Editorials and Opinion
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."
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: 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: 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."
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. ...one 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: 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."
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."
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."
Editorial: Government by the people, RIP (Detroit Free Press [MI] , 01/22/10)
"Astonishingly, five U.S. Supreme Court justices ... delusional premise has become the basis for a radical and dangerous reversal of judicial precedent."
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."
The U.S. Supreme Court strikes down campaign finance restrictions. What is your reaction to this decision? (The Hill, 01/22/10)
Thomas E. Mann, senior fellow of Governance Studies at the Brookings Institue: "It makes a mockery of Chief Justice Roberts’ pious statements during his confirmation hearing before Congress about his embrace of judicial modesty and constitutional avoidance. His concurring decision fashioned to answer this expected criticism strikes this reader as defensive and lame. This decision constitutes a dramatic change in law yet nothing has changed to produce it other than the composition of the Court. Sadly, deliberation on the Court is becoming as ideologically driven as that in Congress."
Editorial: The Supreme Court removes important limits on campaign finance (Washington Post, 01/22/10)
"making a mockery of some justices' pretensions to judicial restraint, the Supreme Court unnecessarily and wrongly ruled 5 to 4 that the constitutional guarantee of free speech means that corporations can spend unlimited sums to help elect favored candidates or defeat those they oppose."
Campaign finance ruling reflects Supreme Court's growing audacity (Washington Post, 01/22/10)
Michael Waldman: "deeply significant is what this shows about the court and its relationship to the Obama administration and Congress. ...The Citizens United decision suggests an assertive court, eager to overturn precedent, looming as a challenge to President Obama's agenda. ... he court boldly reached to consider a major constitutional case when it didn't have to. ... Health care, climate change, financial reregulation, the auto bailout -- all heighten government's role in the economy. The Citizens United ruling suggests the court may smile on even the most audacious conservative legal theories, such as those alleging that regulations are an improper taking by the government. And it shows an unsettling eagerness to overturn precedent in line with ideological predilection."
Reply to George Will (and a note on Justice Roberts) (Washington Post, 01/22/10)
E.J. Dionne: "I am pleased that George Will acknowledges that the Supreme Court’s decision Thursday on corporate campaign money is “radical” -- even if he pulls back from the full implications of that bracing word ... On Chief Justice John Roberts: Boy was he defensive about his judicial activism here. He wrote an entire concurring opinion (joined by Justice Samuel Alito) to explain that this was not judicial activism, that he really, really doesn’t like overturning precedent, but that he had no choice in this case. In his dissent, Stevens shredded the idea that the Court was justified in overturning precedent here."
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."
EDITORIAL: Campaign floodgates already open; The High Court’s campaign spending ruling is sweeping (Register Guard [OR], 01/22/10)
"notable is evidence of the court majority’s willingness to paint with broad legal strokes, reversing long-standing precedents and established law, pointing toward an era of conservative judicial activism.... the court’s majority clearly has staked a claim to an activist role. The decision shows neither reverence for precedent nor deference to the legislative branch of government. On Thursday, the court’s majority — perhaps sensing that one more appointment by President Obama would foreclose its opportunity — may have signaled a readiness to set restraint aside. Complaints about judicial activism, long a staple of conservative commentary, are likely to become muted as the court asserts its power for conservative purposes."
Editorial: Supreme Court opens floodgates of influence (Bakersfield Californian [CA], 01/22/10)
Justice John Paul Stevens, part of the majority in the two opinions that were overruled, had it right in his dissenting opinion Thursday. He called the opinion of the 5-4 majority "a rejection of the common sense of the American people, who have fought against the distinctive corrupting potential of corporate electioneering since the days of Theodore Roosevelt."
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."
How the Roberts Court Announced its Coup in September (Talking Points Memo, 01/22/10)
Jim Sleeper: "Citizens United was never about "freedom of speech." It was never about "censorship." Ever since it was taken up by the Roberts Court, it has always been about judicial radicals' determination to give corporations "rights" a free people should never give them."
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."