Friday, January 22, 2010


Speech is protected and money is speech. Way to go, Judgies.

No matter who you are and what you have, you can play (except in Illinois where we are so very proud of our campaign contribution caps.)


At 11:42 AM, January 22, 2010, Anonymous Anonymous said...

But they still have limits on spending on specific candidates I think, and there are still limits on individual contributions to a candidate.

But the general idea of free speech, with full disclosure was fortunately upheld (or the denial of that was reversed ... whatever).

At 3:16 PM, January 22, 2010, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'll parrot John Paul Stevens here and ask if you believe corporations should be allowed to vote in elections.

At 4:15 PM, January 22, 2010, Blogger UMRBlog said...


No, I don't. But I also think it's the wrong question.

Does the course of government impact how they do they business and whether it's successful. It seems a little fatuous to suggest they can advertise to improve their marketing environment but not to improve their regulatory and tax environment. Besides, the folks voting to make those expenditures are representing a bunch of stockholders who do have a right to vote and who could form collectives for political purposes anyhow.

If a corporation is a citizen for purposes of rights privileges and emoluments, then it should be able to spend its money to impact its environment.

I think Stevens' question stands constitutional law on its head. Restrictions on rights are reserved to the people or two the States unless they are clearly devolved to the Federal Government. I don't find a clear devolution here anyplace.

BTW, I hope he goes ahead and hires law clerks for this next year and serves this coming term of court.


At 10:21 AM, January 23, 2010, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you are going to argue that the legal person of the corporation has a right to contribute money as part of influencing its environment, then it seems you must also grant that legal person the right to vote. The corporation may be made up of natural persons in the form of shareholders who have the right to vote, but they also have the right to make campaign contributions, so why not go ahead and give Goldman Sachs the right to vote too? I'm not a lawyer, so my argument is probably totally wrong.

Here is my campaign finance reform idea- I call it the NASCAR Reform Act of 2010. Candidates and elected officials are required to wear suits festooned with the logos of their top 10-20 corporate backers. I think it would clear some things up to see someone aruging against insurance reform with an Aetna brand on their back.

At 6:38 PM, January 23, 2010, Blogger UMRBlog said...


I think you're standing the argument on its head. The power in question is Congress' power to regulate speech, against which there is a constitutional presumption. If you start from the constitution and work your way forward, the ruling makes perfect sense.



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