Thursday, March 18, 2010

Supreme Court Ruling Useless

Counterpunch has a headline today calling attention to the ramifications of a recent Supreme Court ruling:

Some of the relevant verbage of the ruling reads:

2. Austin is overruled, and thus provides no basis for allowing the Government to limit corporate independent expenditures. Hence, §441b's restrictions on such expenditures are invalid and cannot be applied to Hillary. Given this conclusion, the part of McConnell that upheld BCRA §203’s extension of §441b’s restrictions on independent corporate expenditures is also overruled. Pp. 20–51.

(a) Although the First Amendment provides that "Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech," §441b's prohibition on corporate independent expenditures is an outright ban on speech, backed by criminal sanctions.

Quite frankly, I'm not so sure what they are so concerned about.

For years, organized crime, foreign governments and foreign nationals, and wealthy Americans have laundered and funneled money to political candidates that they want to win an election.

Let's give a "for example" of what I'm talking about.

A criminal organization wants to support Candidate X. It finds some individuals willing to play ball, gives each of them money. These individuals then donate the money directly to the candidate, or give it to political action committees, who in turn donate the money to Candidate X's campaign. By using more individuals and more PACS, more money can be funneled to the candidate. Depending on the particulars of the race, jurisdiction and sizes of the donations, many of the contributions might not be reportable.

Does this really happen? Absolutely!

Bush-43 had tens of millions of dollars for his Presidential bid, Obama had how many times more? The price to buy a US President just keeps going up and up -- it seems to outpace inflation! This Supreme Court ruling would not have changed that had it gone the other way; it may just mean that the owners of our Presidential candidates will be easier to spot, though in the case of foreign entity and organized crime sponsors, the money will still have to take a less direct route to the politician in question.

What interests me about this ruling is what follows the above-quoted passages:

Because speech is an essential mechanism of democracy — it is the means to hold officials accountable to the people — political speech must prevail against laws that would suppress it by design or inadvertence. Laws burdening such speech are subject to strict scrutiny, which requires the Government to prove that the restriction "furthers a compelling interest and is narrowly tailored to achieve that interest." WRTL, 551 U. S., at 464. This language provides a sufficient framework for protecting the interests in this case. Premised on mistrust of governmental power, the First Amendment stands against attempts to disfavor certain subjects or viewpoints or to distinguish among different speakers, which may be a means to control content.

Read the above passage a couple of times, slowly -- especially that last sentence.

Legally distinguishing among speakers, or disfavoring certain subjects or viewpoints, is exactly the opposite of what the First Amendment is supposed to protect us from, and this is based on a mistrust of governmental power!

There is no basis for the proposition that, in the political speech context, the Government may impose restrictions on certain disfavored speakers. Both history and logic lead to this conclusion.

Yet, that has been exactly the impact of government attempts to silence Sibel Edmonds. In the Sibel Edmonds case, foreign governments and foreign organized crime were giving bags of money (among other things) to government officials; a government that should be mistrusted, because it is comprised of corrupt officials, is damaging US national security for private gain, and the irony is that these same officials silenced Sibel Edmonds in the name of national security.

Among other things, how did the judges determine that State Secrets Privilege (later invoked a second time), which essentially prohibited Sibel Edmonds from talking about her case, was "narrowly tailored"?

Why did our judicial system fail to see something so big and so basic?

The problem is not our Constitution. The problem is our incompetent and corrupt government officials, and ourselves for letting them get away with it.

When the time comes for legal prosecutions of the corrupt and administrative sanctions against the incompetent, let's not forget that some of our judges need to be impeached for their treatment of the Sibel Edmonds case.

1 comment:

  1. The problem is not our Constitution. The problem is our incompetent and corrupt government officials, and ourselves for letting them get away with it...yet again u hit it out of the park!