Editorials and Opinion
Editorial: Ban corporation donations (News Leader [Staunton, VA], 02/19/10)
"Thank you, Supreme Court.
Bush v. Gore was just small potatoes, it turns out. This re-interpretation of the First Amendment disenfranchises living, breathing voters and for generations to come, hands the power of the ballot box over to these rich, newly minted corporate citizens."
Editorial: Who's paying for it? (Philadelphia Inquirer [PA], 02/18/10)
"A proposal that would make it easier to find out who is paying for political ads in federal elections is needed after the damage caused by a recent Supreme Court ruling.... There should be bipartisan support for their proposal. A new Washington Post-ABC News poll found that 85 percent of Democrats and 76 percent of Republicans oppose the Supreme Court's decision, and 72 percent of those polled favor new campaign-finance limits.
The court undermined decades of sensible election law, and the damage can't be easily undone. Greater transparency is the minimum required to start picking up the pieces of this harmful ruling."
The Implications of Citizens United (Daily Journal [CA] , 02/18/10)
Prof. Erwin Chemerinksy: "Chief Justice Roberts said that the Court should overrule the earlier decisions because they were "erroneous." But what made them erroneous was simply that a majority of the current Court disagreed with the prior rulings. During their confirmation hearings, John Roberts and Samuel Alito talked a great deal about "precedent" and "super precedent." It is clear now that was empty rhetoric. The Roberts Court obviously gives little weight to precedent, as evidenced last term by decisions overruling prior rulings...Citizens United should put to rest the constant conservative attack on judicial activism. By any measure, Citizens United was stunning in its judicial activism....Ultimately, the Court's decision in Citizens United must be understood as a desire by the five most conservative justices to advance the conservative agenda of giving more power and influence to corporations. It should leave little doubt as to who are the activists on the current Court."
Editorial: A Welcome, if Partial, Fix (New York Times, 02/17/10)
"[A] sensible way for voters to find out which businesses, or unions, are using their treasuries to promote which candidates.... has become absolutely necessary since the Supreme Court’s disastrous ruling last month in the case of Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission."
Roberts versus Roberts; Just how radical is the chief justice? (The New Republic, 02/17/10)
Jeffrey Rosen: "For the past few years, I’ve been giving Roberts the benefit of the doubt, hoping that he meant it when he talked about the importance of putting the bipartisan legitimacy of the Court above his own ideological agenda. But, while Roberts talked persuasively about conciliation, it now appears that he is unwilling to cede an inch to liberals in the most polarizing cases. If Roberts continues this approach, the Supreme Court may find itself on a collision course with the Obama administration--precipitating the first full-throttle confrontation between an economically progressive president and a narrow majority of conservative judicial activists since the New Deal."
Congress v. Citizens United; Our view: Plan for correcting high court ruling is a start, but more action is needed (Baltimore Sun, 02/15/10)
"The Supreme Court's ruling last month in the Citizens United case has only reinforced the public's growing distrust of the federal government. The point was reinforced last week with the release of a nonpartisan poll that showed voters oppose the court's ruling by a 2-1 margin.
That should come as no surprise. Americans favor free speech but are rightly skeptical of treating corporations like people -- as the conservative majority in the 5-4 Citizens United ruling insists the Constitution requires."
Supreme beings: After gutting campaign finance, the high court may go after the Commerce Clause (High Country News, 02/15/10)
Ray Ring: "it raises concerns that the Bold Five might overturn another huge precedent -- the federal government's use of the Constitution's Commerce Clause. That clause, which says the feds can regulate interstate commerce, has been stretched for centuries to become the basis for many federal laws, such as those covering guns, the environment, and worker and consumer protection....Libertarian and rightwing groups are arguing against the Commerce Clause in environmental cases in lower courts, hoping to push it to Roberts' Supreme Court."
Editorial: Another water war (Anniston Star [AL] , 02/13/10)
"It seemed like a minor change at the time, but the U.S. Supreme Court subsequently ruled that the Army Corps of Engineers had the authority to permit an Alaskan gold-mining company to dump 210,000 gallons of waste per day into a lake. The reasoning was it was "filling" the bottom and the Corps could issue fill permits....The Clean Water Act was further weakened when the Supreme Court took many smaller streams out from under its requirements because those streams were not navigable.... The report calls on U.S. senators and representatives from affected areas to support the Clean Water Restoration Act -- which, as the title suggests, is designed to restore the act to its original intent and federal protection to these streams.
Alabama's congressional delegation should support this much-needed act."
Fill the Bench Now: Now is the time for Obama to move on judicial nominations. (Slate.com, 02/05/10)
Doug Kendall: "President Obama's spirited response to Citizens United has usefully energized his base. So now let's direct that energy toward the confirmation of more Obama judges. Another reason to take heart: Last year's two major confirmation battles—over Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor and 7th Circuit Judge David Hamilton—provided important political victories to the administration."
Editorial: What Price Politics? (New York Times, 02/05/10)
"A binge of special interest money seems inevitable unless Congress acts quickly — before this year’s election — to repair the damage from the Supreme Court ruling that ended restraints on campaign spending by corporations and unions."
Our view: Campaign law; Alaska must move swiftly to require full disclosure (Anchorage Daily News [AK] , 02/04/10)
"The court's decision is disturbing for the simple reason that politics is not an abstract exercise or even a free-wheeling discussion around the kitchen table or the coffee pot at work. Effective political freedom of speech is not free, and those with the most money get the most speech with the longest reach. The court has further fortified corporate power and the strength of interest groups that have deep pockets and sometimes narrow agendas."
Editorial: Campaign finance laws need fixing (Muskegon Chronicle [MI] , 02/03/10)
"it appears that multinational corporations controlled by foreigners also will be able to wield influence in U.S. elections for the first time ever — at least legally."
Editorial: Talk about your activist judges! (Tahlequah Daily Pres [OK] , 02/03/10)
"At least five members of the U.S. Supreme Court have left no doubt that they, despite their own frequent criticism of robed colleagues who would make laws rather than interpret them, are intent on doing that very thing.... Chalk up another win for big money, and another loss for voters. And another piece of evidence that the Supreme Court – at least, in its present incarnation – doesn’t necessarily deserve the respect accorded it."
Editorial: Congress must fix high court decision (Gary Post-Tribune [IN], 02/02/10)
"What's worse than their cynicism, though, is the judicial activism of the justices. Not humble enough with the narrow question before them, they asked attorneys to re-argue a larger question -- that of the First Amendment rights of the personhood of corporations."
"Wordless Editorial" (Tucson Citizen [AZ] , 02/02/10)
Unique photo of Supreme Court Justices after corporate campaign finance ruling
Calling out Samuel ‘Not True’ Alito (Capital Times (WI), 02/02/10)
John Nichols, The Capital Times associate editor: "The conservative judicial activist, who has used his position on the high court to advance precisely the sort of agenda he promised to avoid, got caught because the television cameras happened to focus on Alito at the moment when he was acting out....His comment, like his testimony at his confirmation hearing in 2006, was deliberately dishonest."
GOP Senators Perfect Art of Stalling on Nominees (Politico, 02/02/10)
Nan Aron: "conservatives have long had the goal of packing the federal bench with ideological appointees. ... conservatives’ obstructionism is not a new obstacle in the judicial appointments process.... Senate Democrats must step up to the plate and call out Republicans on their strategy of slowing, stalling and stopping judicial nominations that do not pass ideological muster."
Editorial: Just what the court ordered: more money in politics (Vindicator [Youngstown, OH], 02/01/10)
"The court’s ruling in Citizens United demonstrates the absurdity of the common complaint by conservatives about “liberal activist judges.”
During their confirmation hearings Roberts and Alito were apparently only pretending to revere court precedents as the glue that gives the law stability. There was no need for them to reach back to overturn a 63-year-old law and two Supreme Court precedents in arriving at a decision in Citizens United. They chose to do so.
As a result, corporations, unions and special interest groups of every stripe can spend as much as they like to affect elections."
Thank you, Justice Alito: Justice Alito's candid response to Obama's rebuke (Washington Post, 02/01/10)
E.J. Dionne Jr. "The Supreme Court is now dominated by a highly politicized conservative majority intent on working its will, even if that means ignoring precedents and the wishes of the elected branches of government....The controversy also exposed the impressive capacity of the conservative judicial revolutionaries to live by double standards without apology.
The movement's legal theorists and politicians have spent more than four decades attacking alleged judicial abuses by liberals, cheering on the presidents who joined them in their assaults. But now, they are terribly offended that Obama has straightforwardly challenged the handiwork of their judicial comrades."
Our editorial: Court ruling boosts price of free speech (Quad City Times [IL,IA] , 02/01/10)
"By overruling McCain-Feingold and court precedents, the activist justices on this narrow 5-4 majority opened this corporate free-for-all with zero checks and balances.
That’s where Congress and state legislatures must step in. Immediately."
Editorial: Corporate 'personhood' undermines citizens' voices (Oneonta Daily Star [NY], 02/01/10)
"The recent Supreme Court decision on campaign financing has essentially allowed corporations to define themselves as American citizens...New York Sen. Charles Schumer should be lauded for taking steps toward opposing the court's decision, saying Democrats will introduce legislation within the next few weeks that would override the ruling."
Impeach Chief Justice John Roberts? Absolutely (Capital Times (WI), 02/01/10)
State Colmunist Bill Berry: "The Roberts court’s frightening 5-4 ruling that corporations and unions may spend freely from their treasuries to influence elections is a monumental decision, as in monumentally wrong."
High-Court Hypocrisy; Dick Durbin's got a good idea. (Newsweek, 02/01/10)
Jonathan Alter: "In a devastating decision, the high court cleared the way for one of those corporate takeovers you read about, only much bigger. If Exxon wants to spend $1 million (a bar tab for Big Oil) defeating an environmentalist running for city council, it can now do so.... instead of ruling narrowly, the Roberts Court—in a new standard for judicial hypocrisy—struck down the laws of 22 states and the federal government....Conservatives who bashed liberal judges for "legislating from the bench" and disrespecting precedent are now exposed as unprincipled poseurs....Today's Roberts Court Radicals don't believe in restraint, especially when it comes to themselves."
Editorial: Court ruling undermines individuals (Eagle [Bryan-College Station, TX], 01/31/10)
"The court's five most conservative justices gave their stamp of approval to allowing corporations and unions to spend freely on political candidates.... The next time you hear someone complain about judicial activism, remember Justices John Roberts, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Anton Scalia and Anthony M. Kennedy. They ignored everything that came before to issue a ruling that caters to their own political beliefs."
Obama, Alito Dis Each Other in Free Speech Brawl: Ann Woolner (Bloomberg News, 01/29/10)
Ann Woolner: "Conservatives define a judicial activist as a judge who legislates from the bench, who tosses out perfectly good laws simply because he doesn’t like them. That is exactly what the conservative wing of the court, plus swing voter Anthony Kennedy, did when it ruled in the election case last week.
The justices showed disdain, not the much-heralded deference, to elected lawmakers who held hearings and found facts and hammered away for years to fashion the law that five justices so cavalierly set aside. And the court did it even though no one asked it to.
Not content with the mundane task of answering a narrow question, the justices stretched to reverse practices that neither side had complained about.
And they threw out precedent, too, which they aren’t supposed to do so casually.
How much more activist can you get? This is the opposite of judicial restraint."
Editorial: Campaign spending limits should be a top priority for Congress (Daily News [Longview, WA], 01/29/10)
"Obama's characterization of the 5-4 ruling's potential for corrupting the political process is accurate, and his call for members of Congress to mitigate its damage to campaign finance law is entirely appropriate....The decision is a breathtaking example of judicial activism."