Editorials and Opinion
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: 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: 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."
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."
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."
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: 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: 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: Campaigns up for sale (Boston Herald, 01/22/10)
"the court on a 5-4 vote overturned not simply a major section of the 2002 McCain-Feingold campaign finance law, but also a 63-year-old law.... In the interest of, as Chief Justice John Roberts put it, not restraining “the vibrant public discourse that is at the foundation of our democracy,” the court has thrown open the floodgates for special interests."
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."
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: 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: 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."
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."
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."
Editorial: Supreme Court favors corporations over voters (Advocate [Stamford-Norwalk, CT], 01/22/10)
"by elevating corporate influence to a shout, Thursday's 5-4 ruling diminishes the voice of average people to a relative whisper.
We disagree with the high court's prevailing opinion that injecting billions of big-business bucks into election campaigns represents democracy in action."
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: 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."
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."