Monday, September 28, 2015

Citizens United Was NOT About Policy

by JASmius

It was about the United States Constitution.  About reinstating the First Amendment's protections against the abridgement of free speech, at the core of which is found political speech.  The Bipartisan Campaign Finance Reform Act Of 2002 was a flagrant example of "Congress making a law abridging the freedom of speech" by truncating political speech from the fundraising without which that speech cannot make itself heard by the voting public at large.  It was blatantly unconstitutional - by which is meant violating the clear text and intent of the First Amendment - and the SCOTUS majority did what is supposed to be its constitutional role: they applied the law and acted accordingly, as opposed to making up law and doing whatever the hell they please. (King v. Burwell and Obergefell v. Hodges come to mind).

In short, the First Amendment puts the "issue" of "campaign finance reform" beyond the realm of policymaking.  Congress may not make any law abridging freedom of speech, and that includes banning political fundraising and advertising.  Period.

But Americans don't understand the limited constitutional role of the United States Supreme Court or the founding document itself.  They see everything residing (or languishing) in the realm of politics and policy, and if you can gather up a big enough and sufficiently angry mob, you can accomplish just about anything.  And libs are nothing if not highly skilled at creating huge, angry mobs.

Which leads us to the following depressing poll results:

Americans may be sharply divided on other issues, but they are united in their view of the 2010 Supreme Court ruling that unleashed a torrent of political spending: They hate it.

In a new Bloomberg Politics national poll, 78% of those responding said the Citizens United ruling should be overturned, compared with 17% who called it a good decision.

i.e. Outcome-based jurisprudence.

“Wow. Wow. I'm stunned,” said David Strauss, a constitutional law professor who teaches at the University of Chicago. “What it suggests is that Citizens United has become a symbol for what people perceive to be a much larger problem, which is the undue influence of wealth in politics.”...

Of conservative wealth in politics.  In practical terms, Citizens United leveled the playing field, which had previously been a deck heavily stacked against the Right, while the other side wallowed naked in their oceans of filthy lucre from completely unfettered Big Labor machines and illegal foreign sugardaddies and the like.  CU allowed everybody into that pool, and playing fair isn't something the Left does.

Beats me why Professor Strauss is "stunned".  Give leftwingnuts five years to shriekingly demonize Santa Claus, and they could have the American people pounding the tables for the SCOTUS to ban Christmas.

Unhappiness with the 2010 decision cuts across demographic and partisan and ideological lines. Although the ruling was fashioned by the court’s conservative majority, Republicans oppose Citizens United 80% to 18%, according to the poll. Democrats oppose 83% to 13%, and independents, 71% to 22%. Among self-described liberals, conservatives, and moderates, 80% say the decision should be overturned.

Totally bass-ackwards, borne of an utter ignorance of the First Amendment, which should be the most well-known and well-understood paragraph in all seven Articles and all twenty-seven Amendments.  For all of you constitutionalists out there, this is the magnitude of the up-hill death-march struggle that lies in front of us.

“I would have assumed that by now there would have been a more partisan context to it,” said Trevor Potter, a Citizens United critic and former Federal Election Commission chairman who serves as president of the Campaign Legal Center in Washington. “This one is not seen in partisan context, just with overwhelming disapproval. The reason, I think, is that most people don’t think that corporations and unions have First Amendment rights.”

Which they do, because, yes, legally speaking, corporations and organizations ARE "persons," and always have been.

Democrat candidates are aiming to harness the hostility toward Citizens United in the 2016 presidential campaign. Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and Martin O'Malley all say they will insist that their Supreme Court nominees oppose Citizens United.

Unconstitutional litmus tests for self-proclaimed gatekeepers of constitutionality.  Naturally.  But let a conservative president impose such a litmus test for throwing out the unconstitutional (i.e. not in terms of policy preference, but of the Constitution not giving the federal government any jurisdiction over that issue) Roe v. Wade (or now Obergefell v. Hodges) decision and let the outraged caterwauling begin.

Harvard professor Lawrence Lessig is running a quixotic campaign based solely on his vow to reduce the influence of money in politics.

Of conservative money in politics.  Liberal money in politics is just fine because "that is the way of things".  Ditto eliminating any competition with and challenges to the Left.  Indeed, the very notion of "getting money out of politics" is a rank absurdity that is a practical impossibility.  It's like saying that gasoline needs to be gotten out of the motor sports business.  Ban campaign fundraising and you ban politics itself.  It is to essentially finish the socialization of politics, where only those already in power will have the resources to compete in political campaigns.  Outside challengers would be impoverished and screwed and highly disincentivized from ever mounting insurgent campaigns in the first place.

You want to talk outcomes?  Citizens United tore down the walls protecting the political elites from genuine threats to their power.  Now, supposedly, 80% of the public wants to rebuild those walls.

Makes you wonder if they realize just what it is they're demanding, doesn't it?

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