if you say that you are not going to apply it to a book, what about a pamphlet?” GENERAL KAGAN: “I think a -- a pamphlet would be different. A pamphlet is pretty classic electioneering, so there is no attempt to say that 441 b only applies to video and not to print.”"

        Is it any wonder the Court decided to put on hob nailed boots, and stomp all over the notion that you could censor political speech if only money were involved in producing it?

        1. Right, everything is just a back door and a slippery slope.

          Republicans hate campaign finance reform because they know money makes a difference in a lot of races, and it’s not censorship if the same rules apply evenhandedly to both sides. I repeat, the conclusive proof that money matters is the lengths to which the GOP goes to keep money in it. If it made no difference, as Bob posits, you wouldn’t care.

          1. Overrated does not mean "no difference".

            Political parties of course do not want limits and restrictions.

          2. Or else a part of some anti-Bellmore conspiracy.

          3. Money makes a difference in a lot of races because it buys opportunities to be heard, and if you're not being heard you lose. But you're being heard because you bought 1st amendment stuff, speech and publishing.

            And, yes, it IS censorship even if in your imagination it's even handed.

  3. Anyone see this recent news?

    Scoop: FEC lets foreigners finance U.S. ballot fights

    The Federal Election Commission has ruled foreign donors can finance U.S. referendum campaigns, opening the door to foreign spending on fights over high-profile policy issues, Axios has learned.

    Remember when all the propagandists were pretending to be worried about FOREIGN INFLUENCE IN OUR ELECTIONS!!!

    1. I'd imagine they still would. It's easy to predict which side in American politics would benefit most. I don't imagine random European liberals would be very likely to send serious money to the US for US referendum campaigns.

      1. It's easy, but not for dimwits who think both Russia and China were all in for Trump because reasons.

      2. "It's easy to predict"
        Is it? The left said that the US be conciliatory towards Russia all of a sudden (unlike 2014, I suppose) because Trump was elected and yet we've nearly placed sanctions on close allies to oppose Russia. Funding liberal causes in the US would actually be a boon to Putin. His main argument for his excessive control of Russia is that the West is decadent and thus inherently anti-Russian and this is an extremely popular view. China has caught on and has ramped up the "anti-decadence" propagandizing to almost Cultural Revolution levels. Why should either of these big players give a shit about funding anything else? I don't think it helps enough on virtually any ballot issue that they would waste money on it. China's been getting out of the "influencing local governments" game recently and Russia doesn't really care about local governments outside of their immediate sphere. Pretending that the world is "us vs. them" on all issues is adorably tiny-state Europoor but the real world doesn't actually work that way.

        1. "Funding liberal causes in the US would actually be a boon to Putin."

          Why the future tense? It's already gotten him an administration that approves of Nord Stream 2.

          Trump was slammed for cozying up to Putin, but Biden handed him a greater gift by waiving sanctions on a gas pipeline that could destabilize Europe

          Objectively, Biden's policies have been much, much more favorable to Putin than Trump's were.

          1. Biden also pulled a big pipeline permit and banned new oil leases on federal land.

            Trump pushed fracking.

            Now Biden is begging OPEC to raise production.

  4. I was very pleased to have participated in the defeat of James Buckley

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