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11:42 AM on 04/15/2010
By US Law corporations are defined as persons. As such how can free speech laws not apply?
old timer 37
Retired CEO, engineer
01:44 PM on 04/15/2010
The first statement is untrue.

Secondly... let the corporation speak for itself then, after a majority vote of its stockholders confirms it.... as it is a hired gun (the CEO) gets to voice his/her opinions through the megaphone of corporate money. Lest you say he/she represents the best interests of the corporation, or else be removed by an ever vigilant board of directors, look at all major corporations and you'll see that the majority of boards are controlled by the CEOs, and the stockholders are too unorganized to change the outcome until after disasters happen.

Get Real! What the Supreme Court has done is permit a handful of corporate executives to amplify their personal "free speech" with other people's money, most of which will be used as bribes to elect compliant politicians. What a deal... you get to control politics with other people's money, thanks to the Supreme Court! Wow! What a boneheaded bunch the right wing 5 are.

What's next: Corporations have the right to bear arms? ( In fact early corporations had this right, but with it went a 21 year term limit on corporate life.) Will corporations be allowed to terminate abortive products? Vote when they reach the age of 21? Will society be forced to put them on life-support and keep them going even when they're non-competitive. (Whoops! Seems our politicians have already answered that one.)
04:29 PM on 04/15/2010
I live neighorhood association. The association is itself a non profit corporation. If the memebrs of the association decided that they wanted to use their annual dues to run an ad supporting a cause why should they not be allowed to?
02:53 PM on 04/15/2010
There is a far stretch between the right to speak freely about the government without risk of retribution (the purpose of the 2nd amendment) and the right to influence elections as one might want (disproportionately weighted towards wealthy individuals and artificial entities).

This is precisely the stretch the court made. Say what you want about the decision, but it wasn't about speech. It was all about the money.
06:31 PM on 04/15/2010
There is a far stretch between the right to speak freely about the government without risk of retribution (the purpose of the 2nd amendment)

The prupose of the Second Amendment is "retribution"?

The reality:

1. This is in the "Declaration of Independence" -- and CONDEMNS your view:

[George III] has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.

2. The Bill of Rights was framed by the first Congress under the newly-ratified Constitution. This is the first draft of that which became the Second Amendment:

The right of the people [PLURAL, as in "We the people"; it isn't, "We the individual," or, "I the people"] to keep and bear arms [in the MILITIA], shall not be infringed; a well armed, and well regulated militia [NOT "individual"] being the best security of a free country [NOT "individual"]: but no person [INDIVIDUAL] religiously scrupulous of [AGAINST] bearing arms [in the MILITIA] shall be compelled [INVOLUNTARY] to render military service [in the MILITIA] in person.

That can be found in the DEBATES of those who WROTE the Bill of Rights, "Creating the Bill of Rights," Ed. by Helen E. Veit, et al., at 30.

3. That same theme is expressly stipulated in the Constution at Art. I., S. 8, C. 15:

The Congress shall have Power To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, [and] SUPPRESS INSURRECTIONS.
Type Today Post Tomorrow
10:35 AM on 04/15/2010
Bill Mahr said it best AMERICA is STUPID. The Republicans have always been for Corporate America and for some reason thinks Corporate America would actualy help their fellow Humans for the good of ALL. Of course the educated understand it's only about the Money for these corrupt companies no matter who they destroy to get it. And History just keeps repeating it's self and we do nothing about it, do to IGNORANCE AND lake of EDUCATION. Savings & Lone scandal-Enron-Berny MAdof-Med South-Fannie & Freddy Mac-AIG-Bank of America-Walmart and these are just the ones who have gotten caught LOL. Now we see the Tea party LOL Sara Palin LOL Beck-Rush-Hannity who actualy have an audiance WHAT!!!! These People straight out LIE over and over and over and these people don't see it WOW America is SAD... If the Repugs Lie their way back into office it would PROVE to me just how Ignorant this Country really is..................................
09:47 AM on 04/15/2010
The whole purposes of courts and judges is to re-establish justice when it is broken, emphathy thus is key. A priori for both sides, of course, lest a judge became partial.
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Born-again Jacobin. Robespierre had the right idea
09:04 AM on 04/15/2010
"Activist" is nothing more than code for "a judge I disagree with"
eschew obfuscation
10:33 AM on 04/15/2010
On another discussion board I once asked the question "what defines an activist judge?" I was kind of sorry I asked the question. But when the dust settled, your statement above is pretty much the conclusion one could come to.

An activist judge makes decisions YOU don't like or agree with.

Thanks for a well-written article.
02:54 PM on 04/15/2010
Perhaps. Or it could be more insidious, as in "not really a judge at all".
08:34 AM on 04/15/2010
A corporation is a legally created person that has some rights under the U.S. Constitution. As Stone pointed out, the conservative court favors the wealthy,i.e., the corporations, billionaires,etc., while a liberal supreme court helps the majority of the U.S. population; the minority of the population being the top 1-5% wealth holders in America. A 'liberal' court would benefit the entire nation and not just the financial elite, who are the puppet masters of the Republican Party. A good candidate for the U.S. Supreme Court would be Lani Guinier. Her appointment to the High Court would benefit the majority(poor, middle class, teapartiers, birthers, etc.), instead of the inclusive wealthy class of America.
10:52 AM on 04/15/2010
I've made nearly the exact same point

good point!!!
11:54 AM on 04/15/2010
Not all corproations are wealthy.
01:10 PM on 04/15/2010
True enough. As owner of a small corporation, I can tell you I have none of the power or influence and few of the tax breaks available to the big boys.
08:28 AM on 04/15/2010
Great piece. Thanks.
08:02 AM on 04/15/2010
Well, John Roberts and his cronies sure made up some law.

Talk about legislating from the bench!
07:30 AM on 04/15/2010
>>please explain:
1. Kelo v New London.
Kelo is a model of conservative judicial action: the majority decision was based squarely on the conservative judicial rule of deferring to legislative action where consistent with the Constitution. It is the very model of judicial restraint

2. Recall the Citizens' United petitioner was a small group of citizens who used corporate money to fund political speech. Not a big company (like, say, the New York Times).
Does a small group of citizens have a ceo devoted full time o its activities? Take a look at its web site, esp is about us page:
Looks like it's getting a lot of $$ from somewhere

3. Explain how ruling against a personal right to bear arms is consistent with favoring the little guy over big government.
Traditionally, the 2nd amendment has been considered by prior supreme courts as a collective right, not an individual right, until this court reread the la and Constitution
too much for so few words
08:25 AM on 04/15/2010
Kelo was not the model of judicial retraint it just didnt go as far as some wanted - invalidating AA all toguether and enshrining the protection agaisnt reverse discrimination (but it opened the door)

the issue with citizen united was not that they used the corporate money but that 1) they refused to disclose who paid for it 2)wheather it could be shown of PPV 30 days before an election. The court ignored the issue and expanded the case to they could invalidate the distinction between coprporate regulation and personal regualtion on electioneering

The personal right to bear arm is not in the second amendment - the court refused to read the malitia clause and ignored 200 years of precedent that restricted the reading of the 2nd amendment to the malitia clause
11:38 AM on 04/15/2010
Kelo was not affirmitive action is was emenient domain. In which the liberal members of the court sided against with the govenrment & corporations and against the private property owners.
09:19 AM on 04/15/2010
1. You're kidding, right? It's a "model of conservative judicial action" to assert that a state government has the right to use its eminent domain power to transfer property from a person to a privately held corporation? I guess it's "judicial restraint" in that it's a bunch of Justicies completely restraining themselves from stopping the State from stomping on citizens.

2. Yes, small groups of citizens have CEOs. Plenty of corporations are small. But in any case it's missing the point - the author asserted that liberals, unlike conservatives, favor the little guy over the big corporation or government interest. This is patently not the case. Justices from both sides wander all over the place.

3. If the 2nd is collective then it's the only collective right in the first 10. If it's limited by it's opening clause then it's the only one in the first 10 that is so limited. I find that unlikely.
Uncle Bill
Socratic method survivor
11:30 AM on 04/15/2010
As to your number 3, how do you read Amendments IX and X as anything but collective rights?
01:45 PM on 04/15/2010
@ number 3. You could argue that the whole bill of rights are collective in nature. Compare how they are written to how we treat them today. The first amendment starts with "congress shall make no law." It doesn't grant the freedom of speech to individuals but forbids the government from infringing on it. The same is true of the second amendment, "...the right to bear arms shall not be infringed." They are not upholding your right to do something so much as restraining the government from doing something. That seems pretty collective to me.

Oh and those "..." are more me paraphrasing that quoting, forgive me if I'm a word off.
06:20 AM on 04/15/2010
A corporation is a person? Tell me does it bleed when it gets a cut? Tell me does a corporation feel the pangs of sorrow, anger, hatred, love? Does a corporation need to ingest air to survive? Does a Corporation deficate or urinate? Does a corporation go to have its colon checked? Does a corporation enjoy the pleasure of sex? If the answer to these questions is no, then how in God's name can you call it a person?
11:55 AM on 04/15/2010
US law defines corporations as a person. Just as the US constitution once upon time did not define slaves as a whole persons. That injustice was thankfully corrected.
This micro-bio is literally a nano-bio on steroids
01:33 PM on 04/15/2010
Someone needs to charge a corporation with a crime and see what happens. Which state pen would they serve in? Men's or women's? Be kinda cool if Exxon Mobile got a jail house tat and was a$$ raped in the shower.
see biography
05:52 AM on 04/15/2010
“keep faith”

With what? The imprecise letter of interpretable law. Or, continuity of a community. For which purpose that constitution was commissioned.
I've always wanted to have everything I wanted
05:20 AM on 04/15/2010
Great article, The public has to be disabused of this 'judicial activist judge' business once and for all as it's been used against liberals. The most significant part of the article is when you refer to 'open-ended terms' such as 'freedom of speech, etc.

Conservatives has used the term 'original intent' to give weight to their own decisions over the ones by liberal judges as though only they know the Constitution. Bull.
04:01 AM on 04/15/2010
An excellent article, although I must confess to having little doubt that conservative judges are the ones making up the laws as well as subjecting the constitution to the most heinous misinterpretations. Applying the principles of the founding fathers, my ass.
06:27 AM on 04/15/2010
One might say that the activist liberal judges made judgments that heve stood the test of time and have made this a better democracy. It was liberal judges that declared Plessy vs Ferguson unconstitutional. It was liberal judges that rendered the momentous decision in Brown vs the Board of Education. It was liberal judges who have upheld the Amendments to the Constitution. It is Conservative judges who would hasten us back to pre Civil War days.
08:56 AM on 04/15/2010
Sigh. I guess even doing a tiny bit of research would be too much to ask?

Plessy v. Ferguson - decided 7-1 with 1 dissent. The lobe dissenter (Harlan) was a Republican appointee.

Brown v. Board - which is in fact the same case that overturned Plessy; your comment impleies these were two different events - was decided unanimously 9-0 by the Warren court. Chief Justice Warren was appointed by Eisenhower. The stars of the Court were Eisenhower and Roosevelt nominees.

As for pre-Civil War days, recall that the Voting Rights act was a piece of Republican legislation passed with almost no Democratic votes. The "Solid South" was in fact solid Democratic.

That doesn't mean the GOP doesn't have its share of morons - far from it. But the liberals are NOWHERE near pristine in this analysis.

Team Red, Team Blue. Both too busy flinging poo at each other to figure out reality.
Condemnation w/o investigation is hgt of ignorance
01:53 AM on 04/15/2010
In a healthy, fair and just society citizens are protected by the courts. Historically citizens of all stripes consumers, employees, prisoners have relied on the courts to redress their grievances against unfair business practices, abusive employers, malfunctioning products, etc... Yet in case after case individuals found themselves on the losing end because the Roberts Court decided people are secondary to behemoth corporate interests and private enterprise.

Justice Alito, in his own words, "Most recently, it has been an honor and source of personal satisfaction for me to serve in the office of the Solicitor General during President Reagan's administration and to help to advance legal positions in which I personally believe very strongly." Apparently they still apply today.

The exponential rise in corporate power has come at a huge cost to the people and social justice. Who will protect the American people if the Supreme Court won't?

It is because the absence of empathy explains

the exponential rise in corporate power. It has come at a huge cost to the people and social justice. The principles of freedom and fairness are the necessary components of Justice. IMHO
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01:16 AM on 04/15/2010
Anybody who agrees that corporations are not people will get my support.

I can compromise on many issue, but not that one.
The day We the People bring down Corporate America
01:24 AM on 04/15/2010
well said, preach on....
I connect the most dissimilar things
12:08 AM on 04/15/2010
"Conservative justice" is an oxymoron.