Thursday, March 11, 2010

Supremespeak To Be Normalized - Leahy

Dear [Dredd],

Today we begin the process of undoing the great harm done by a narrow majority on the U.S. Supreme Court in its recent Citizens United v. FEC decision. I just returned from our first Senate Judiciary Committee hearing focused specifically on how, in light of the Court's misguided decision, we can protect our political process from excessive corporate spending.

The Founding Fathers crafted a Constitution and adopted a Bill of Rights to guarantee the fundamental rights of the American people, not corporations. After all, corporations are different from individual citizens. They do not have the same rights, morals, or motivations. They cannot vote. They are legal constructs designed to conduct commerce, nothing more.

The differences between people and corporations are obvious, and they were not lost on the great Chief Justice John Marshall when he wrote in 1819 that, "A corporation is an artificial being ... the mere creature of law, it possesses only those properties which the charter of its creation confers upon it..."

When the conservative activist majority on the Supreme Court ruled that corporations have the same rights as individual citizens to spend as much as they like to influence the political process, they ran roughshod over longstanding precedent and effectively redrafted our well-established campaign finance laws.

At the core of the First Amendment is the right of individual citizens to speak and to be heard in the political process. But if the Supreme Court's recent decision goes unchecked, it would not take much corporate money, relatively speaking, to outspend every candidate for every political party at every level of American government.

When the Citizens United decision was handed down, I said that it was the most partisan decision since Bush v. Gore. As in Bush v. Gore, the conservative activists on the Supreme Court unnecessarily went beyond the proper judicial role to substitute their preferences for the law. But Citizens United is broader and more damaging, because rather than intervening to decide a single election, the Court intervened to affect all future elections.

In the coming weeks and months I will call on you to help enact specific legislation aimed at restoring our democratic process in the wake of the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision. Until then, please forward this email to your friends and family to continue building awareness about the grave implications of this wrongly decided case and the importance of closing the floodgates of corporate spending in American elections.

Thank you.


Patrick Leahy
U.S. Senator

P.S. Please encourage your friends and family to join our community by following the link below -- and I'll make sure they too know about specific advocacy opportunities in the near future, aimed at undoing the harm posed by the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision:


  1. Dredd,
    Well, let's hope they're more effective here than they've been thus far on healthcare or resisting MOMCOM's continued influence. I'm not holding my breath.

    By the way, I came across a footnoted article yesterday that puts forth the argument that the Salahi "gatecrasher" incident last November was actually a signal to Obama from MOMCOM that he was vulnerable to assasination if he didn't support continued troop escalations in Afghanistan. I found it to be pretty persuasive. I'll find it later and send the link via email.

  2. disaffected,

    Yes, lets hope they can carve up the effects of that decision.

    To the extent it was based on the constitution they can't do anything, because supremespeak cannot be undone by legislation, since they are the supremes as to what the constitution says.

    The Salahi story is wild. If they would do that they would do just about anything to dissidents ...

  3. Dredd,

    The fortunate thing for us "normal citizen" dissidents is that we fly so far below these guys' radar as to be merely laughable. Plus we serve a valuable service by fostering the illusion that we have an "alive and vigorous" democracy, when in fact that has been co-opted quite some time ago. And should we ever get too far out of hand, we can be discredited as crazy and/or possibly set up for political assassination, as John Bedell may very well have been last week.

    Here's another blog you might want to check out if you haven't already. Quite technically oriented at times (this guy is obviously MUCH smarter than I'll ever be) like your site, but always with the focus on connecting the technical details to the big picture. Might be the most informative site I've come across yet, and it has no detectable political axe to grind either! Much more focused on Peak Oil and Resource Depletion, but from an altogether more macro perspective than most of the "doomer" blogs I've visited.

  4. disaffected,

    Well said.

    For those who want to visit the blog disaffected mentioned, here is a live link.