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(Washington Post) NewsFlash US Supreme Court: The Constitution created a plutocracy, duh   (washingtonpost.com) divider line 815
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18213 clicks; posted to Main » on 02 Apr 2014 at 12:07 PM (51 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»


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2014-04-02 12:57:56 PM  

Teiritzamna: No.  Expending money in the furtherance of expressive conduct is part and parcel of that conduct.


So why can't I just outright bribe people? Shouldn't that be legal? It's just expending money in the furtherance of expressing my desire that the official I've targeted implement my stated goals.
 
2014-04-02 12:58:01 PM  

Teiritzamna: bglove25: Except that same liberal justice would have laughed at the reasoning of Citizen's United and would never have considered the idea of corporations having a free speech right. Accordingly, he may just have changed his ruling with that consideration (unlike our current idiot brigade).

I am honestly not sure about Brennan's reaction to CU, as his position was almost always the expansion of rights and CU is heavily based on Buckley as well. 

As to McCutcheon, I am glad Breyer actually got his shiat together for this dissent, it is a corker:

"What has this to do with corruption? It has everything to do with corruption. Corruption breaks the constitutionally necessary "chain of communication" between the people and their representatives. It derails the essential speech-to-government-action tie. Where enough money calls the tune, the general public will not be heard. Insofar as corruption cuts the link between political thought and political action, a free marketplace of political ideas loses its point." Slip Op. at 57 (J. Breyer, Dissent)


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Austin_v._Michigan_Chamber_of_Commerce

So, yeah, pretty sure he would have shiat all over CU.
 
2014-04-02 12:58:32 PM  

Son of Thunder: Shouldn't a court ruling on constitutionality be based only on "constitution sez so"?


Perhaps, but my question (which he was responding to) wasn't about constitutionalism. It was just a general political philosophy question.
 
2014-04-02 12:58:46 PM  

Mikey1969: d23: Mikey1969: Should be noted:

The decision did not affect the limit an individual may contribute to a specific candidate, currently $2,600.

You still can't contribute more than $2600 directly to a single candidate, this just means that you can give $2600 to as many separate candidates as you want. Still not cool, but not quite the "buy a politician" line people are acting like.

If you can't see why donating $2600 to several hundred candidates isn't a problem I don't know what to tell you.

Again, why should one be allowed to donate to candidates one can't vote for?

I'm always leery when someone replies to a post this quick. Usually means that they didn't actually read my post. I'm saying that the people who think this is removing contribution limits for single politicians are wrong. I highlighted, bolded, enlarged and underlined the part where I mentioned that this still isn't a cool decision.

Besides, the limit they removed was like $126,000 total anyway, that's a lot of politicians to begin with.


As noted in Breyer's dissent, the Parties can quite easily move money around to give any particular candidate they want more than $2 million from any single rich donor (who is now limited to the absolute $3.6 million dollar cap, as there is no one left to donate to after that amount). The entire point of the aggregate was to limit this ability.
 
2014-04-02 12:58:52 PM  

Son of Thunder: MattStafford: I love playing Devil's Advocate on these kinds of things, but I seriously have nothing.  Constitutionally, it makes sense, but trying to come up with a reason that this particular practice should be allowed outside of "constitution sez so" is a pretty tough task.

Shouldn't a court ruling on constitutionality be based only on "constitution sez so"?


Yes, but that's all the more reason for an amendment. That's how the Constitution's supposed to work.
 
2014-04-02 12:59:08 PM  

MattStafford: farm machine: 2.  Donate as much as you'd like but all donations enter a single pool and all candidates, regardless of party affiliation, can apply for funding.  The amount you're eligible for will depend on the position (Governor, Senator, President, County Clerk, etc.) you're running for and your opposition will receive a like amount.

I like this concept, but why even donate?  Just have the government fund it straightaway.  The only question is what requirements would have to be met to apply for funding, and will all applicants receive the same amount?  For example, if the Neo-Nazi candidate applied for funding, should we give him the same amount that Obama would receive?


Make them get so many signatures to be eligible for funding to limit it to serious candidates.  Then run them off until you get down to a few with each round seeing increased funding.
 
2014-04-02 12:59:13 PM  

Baz744: The issue isn't that campaign donations are "offensive." It is that they corrupt the process of government. Neither flag burning nor funeral protests nor Nazi parades do so.


He then goes on to address that while large money donations may be corrupting in the lay sense of the word, long standing precedent holds that the only corruption that can trump the first amendmnet is quid pro quo bribery.

I may disagree with that principle, but c'mon lets at least read the whole opinion before calling him a moron.
 
2014-04-02 12:59:37 PM  
And I always thought this would be
The land of milk and honey
Oh but I come to find out
That it's all hate and money
And there's a canopy of greed holding me down
 
2014-04-02 12:59:44 PM  

Serious Black: No Such Agency: Look.  If you don't like that some rich asshole can donate a million dollars to his favourite politician, get 999 other people together and pony up 1000 each to counteract him.  That's America.   Expecting the court to rule that your voice is worth more than his is futile.

They already have. Reynolds v. Sims. One man, one vote. Everyone's voice is equal in the political realm.


Only until the corporations and wealthy get it into their heads to fight for the right to have more than one vote based on their wealth (or gain the right to vote for those who work for them).  I mean, seriously, when you see decisions like this, does it seem so far from the realm of possibility that we are going to head that way?  Or worse, they demand that if a citizen makes below a set amount of money, they lose the franchise and their right to vote.
 
2014-04-02 12:59:48 PM  

AngryDragon: Hear that sound?

That's the sound of 535 people instantly and simultaneously achieving sexual release.  Cleanup in the aisle please!


The worrisome point of Congressional bribery isn't that the politicians are for sale. It's that they sell for so cheap.
 
2014-04-02 01:00:03 PM  

SphericalTime: We need a clear constitutional amendment, I guess.  Which groups are already working on this?  The ACLU?


Yes, we really need a clear constitutional amendment that limits our rights.  We haven't had one of those since Prohibition.
 
2014-04-02 01:00:06 PM  

DeaH: Contrabulous Flabtraption: I hate this ruling but it is technically correct (the best kind of correct.jpg). Our system isn't perfect and this is one of its baked-in flaws. But it IS what is right according to the Constitution.

Please point me to the exact place in the Constitution that says money is speech.


Show me where it says it is not.
 
2014-04-02 01:00:07 PM  

James!: That's one way to get rich people to plow their money back into the economy.


Time to buy stock in companies that design campaign commercials.
 
2014-04-02 01:00:16 PM  

Delta1212: NickelP: Delta1212: Well shiat

/on reflection and further reading, this is less dire than I originally thought
//Still, well shiat

That is just because people haven't come up with creative ideas to exploit it yet.  Look forward to groups with common interests that expressly donate together.  1 dude donating the max won't make someone flip their vote.  When a group donates to a large number and their issues comes up, saying 'hey we have 10,000 donors that will either donate to you or your next opponent.  Why don't you sit the fark down and listen to what we'd like you to do for a second' goes a long long way.

Yes, but isn't that basically called a SuperPAC?


No, they can't donate directly to candidates.  Its pretty helpful to have a superpac say 'hey we are going to run 100 mil in adds against your opponent'.  Its really farking helpful to have some group say 'you got a pen, you vote right on this you get a 100 mil check'
 
2014-04-02 01:00:16 PM  

Teiritzamna: He then goes on to address that while large money donations may be corrupting in the lay sense of the word, long standing precedent holds that the only corruption that can trump the first amendmnet is quid pro quo bribery.


Wasn't his "long standing precedent" his own decision from 4 years ago? What else was there?
 
2014-04-02 01:00:33 PM  

DamnYankees: I would probably make a rule saying something like "if you're polling above X% within 12 months of the election, you get Y dollars, and then if you're polling above Z% within 4 months of the election, you get another Y dollars." Something like that.


I could go with something like that.  If you're on the ballot, you get one million dollars/month.  If you're polling above 0%, you get 10 million dollars/month.  If you're polling about 25% you get 20 million dollars a month.  Amounts and levels subject to change, of course.

I also like this approach as it puts a limit on a campaigns spending, therefore the administration has to work with a strict budget, and working with a strict budget really gets me going, if you know what I mean.
 
2014-04-02 01:00:38 PM  

Son of Thunder: MattStafford: I love playing Devil's Advocate on these kinds of things, but I seriously have nothing.  Constitutionally, it makes sense, but trying to come up with a reason that this particular practice should be allowed outside of "constitution sez so" is a pretty tough task.

Shouldn't a court ruling on constitutionality be based only on "constitution sez so"?


The SC has always held that rights are not absolute.  (You can't yell fire in a crowded theater)  Bribing elected officials is an interesting place to draw the line.
 
2014-04-02 01:01:27 PM  
You would think Soros, Bloomberg, the unions, etc., would be happy about this.
 
2014-04-02 01:01:36 PM  

MattStafford: I like this concept, but why even donate? Just have the government fund it straightaway. The only question is what requirements would have to be met to apply for funding, and will all applicants receive the same amount? For example, if the Neo-Nazi candidate applied for funding, should we give him the same amount that Obama would receive?


If the Neo-Nazi candidate can satisfy all the requirements to get on the ballot then yes, they receive the same amount as the other candidates running for that office.  We don't have to agree with their ideology or platform but they have just as much right to be on the ticket as any other candidate.  We also need to make changes to eliminate the barriers to entry that the Republicans and Democrats have crafted over the years to prevent lesser parties from entering the race.  The two party system clearly doesn't work and bi-partisanship only comes into play when it involves politicians protecting what they have created.
 
2014-04-02 01:01:43 PM  

bglove25: So, yeah, pretty sure he would have shiat all over CU.



Fair enough - forgot about his concurrence in Austin.

Man I miss Brennan.
 
2014-04-02 01:02:13 PM  

d23: I don't think that means that you should allow the rich to buy theoretical bullhorns to drown out everyone else's voice, however. Big money lobbying came of age in 1980, and I don't think any founding father or politician before that date had any inkling that money would band together in such a way that a single constituent no longer mattered AT ALL.


Go take a look at how the Senate used to work, then look at why it was organized this way.
 
2014-04-02 01:02:20 PM  

DamnYankees: Wasn't his "long standing precedent" his own decision from 4 years ago? What else was there?


Buckley v. Valeo - 1976.
 
2014-04-02 01:02:24 PM  
Nobody in this thread matters at all.

Not my decision, just pointing it out the obvious consequence
 
2014-04-02 01:02:26 PM  

Son of Thunder: Shouldn't a court ruling on constitutionality be based only on "constitution sez so"?


I'm not disagreeing with the court ruling - I think it makes sense.  I'm just trying to think of a way the republicans would sell this to their base as a "good" ruling for them.
 
2014-04-02 01:02:27 PM  

rvesco: SphericalTime: We need a clear constitutional amendment, I guess.  Which groups are already working on this?  The ACLU?

Yes, we really need a clear constitutional amendment that limits our rights.  We haven't had one of those since Prohibition.


How about the Defense of Marriage Act?
 
2014-04-02 01:02:38 PM  

farm machine: MattStafford: I like this concept, but why even donate? Just have the government fund it straightaway. The only question is what requirements would have to be met to apply for funding, and will all applicants receive the same amount? For example, if the Neo-Nazi candidate applied for funding, should we give him the same amount that Obama would receive?

If the Neo-Nazi candidate can satisfy all the requirements to get on the ballot then yes, they receive the same amount as the other candidates running for that office.  We don't have to agree with their ideology or platform but they have just as much right to be on the ticket as any other candidate.  We also need to make changes to eliminate the barriers to entry that the Republicans and Democrats have crafted over the years to prevent lesser parties from entering the race.  The two party system clearly doesn't work and bi-partisanship only comes into play when it involves politicians protecting what they have created.


^This.
 
2014-04-02 01:02:50 PM  
How is the action of allowing $2,600 contributions to any and all candidates not ultimately going to lead to some political organization, say the RNC, claiming they represent 50,000 candidates and if you may donate 130 million dollars of which they'll be sure to divvy it up equally (wink wink), right?
 
2014-04-02 01:02:50 PM  

zedster: Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts: 'We have made clear that Congress may not regulate campaign contributions to protect against corruption'


I've searched the entire opinion for that phrase and cannot seem to find it.  Can anyone point it out to me?
 
2014-04-02 01:02:58 PM  

serial_crusher: Maybe we should all agree as a society to do diligent research into the candidates and their positions, and not let flashy TV commercials control our opinions.  Yeah, that sure would be swell.

/ A man can dream can't he?  A man can dream...


No no no, you're not getting it. Everything bad that happens is always someone else's fault. How dare you hold any of us responsible for our own voting decisions. Just let us watch Fox/MSNBC and vote based off 10 second sound bytes like we always have. If that happens to go wrong, it MUST someone else must be to blame. Corporations, lobbying groups, SCOTUS, etc. Doesn't matter. Just as long as you understand that our own actions never have consequences.
 
2014-04-02 01:02:58 PM  

Warlordtrooper: The SC has always held that rights are not absolute.  (You can't yell fire in a crowded theater)  Bribing elected officials is an interesting place to draw the line.


But why there? Isn't line-drawing sort of the purpose of the legislature, and not courts?
 
2014-04-02 01:03:01 PM  

farm machine: If the Neo-Nazi candidate can satisfy all the requirements to get on the ballot then yes, they receive the same amount as the other candidates running for that office


So my money would be supporting a nazi? Brilliant.
 
2014-04-02 01:03:32 PM  
i2.cdn.turner.com
 
2014-04-02 01:03:50 PM  

Road Rash: You would think Soros, Bloomberg, the unions, etc., would be happy about this.


Not being statist assholes, probably not.

The Koch brothers and that fat rich jew in a wheelchair that owns the Venetian sure are though.
 
2014-04-02 01:04:01 PM  
This thread moves fast.  I'll use big font.

There is no government system ever conceived where the rich don't have more power than everyone else. It's impossible, since money is power.  Why are we shocked, shocked that this is the case?
 
2014-04-02 01:04:03 PM  

Teiritzamna: The First Amendment is a negative right - a restriction against government meddling in speech.  Thus it could be (and has been) argued that the first amendment doesn't mandate any fairness with regard to the effectiveness of expression.  We are not all made to talk as softly as the quietest man, nor dance as poorly as the most uncoordinated.


I tried to think of a counterargument, but I got a sudden headache.
 
2014-04-02 01:04:13 PM  
I've worked in State Government and Federal Government as an employee, contractor, and member of the military.

At each level I have been given strict ethics classes and training saying that I cannot accept any kind of monetary value over a certain dollar amount in my position.  Accepting any gifts or donations in this manner would be construed as possible graft, bribery or corruption.

Why are candidates for office different?
 
2014-04-02 01:04:17 PM  

MattStafford: DamnYankees: I would probably make a rule saying something like "if you're polling above X% within 12 months of the election, you get Y dollars, and then if you're polling above Z% within 4 months of the election, you get another Y dollars." Something like that.

I could go with something like that.  If you're on the ballot, you get one million dollars/month.  If you're polling above 0%, you get 10 million dollars/month.  If you're polling about 25% you get 20 million dollars a month.  Amounts and levels subject to change, of course.

I also like this approach as it puts a limit on a campaigns spending, therefore the administration has to work with a strict budget, and working with a strict budget really gets me going, if you know what I mean.


I don't know, I don't think tiering would work right as it would still favor big candidates substancially.  You need some cutoff so we don't have a billion people running and wasting millions, but if you can poll above say 1% I am cool with you getting the same as someone polling at 70%.  I want to hear minority views.  I think it would overall be very helpful.
 
2014-04-02 01:04:29 PM  

DamnYankees: So why can't I just outright bribe people? Shouldn't that be legal? It's just expending money in the furtherance of expressing my desire that the official I've targeted implement my stated goals.


As noted, preventing bribery is pretty much the one thing that the Supreme Court has held precludes the right to use money for expressive purposes (well other than other illegal expressive acts, such as artistic robbery and the like).  Unfortunately, that pretty much washes out the soft corruption that is left over when direct bribery is taken off the table.
 
2014-04-02 01:04:32 PM  
I find the elimination of the aggregate cap logical given current law. As long as donors observe the individual cap, there's no reason they should be limited as to how many candidates to whom they may donate.

That being said, money isn't speech. Donating money to a candidate is commerce, for the expectation is that a sum of money tendered to that candidate will result in the provision of certain services. It is absolutely quid pro quo on its face. Example: I donate to candidate X because he will propone/sign legislation that will increase funding for scientific research. Such legislation is a service I expect for the money I pay. My vote is simply the endorsement of that candidate for that office, that is, speech in their favor.

Votes are speech. Money is not. SCOTUS needs to pull its head out of its arse.
 
2014-04-02 01:04:53 PM  

sendtodave: There is no government system ever conceived where the rich don't have more power than everyone else. It's impossible, since money is power.  Why are we shocked, shocked that this is the case?


I don't think anyone is shocked. Why are you pretending people are shocked? Just to feel smug?
 
2014-04-02 01:05:47 PM  

Teiritzamna: DamnYankees: So why can't I just outright bribe people? Shouldn't that be legal? It's just expending money in the furtherance of expressing my desire that the official I've targeted implement my stated goals.

As noted, preventing bribery is pretty much the one thing that the Supreme Court has held precludes the right to use money for expressive purposes (well other than other illegal expressive acts, such as artistic robbery and the like).  Unfortunately, that pretty much washes out the soft corruption that is left over when direct bribery is taken off the table.


Yes, I understand that's the actual law. I'm asking you (or the court) to justify it.
 
2014-04-02 01:06:04 PM  
Don't look at me, I voted for Kang.
 
2014-04-02 01:06:13 PM  

kpaxoid: zedster: Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts: 'We have made clear that Congress may not regulate campaign contributions to protect against corruption'

The purpose of the regulation of campaign contributions is not to protect against corruption.

The purpose is to protect against indirect and hidden governance by entities who have enough material wealth to affect the outcome of elections, or affect the decision making of the elected.

Without this, one man - one vote is meaningless.


I fail to see how your two separate points are not the same or are mutually exclusive.
 
2014-04-02 01:06:30 PM  

SphericalTime: We need a clear constitutional amendment, I guess.  Which groups are already working on this?  The ACLU?


If we're going to craft an amendment, my personal vote is that we restrict donations to entities that actually reside within the district of the election they're donating to, e.g. no donating to Texas gubernatorial elections if you live in Massachusetts or your company is incorporated in Delaware.

I don't actually have a problem with the specific thing the court decided on here (aggregate caps are just an effective limit on how many candidates you can support since individual candidate caps are still in play, which is silly), I just think that if we're going to let money play as votes we need to do it in a fashion that's representative, meaning out-of-district interests shouldn't be able to hijack in-district elections.

// The example of "incorporated in Delaware" was  not chosen at random.
 
2014-04-02 01:06:44 PM  

Contrabulous Flabtraption: DeaH: Contrabulous Flabtraption: I hate this ruling but it is technically correct (the best kind of correct.jpg). Our system isn't perfect and this is one of its baked-in flaws. But it IS what is right according to the Constitution.

Please point me to the exact place in the Constitution that says money is speech.

Show me where it says it is not.


So everything not mentioned is speech? Do you really want to go with that?
 
2014-04-02 01:07:12 PM  
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ILQepXUhJ98

It's George Carlin so obviously you might not want to watch it at work.
 
2014-04-02 01:07:44 PM  

DamnYankees: sendtodave: There is no government system ever conceived where the rich don't have more power than everyone else. It's impossible, since money is power.  Why are we shocked, shocked that this is the case?

I don't think anyone is shocked. Why are you pretending people are shocked? Just to feel smug?


"Oh, our democracy is failing, our society is crumbling, an oligarchy is rising..."  etc etc

Because of something that has always been true.
 
2014-04-02 01:07:57 PM  
Certain members of that court were appointed specifically for rulings like this. We were all warned.
 
2014-04-02 01:08:06 PM  

vonmatrices: I've worked in State Government and Federal Government as an employee, contractor, and member of the military.

At each level I have been given strict ethics classes and training saying that I cannot accept any kind of monetary value over a certain dollar amount in my position.  Accepting any gifts or donations in this manner would be construed as possible graft, bribery or corruption.

Why are candidates for office different?


Accepting direct bribes is still illegal. Using your money to speak on your behalf (which everyone already does) is not. If you have contributed to a campaign and are butthurt because someone else contributed more I really can't help you.
 
2014-04-02 01:08:27 PM  

sendtodave: This thread moves fast.  I'll use big font.

There is no government system ever conceived where the rich don't have more power than everyone else. It's impossible, since money is power.  Why are we shocked, shocked that this is the case?


Plato conceived of one, but I don't want to live there.
 
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