OK, so for those that don’t know, this recent Supreme Court decision essentially banned any kind of law limiting how or how much money, can be spent on elections. For the Supreme Court it boiled down to two principles: A) that money is considered speech, and B) that corporations are people, and they therefore have a right to freedom of speech.
How this translates in the real world is on clear display in the Michigan Republican Primary, where Mitt Romney is poised to outspend his rival Rick Santorum at a clip of 29 to 1. That’s right, while Romney and his supporters spend over a million dollars convincing Michigan Republicans to vote for his fraudulent record, Santorum’s camp will be spending around $40,000.
To make a point about how ridiculous this decision is, I raise the following objections:
1) If money is considered speech, then taxation of any kind abridges the First Amendment, and is therefore illegal. This means that all state and federal taxes, whether income, property, sales, or otherwise, are illegal. Or, if the court quibbles and says that money is speech only for corporations, unions, and other organizations, then any taxes on those institutions are illegal.
2) If money is considered speech, then some citizens have far more speech than others, which would seem to violate the concept that every citizen should be equal in the eyes of the law, and entitled to equal rights. I think the 14th Amendment says something to this effect. The last part of section 1 of that Amendment says in effect, that no citizen shall be denied equal protection under the law. Isn’t allowing the Koch brothers to buy elections a clear violation of equal protection, since the vast majority of American citizens are unable to do so?
3) Congress has the stated ability in the Constitution to regulate interstate commerce. Television, Newspaper, and other advertising should all fall under this umbrella; therefore, Congress has the right to regulate advertisements, and by extension, political advertising. IF NOT, this means that companies should have the right to falsely advertise, lie, and deceive the public about products they are selling.
4) If the Freedom of Speech can never be regulated, regardless of whether that regulation is intended serve the best interests of the public, then I can yell “fire” in a crowded theatre, scream at police officers, or say “bomb” as much as I want in an airport, without any repercussions. Moreover, employers should not be able to make decisions about employment based on my facebook or any other social media adventure I decide to embark upon. I should also be able to circulate propaganda and political literature at work, and anywhere else I so choose, again, without fear of any kind of repercussion.
5) If corporations are allowed to spend as much money as they want to influence elections, who decides what is in the best interest of the corporation, the board and CEO, or workers? I suspect it is the former, and if that is the case, hasn’t the speech now become that of an individual and not a corporation. Moreover, isn’t there a massive danger that the board and CEO are simply looking for a manipulation of law that would allow them to sell all their stock and destroy the corporation.
Anyway, I could go on, but you probably get the point. Please, this is really a non-partisan issue: we need a constitutional amendment to reverse this decision. Here are several sites you can go to, to get involved: