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Judging the Environment judicial nominations photo

A project tracking federal judicial nominations and courts.

Editorials and Opinion


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SENTINEL EDITORIAL: An activist Supreme Court opens the political money floodgates (Keene Sentinel [NH], 01/24/10)
"The 5-4 majority in this awful decision — most of whose members have in other contexts decried “activist” judges — said the First Amendment was unreasonably denied corporations, and it was only proper to to return it to them. Hogwash."

Our view: A bad day for our democracy (La Crosse Tribune [WI], 01/24/10)
"A ruling by the Supreme Court of the United States will open the floodgates for more corporate and union money in federal elections. By a predictable 5-4 margin, the court ruled in Citizens United v. the Federal Election Commission that corporations should be treated in the same way as individuals are treated when it comes to political speech."

Editorial: Supreme Court's blow to citizen democracy (Day [CT] , 01/23/10)
"The length to which the conservative justices went to provide money-rich corporations the means to overwhelm the political discussion was stunning....The court could and should have issued a narrow ruling ... Instead, it chose to eviscerate laws limiting special-interest influence in elections. The conservative justices, who have railed against judicial activism in prior writings and decisions, were guilty of exactly that. Legislating from the bench, they replaced the will of Congress with their own opinions on how elections should be run.... The court's eagerness to needlessly toss aside past decisions gives lie to Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr.'s testimony during his confirmation hearings that he would be loathe to overturn precedent."

Editorial: Money still tells tale of U.S. governance (Bakersfield Californian [CA], 01/23/10)
"It's been a sobering several days for Americans who believe that power should belong to the best qualified, not the highest bidder, the most effective fund-raiser, or the wealthiest. Last Thursday, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down longstanding limits on corporate political spending, effectively turning the 2010 campaign into a series of potential skirmishes between moneyed influence peddlers and rival moneyed influence peddlers."

Editorial: High court overreaches (St. Petersburg Times [FL] , 01/23/10)
"An activist U.S. Supreme Court overreached Thursday with its 5-4 opinion that lifted a decades-old ban on corporations directly spending money to support or oppose federal candidates. The decision opens the floodgates for big business (and labor unions) to swamp voters with misleading attack ads and drown out lesser funded voices — including those of the candidates."

Globe editorial: Corporations aren’t people, don’t merit special protections (Boston Globe, 01/23/10)
"the Supreme Court had a choice between protecting the influence of real individuals and maximizing the influence of abstract entities created by legal fiat. And five justices chose the latter."

Editorial: Money talks even louder  (Staten Island Advance [NY] , 01/23/10)
"he court, whose chief justice, John Roberts, promised would limit itself to “call[ing] balls and strikes,” went much further than this particular case. It essentially threw out all the regulations that have prevented corporations, unions and other wealthy and well-organized special-interest groups from having as much of an influence on campaigns as they’d like to."

Our views: Ruling on corporate campaign money hurts democracy (Florida Today, 01/23/10)
"Throwing away more than a century of legal precedent, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 Thursday the First Amendment allows corporations to spend unlimited amounts of cash to elect the candidates they favor and defeat the ones they oppose. The decision from its conservative majority mocks their purported belief in “judicial restraint,” not legislating from the bench and respecting legal precedent. Which, in this case, dates to 1907, when Congress reined in corporate titans of the Robber Baron era by banning corporate contributions to federal candidates, a move the high court repeatedly affirmed until Thursday."

Editorial: ‘We the people’ should rule (Chattanooga Times Free Press [TN] , 01/23/10)
"five justices of the United States Supreme Court have made a dangerous mistake by ruling that corporations may potentially spend millions of dollars in ways to influence the elections of our officials,... Ironically, this highly troubling and improper ruling, which dilutes the power of “we the people” and gives great power wrongly to corporations and unions, has been made by a 5-4 Supreme Court “conservative” majority! ... The astoundingly wrong decision by the five conservative Supreme Court justices is a terrible threat to “government of, by and for the people,” and allows improper concentration and exercise of power by organizations."

A partisan Supreme Court: The decision on campaign finance points to something more troubling than unlimited corporate contributions. (Los Angeles Times, 01/23/10)
Tim Rutten Op-Ed: "Supreme Court decision granting corporations the right to spend unrestricted amounts of money supporting or opposing candidates in federal elections is so strained in its reasoning and so removed from the realities of American life that it would be grotesquely comedic, were its implications not so dire. of the most distressing things about this decision -- considered in a sequence stretching back to Bush vs. Gore -- is that it demonstrates that this is a partisan court, willing to hand down sweeping decisions that ignore decades of jurisprudence based on five Republican votes."

Editorial: Big money wins (Rutland Herald [VT] , 01/23/10)
"he Citizens United decision is a gift from the Bush administration; it was made possible by the two conservative justices appointed to the court by President George W. Bush. The decision serves the same interests Bush served as president — giving greater weight to the power of money than to the well-being of the individual American. Obama can put himself at the head of a popular uprising against corporate abuses if he is willing to seize upon this ruling and challenge in a straightforward way the interests with which until now he has sought to find common ground."

Editorial: Big money wins (Times Argus [VT] , 01/23/10)
"The Citizens United decision is a gift from the Bush administration; it was made possible by the two conservative justices appointed to the court by President George W. Bush. The decision serves the same interests Bush served as president — giving greater weight to the power of money than to the well-being of the individual American."

Editorial: Saving democracy (Greensboro News & Record [NC], 01/23/10)
"Thursday's U.S. Supreme Court decision changes some of the rules for financing political campaigns in North Carolina and across the country, and probably not for the better. But the state can and should respond in ways that keep wealthy special interests honest."

Editorial: Court nixes wise limit on corporate money; Decision will unleash political spending by companies, unions. (Charlotte Observer [NC] , 01/22/10)
"The U.S. Supreme Court decision Thursday striking down restrictions on corporate spending in political campaigns was disappointing in its effect and astonishing in its was stunning because it represented the Supreme Court majority's enthusiasm for judicial activism. It expanded a narrowly-focused case to the broader question"

Citizens ruling: an intellectually dishonest power grab (Washington Post, 01/22/10)
Ruth Marcus: "In opening the floodgates for corporate money in election campaigns, the Supreme Court did not simply engage in a brazen power grab. It did so in an opinion stunning in its intellectual dishonesty....It was unnecessary for the court to go so far when there were several less-radical grounds available. It was audacious to seize the opportunity to overrule precedents when the parties had not pressed this issue and the lower courts not considered it. It was the height of activism to usurp the judgments of Congress and state legislatures about how best to prevent corruption of the political process.... As bad as the court's activism, though, was its shoddy scholarship."

Conservatives embrace judicial activism in campaign finance ruling: The Supreme Court's decision in favor of corporate spending in elections makes previous rhetoric laughable. (Los Angeles Times, 01/22/10)
Prof. Erwin Chemerinsky: "The Supreme Court's 5-4 decision holding that corporations and unions can spend unlimited amounts of money in election campaigns is a stunning example of judicial activism by its five most conservative justices. In striking down a federal statute and explicitly overturning prior decisions, the court has changed the nature of elections in the United States. At the same time, the conservative justices have demonstrated that decades of conservative criticism of judicial activism was nonsense. Conservative justices are happy to be activists when it serves their ideological agenda."

Editorial: Talk about judicial activism (Scranton Times-Tribune [PA], 01/22/10)
"A decision by the conservative majority of the Supreme Court, however, is a breathtaking exercise in judicial activism."

Editorial: Corporations don't need a louder voice; The Seattle Times editorial board opposes the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in the Citizens United case. (Seattle Times [WA] , 01/22/10)
"In removing the restraints on corporate check-writing, the Court's majority was not focusing on the real world, but on a theory. And it did not even get that right."

Pioneer Editorial: Ruling opens campaign floodgates (Bemidji Pioneer [MN], 01/22/10)
"Election law became more clouded on Thursday as the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that corporations and organizations can spend unlimited amounts of money on candidates in federal elections, making it hard to not pay attention to their positions."

Editorial: The 1st Amendment and corporate campaigning: Thursday's U.S. Supreme Court ruling that rolls back limits on corporate political spending could strengthen the hand of special interests. (Los Angeles Times, 01/22/10)
"the court took the unnecessary step of overruling a 1990 decision. This overreaching by the majority, including Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., belies Roberts' assurances to the Senate during his confirmation that he believed in judicial modesty and decision-making by consensus.... We say this even though we support -- and advocated -- the specific outcome in this case."

EDITORIAL: Court ruling turns elections into Wild West  (Fresno Bee [CA] , 01/22/10)
"The 5-4 majority applied the same First Amendment that individuals enjoy to corporations and labor unions."

Editorial: Company cash: Flooding into politics? (Charleston Gazette [WV] , 01/22/10)
four right-wing justices -- Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and John Roberts -- persuaded moderate Anthony Kennedy to join them in allowing corporate campaign cash, on the pretext that company spending is "free speech."

Editorial: A game changer: The high court's ruling on corporations and political spending is what quaintly used to be called legislating from the bench. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel [WI], 01/22/10)
"During confirmation hearings Chief Justice John Roberts indicated a reverence for precedent. That was then. On Thursday, Roberts, joining the four other conservative justices in a 5-4 vote, made it clear that this was simply an expedient."

Money talks. And buys votes in Congress (Atlanta Journal Constitution, 01/22/10)
Cynthia Tucker: "Lobbyists and their money have corrupted the American political process, legally buying members of Congress.... That trend will just grow worse with yesterday’s Supreme Court ruling."

Our view: Corporations free to speak over public voice (Town Talk [LA], 01/22/10)
"the U.S. Supreme Court has overturned 20 years of campaign finance regulations, unleashing corporations to wield unprecedented control over U.S. elections....Trust has just walked out the door."

Editorial: High court's gift to corporations is a terrible mistake (Capital Times (WI), 01/22/10)
"The decision by Chief Justice John Roberts and four other justices on Thursday to reject history and precedent in order to put a radical pro-corporate spin on the First Amendment throws into question rules designed to regulate even the worst campaign abuses by business interests."

Editorial: Our View: Court ruling a troubling turn (Norwich Bulletin [CT] , 01/22/10)
"The U.S. Supreme Court decision this week allowing corporations and unions to freely pump as much money as they want into political campaigns is a major step backward in efforts to curtail special interest influence on the political process."

Conservatives Forfeit High Ground On Activism: Citizens United Ruling Overturns Decades Of Precedent On Campaign Law (National Journal, 01/22/10)
Stuart Taylor, Jr.: "For decades conservatives have accused liberal Supreme Court majorities of judicial activism, by which I mean sweeping aside democratically adopted laws and deeply rooted societal traditions to impose their own policy preferences based on highly debatable interpretations of the Constitution's language and established meaning. On Thursday, the five more conservative justices -- and in particular Chief Justice John Roberts and Samuel Alito, who went well beyond anything they've said before -- forfeited whatever high ground they once held in the judicial activism debate."

Editorials: Corporations didn’t need more rights (Dayton Daily News [OH] , 01/22/10)
"The court resolutely set aside its alleged commitment to “judicial restraint.” Recent conservative nominees have insisted they believe in in deciding what’s necessary and at hand, not in reaching out; that they believe in deferring to legislatures where possible and to prior decisions. Chief Justice John Roberts likened himself to a mere “umpire.” But this is a redesign of the game."