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Steve Cobble

Steve Cobble

Posted: January 21, 2010 11:27 AM

People = Corporations? Not.

What's Your Reaction:

We all know that people are not the same as corporations.

The Roberts Court does not. It's a bad day for democracy.

Go to www.freespeechforpeople.org if you want to fight back. There's a short video to share, featuring Congresswoman Donna Edwards and Law Professor Jamin Raskin, and there's more information on what this ruling means to real people.

The U.S. Supreme Court this morning took a big step away from the Constitution, away from one-person, one-vote, away from precedent, away from the original intent of the First Amendment, away from free speech for people.

How? By deciding that corporate speech is the equivalent of individual speech.
This is a horrible decision. It is horrible for the political system -- our elections will now be even more flooded by big corporate money. It is horrible for the legal system -- the right wing on the Court has once again shown, as they did in Bush v. Gore less than a decade ago, that it will not allow legal niceties to stand in the way of naked political grabs. It is horrible for progressives -- we will now have to spend even more of our time during the coming years trying to fend off the overwhelming power of big corporate money on our politics.

As he so often does, Justice Stevens called out the 5-4 majority for their rash and unjust act:

"The Court's ruling threatens to undermine the integrity of elected institutions across the Nation. The path it has taken to reach this outcome will, I fear, do damage to this institution."

Or: "It is gutting campaign finance laws across the country, as the Court, does today, that will be destabilizing."

Constitutional law professor and Maryland State Senator Jamin Raskin puts it this way on our web site: "This is a moment of high danger for democracy so we must act quickly to spell out in the Constitution what the people have always understood: that corporations do not enjoy the political and free speech rights that belong to the people of the United States."'

And U.S. Representative Donna Edwards (D, MD-4), a long-time campaign finance reform activist before winning election to Congress in 2008, suggests that given this unfair decision by the Court, for us to restore the First Amendment to its original meaning--protecting free speech for people -- may require us to fight for a Constitutional Amendment.

We have to fight back, and various grassroots organizations have been trying to get ready for what we expected to be an awful, unfair decision. Working with Voter Action, Public Citizen, and the Center for Corporate Policy, a small group of us will be pushing back against this decision, in particular the idea that free speech for people means unlimited spending for corporations. If you want to help us, go to www.freespeechforpeople.org to join our effort.