Thursday, March 25, 2010

Citizens United v. FEC

(Note: Old article I had planned on posting 3/25, but I do not know why I did not get any further than saving it as a draft. Anyway, whatever I was planning on adding I may get around to at some later time.)

I greatly enjoyed reading your post to Alan Grayson's page on Citizen's United v. FEC. Having heard so much from different writers I am finally getting to reading the transcript. Your arguments had significantly greater depth than others that I have read. In particular, I was very disappointed by the reaction of Lawrence Lessig whom I expect you are familiar with.

So it seems that the general argument is that we don't want quid pro quo elections, and law has many restrictions. It seems to stand out from your post that you believe that corporations are inherently evil, but even aside from that the McCain Feingold Act was not only much more sweeping, but make special partisan exceptions.

The legal question to me seemed to be whether the government had been prudent in narrowly addressing a systemic problem, or just banged at it with a hammer until they felt better about the issue without really considering the possible adverse side affects.

Whether or not you may have been in the minority of people that may have been interested in this film this isn't even a question of what they said but at the heart of whether or not they had a right to say it. And as if Theador Oleson's request for an open mind to adverse side effects, such as his mention that 97% of corporations are "mom and pop stores", the argument that "well what we really mean are the big money corporations" is exactly the point he tries to make. Follow that up with Elena Kagan affirmation of the censorship of little American business people, but that the big foreign owned media corporations effectively do whatever they want. Kagan demonstrated that the law, if upheld, would give the government the power to censor any and all political speech not done on a soap box.

This case didn't come down to a proper application of a good rule but an attack against specific speech someone didn't like, never mind it was big money opposition. And as you point out, there is nothing the court can do not. Clinton still lost, but that does not address that a group of people (like them or not) intended to purposefully express themselves as a meaningful time and place and were not allowed to. The manner in which the individuals to that assembly carried far too much weight in a way that really wasn't appropriate.

Personally, I love this case because to me it is a reminder of the wisdom that a bad law is NOT better than the absence of a good law. I think it is the law that was so overreaching in an attempt to address a great fear that it missed completely. Blame Congress for that, not the supreme court.

Don't worry, I know I stand alone in this belief, but since you seem to be very well read on the issue, I would be interested in your opinion of those aspects.

Thanks in advance for taking the time to respond if you do. If you don't have time or what not, thanks again anyway for your article.

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