Jan 3 2012
02:00 pm

This is big news getting not much national attention thanks to the predictable and pointless sideshow going on in Iowa. This case presents the first possible test for the Citizens United case in the Supreme Court, in which the high court said corporations are people with free speech rights. Corporations were first recognized as "persons" in the 1800s for purposes of contracts and enforcement of contracts, and 14th amendment Equal Protection rights, but the idea of "free speech" as a civil-rights protection of corporate political spending wasn't concocted until 2010. This Montana case presents a conflict the Supreme Court will have a tough time ignoring.

Anyway, this is a big deal, and what a day for it to break, just a few days before Mitt Romney, Mr. "Corporations are people too, my friend" vies for the Miss Republican Contest title to challenge Miss Wall Street Universe defender Barack Obama in November. Who will Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, et al give more money to this time?

LOL's picture

I would note

The last sentence of the article.

Hildegard's picture

Of course they are going to

Of course they are going to reverse it. The significance of the Montana decision is how it illustrates a growing division of principles in this country - beyond mere politics. It is far too soon to persuade cynics, but this is a nation well on its way to be being divided against itself. Citizens United serves the political establishment that rewards the wealthiest members of both the public (Congress) and private (their corporate owners) sectors. Average citizens are still too distracted or indifferent to realize that things like caucuses and primaries have nothing to do with their interests, but participating still makes them feel involved and part of the conversation. What the Montana decision means for people like me is the hope that there are public officials out there, in real positions of leadership, who see what's going on and are ready to take a stand. That's the direction more leaders need to go in, in all branches of government, not just the judiciary.

But heaping scorn on the people who are trying to do the right thing won't stop the Man from recognizing you are still one of us and bending you over until you call him Sir.

No Corporate free speech's picture

No free speech for any

No free speech for any corporations or unions. The New York Times, Washington Post, General Electric, CBS, NBC, Fox all should have to comply with any restrictions on speech any legislature comes up with.

All of the previous are corporations. For those of you who would argue that these are the press, I would ask what is the definition of the press?

Hildegard's picture

In CU, The Supreme Court said

In CU, The Supreme Court said that corporate funding of political broadcasts cannot be limited under the First Amendment. In order to protect a corporation's right to spend as much money as it wants on, say, political attack ads of any kind, it had to find that the corporation is a person with First Amendment rights. A lot of people believe this radical new definition of "personhood" goes too far in expanding the original basis for treating corporations as persons (i.e., to ease the complexity of litigating contract disputes and civil claims) and that the Court's reasoning was disingenuous. Anyway, you should probably read the opinion before you start getting all clever and stuff.

Here is another link that expands on the point I tried to make above. And a more popular source here.

EricLykins's picture

SCOTUS: “independent

SCOTUS: “independent expenditures, including those made by corporations, do not give rise to corruption or the appearance of corruption.”


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