Money & Politics

A Blistering Dissent in ‘McCutcheon’: Conservatives Substituted Opinion for Fact

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Supreme Court Justices, from left, Chief Justice of the United States John Roberts, Associate Justices of the Supreme Court Anthony Kennedy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan applaud State of the Union Address,12 Feb 2013 (Rex Features via AP Images)

Supreme Court Justices, from left, Chief Justice of the United States John Roberts, Associate Justices of the Supreme Court Anthony Kennedy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan applaud State of the Union Address,12 Feb 2013 (Rex Features via AP Images)

Central to the Supreme Court’s campaign finance decisions in the John Roberts era is that the government’s only legitimate interest in this area is preventing direct, quid pro quo corruption — a donor demanding that a specific law be passed, or killed, in exchange for cash — or the appearance of direct corruption.

In the McCutcheon decision announced on Wednesday, the court struck down a limit on how much cash an individual could give to all federal candidates during an election cycle. The five conservative justices allowed that the rich showering friendly candidates with unlimited amounts of money might drown out the voices of the majority and distort our fragile democracy, but not blatantly enough to justify the spending limit.

In the majority opinion, Chief Justice Roberts wrote that “government regulation may not target the general gratitude a candidate may feel toward those who support him or his allies, or the political access such support may afford.”

The conservative majority passed on an opportunity to strike down a limit on how much a donor can give to an individual candidate — perhaps because in Citizens United, they’d accepted the proposition that unlimited donations to “independent” third party groups didn’t lend the appearance of corruption — but Justice Clarence Thomas, in his concurring opinion, wrote that “limiting the amount of money a person may give to a candidate does impose a direct restraint on his political communication,” and moved to strike that provision down as well.

The court’s four-member minority issued a blistering dissent, written by Justice Stephen Breyer. He charged that the majority’s “conclusion rests upon its own, not a record-based, view of the facts.”

Its legal analysis is faulty: It misconstrues the nature of the competing constitutional interests at stake. It understates the importance of protecting the political integrity of our governmental institutions. It creates a loophole that will allow a single individual to contribute millions of dollars to a political party or to a candidate’s campaign.

Taken together with Citizens United, Breyer writes that McCutcheon “eviscerates our Nation’s campaign finance laws, leaving a remnant incapable of dealing with the grave problems of democratic legitimacy that those laws were intended to resolve.”

He goes on to dissect the claims on which the court’s ruling rest. He first takes issue with the idea that the government only has an interest in preventing a direct exchange of cash for votes.

In the plurality’s view, a federal statute could not prevent an individual from writing a million dollar check to a political party (by donating to its various committees), because the rationale for any limit would “dangerously broade[n] the circumscribed definition of quid pro quo corruption articulated in our prior cases.”

This critically important definition of “corruption” is inconsistent with the Court’s prior case … and it misunderstands the constitutional importance of the interests at stake. In fact, constitutional interests—indeed, First Amendment interests—lie on both sides of the legal equation.

In reality, as the history of campaign finance reform shows and as our earlier cases on the subject have recognized, the anticorruption interest that drives Congress to regulate campaign contributions is a far broader, more important interest than the plurality acknowledges. It is an interest in maintaining the integrity of our public governmental institutions. And it is an interest rooted in the Constitution and in the First Amendment itself.

Consider at least one reason why the First Amendment protects political speech. Speech does not exist in a vacuum. Rather, political communication seeks to secure government action. A politically oriented “marketplace of ideas” seeks to form a public opinion that can and will influence elected representatives….

The First Amendment advances not only the individual’s right to engage in political speech, but also the public’s interest in preserving a democratic order in which collective speech matters.

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. That is one reason why the Court has stressed the constitutional importance of Congress’ concern that a few large donations not drown out the voices of the many….

The “appearance of corruption” can make matters worse. It can lead the public to believe that its efforts to communicate with its representatives or to help sway public opinion have little purpose. And a cynical public can lose interest in political participation altogether.

Breyer then wonders how the conservatives could square McCutcheon’s narrow definition of “corruption” with its conclusion, in the 2003 case McConnell v. FEC, that money — and the access it purchases — has a pernicious influence on the political process.

The Court in McConnell upheld these new contribution restrictions under the First Amendment for the very reason the plurality today discounts or ignores. Namely, the Court found they thwarted a significant risk of corruption—understood not as quid pro quo bribery, but as privileged access to and pernicious influence upon elected representatives.

In reaching its conclusion in McConnell, the Court relied upon a vast record compiled in the District Court. That record consisted of over 100,000 pages of material and included testimony from more than 200 witnesses. What it showed, in detail, was the web of relationships and understandings among parties, candidates, and large donors that underlies privileged access and influence. The District Judges in McConnell made clear that the record did “not contain any evidence of bribery or vote buying in exchange for donations of nonfederal money.”

Indeed, no one had identified a “single discrete instance of quid pro quo corruption” due to soft money. But what the record did demonstrate was that enormous soft money contributions, ranging between $1 million and $5 million among the largest donors, enabled wealthy contributors to gain disproportionate “access to federal lawmakers” and the ability to “influenc[e] legislation.”

“We specifically rejected efforts to define ‘corruption’ in ways similar to those the plurality today accepts,” writes Breyer.

He then takes on the conservatives’ second rationale: that the problem the aggregate limit was supposed to address — huge donors funneling money indirectly to a candidate in order to get around the limit on contributions to a single campaign — isn’t an issue today.

The plurality is wrong…. In the absence of limits on aggregate political contributions, donors can and likely will find ways to channel millions of dollars to parties and to individual candidates, producing precisely the kind of “corruption” or “appearance of corruption” that previously led the Court to hold aggregate limits constitutional. Those opportunities for circumvention will also produce the type of corruption that concerns the plurality today. The methods for using today’s opinion to evade the law’s individual contribution limits are complex, but they are well known, or will become well known, to party fundraisers.

He offers three concrete examples of how a wealthy donor might be able to get millions of dollars to a single candidate without running afoul of the law under McCutcheon.

But perhaps the dissent’s most withering criticism of the ruling is that, as in Citizens United, it was decided according to the majority’s beliefs, rather than the factual record.

In the past, when evaluating the constitutionality of campaign finance restrictions, we have typically relied upon an evidentiary record amassed below to determine whether the law served a compelling governmental objec­tive. And, typically, that record contained testimony from Members of Congress (or state legislators) explaining why Congress (or the legislature) acted as it did….

If we are to overturn an act of Congress here, we should do so on the basis of a similar record….

Determining whether anticorruption objectives justify a particular set of contribution limits requires answering empirically based questions, and applying significant discretion and judgment. To what ex­tent will unrestricted giving lead to corruption or its appearance? What forms will any such corruption take? To what extent will a lack of regulation undermine public confidence in the democratic system? To what extent can regulation restore it?

… For another thing, a comparison of the plurality’s opinion with this dissent reveals important differences of opinion on fact-related matters. We disagree, for example, on the possibilities for circumvention of the base limits in the absence of aggregate limits. We disagree about how effectively the plurality’s “alternatives” could prevent evasion. An evidentiary proceeding would permit the parties to explore these matters, and it would permit the courts to reach a more accurate judgment. The plurality rationalizes its haste to forgo an evidentiary record by noting that “the parties have treated the question as a purely legal one.” But without a doubt, the legal question—whether the aggregate limits are closely drawn to further a compelling governmental interest—turns on factual questions about whether corruption, in the absence of such limits, is a realistic threat to our democracy….

The justification for aggregate contribution restrictions is strongly rooted in the need to assure political integrity and ultimately in the First Amendment itself. The threat to that integrity posed by the risk of special access and influence remains real. Part III, supra. Even taking the plurality on its own terms and considering solely the threat of quid pro quo corruption (i.e., money-for-votes exchanges), the aggregate limits are a necessary tool to stop circumvention. And there is no basis for finding a lack of “fit” between the threat and the means used to combat it, namely the aggregate limits.

The plurality reaches the opposite conclusion. The result, as I said at the outset, is a decision that substitutes judges’ understandings of how the political process works for the understanding of Congress; that fails to recognize the difference between influence resting upon public opinion and influence bought by money alone; that overturns key precedent; that creates huge loopholes in the law; and that undermines, perhaps devastates, what remains of campaign finance reform.

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  • John Wachenheimer

    The republicans must be defeated in November in order to save our nation. Once the Democrats have taken back the House and expanded their majority in the Senate they should immediately start impeachment proceeding against Roberts, Scalia, Thomas, Alito, and Kennedy.

  • Anonymous

    So there are limits left on individual candidates but not groups or parties. So what restrains an unlimited donation to either groups or parties designating it be spent on one particular candidate?

  • Anonymous

    I hate to say this, but it looks like they will gain both houses.
    I also fear that Justice Ginsburg will retire in the next two years and the GOP will stonewall any nomination that President Obama puts forth.

    To quote Margo Channing, “Fasten your seat belts, it’s going to be a bumpy night”…

  • Josh Bare

    We haven’t lived in a democracy in quite some time. This only further demonstrates it. The United States is a corporate-controlled plutocracy. All 3 branches of our government are systematically corrupt.

  • Cynthia Davis

    Well there goes democracy… the slippery slope started with Citizen’s United and is cemented with this decision.
    Next up purchasing politicians that will with a “wink and nod” (interpreted as not direct demand) overturn employment protection laws until the most despicable can have their SLAVES back and call them “at will employees”.
    Either way they are disposable people meant to serve their masters until they are useless and die.
    Next cementing a separate justice system for the wealthiest where like recently when a millionaire RAPED his 3 year old daughter and “GOT OFF” in more ways than one or the rich kid running over and murdering people and getting away with it because mommy and daddy are wealthy will become commonplace as “elected and selected” judges Kowtow to their wealthy “benefactors – just as these judges have.
    As for the REST of us – the FOR PROFIT PRISONS will make it easy to channel us into poverty desperation and slave wages or death.

  • Anonymous

    Making that kind of statement this far ahead of the elections is just stupid.

  • http://intorpor.blogspot.com/ y.slobodinskaya

    They’re likely to hold the house, because too many democratic seats will be up in red districts. Retaking the senate will be possible, but not as likely as they’d have us believe.

    Regardless, it isn’t just about 2014. We need to hold as many seats as we can, to retake both houses in coming years, when the numbers will be more in our favor.

  • Barb

    Let me see if I get this accurately…now the Koch Brothers can each buy their own personal candidates outright…no longer necessary to use front groups like ALEC. No longer necessary to maintain any pretenses.
    I will remember this when the bridges I cross every morning collapse under me from the advance of unfettered capitalism taken to logical ends…

    By the way, we know that nearly every legislator retires a rich man. Anyone done the research on SCOTUS?

  • tnrthoma

    but accurate.

  • Jerry Squarey

    Anyone know a country where they actively squash political corruption? I fear things in the good ole USA are going to get a lot worse before they even begin to start getting better. So I’m considering leaving this cesspool of corruption for a country that puts people first.

  • Deborah Dietz

    You aren’t alone.

  • Anonymous

    “People get the government they deserve.”

    We have become a nation of craven cowards, hiding in our houses and toting guns everywhere, jumping at shadows, popping pills to sooth our fears, watching mindless entertainment, meaningless sports, debasing reality shows. The vast majority are ignorant of history, geography, culture, religion, science, literature, art, and civilization itself. Authoritarian religions exhort their zombie congregations to continue to vote for the puppet-masters.

    Time to re-boot.

  • Joan Harris

    One incompetent ruling after another when campaign finance reform is long over due. They exercise ideology over rule of law. I would like to see SCOTUS abolished.

  • Alex Sawyer

    If I knew of such a place, I would have been packing my bags a long time ago.

  • Alex Sawyer

    Roberts has to be the most spineless, unprincipled chief justice the court has ever seen. He practically admitted that the only reason he cast the deciding vote in favor of Obamacare was so that history wouldn’t remember him as the person who brought down the law.

  • Anonymous

    The ‘nation’ is done, al dente perhaps, but, nevertheless, done. What, in God’s name make, you think it would be much better with the likes of Obama and the Clintons? We’d get the same thing, only with a little procaine. Without the quiet help of the Democratic Party for the past thirty years the Republicans couldn’t have achieved their goals. Obama is an enabler and the last person to shed a tear at the end of ‘democracy’ in this country.

  • linda feldman

    But isn’t fascinating that the poor are blamed for the country’s ruin?

  • Rhonda Thissen

    PAST time!!

  • Elfangel

    Same here. G-Grandfather should have stayed in Sweden!

  • NearingCareerEnd

    And what country might that be?

  • GeorgeAmerica

    Bill – Thank you for following this issue so closely. I’ve been working on a book for seven years entitled: CAMPAIGN SPENDING LIMITS: The Case for Closing the Constitution’s Loophole that Allows Wealthy Interests to Buy America’s Elections, Laws, and Politicians. I would like to send you an advance review copy when it’s ready in late spring. Please let me know if you’re interested. Sincerely, Michael Karath, MPA Harvard University.

  • Anonymous

    Those shits.

  • Rockey427

    You know who’s dancing a jig right now??? Local TV Station Owners in Red & Purple States!!!

  • Bigboard

    Let’s see. This is why Obama is president?

  • Bigboard

    Sort of depends on whose ox is being gored, does it not?

  • Anonymous

    I don’t understand how they can put these two words in the same sentence, if “Free Speech” is “FREE” why do you NEED “$$$$$”?

  • Anonymous

    Hey People! It’s time to “IMPEACH” this GOP Supreme Court! VOTE! PEOPLE! VOTE! It’s time to start DIGGING the grave for ALL Republicans to be buried in!

  • Anonymous

    I take it you think the other ox is “ours”? That is…. generous

  • Anonymous

    Abolishing the supreme court would basically turn the constitution immediately to toilet paper you know. As it stands now, the constitution is a collection of promises that at least *some* people want to at least *appear* to be keeping. These radical activists on the court, the economic libertarians, they are a symptom, not the disease itself. I’d much rather see a constitutional amendment that explicitly states that spending money shall not be construed as “free speech” and corporations shall not be construed as having any inalienable rights.

  • Anonymous

    PEOPLE GET THE GOVT THEY CAN AFFORD. DID YOU READ THE ARTICLE???

  • http://mollysmiddleamerica.blogspot.com/ Middle Molly

    So…. … Why then didn’t the Democratic party file an amicus curiae brief on the side of McCutcheon? Why only the Republicans? And why did all of the justices appointed by Democratic presidents dissent as a bloc?

  • Anonymous

    Nothing restricts that anymore. Thats exactly what the majority ruling means. They were told that aggregate limits prevent circumvention of the individual limits, and their response was “lalalala not listening freedumb”

  • http://mollysmiddleamerica.blogspot.com/ Middle Molly

    I honestly don’t think there is out-and-out corruption on the part of any of these justices.. perhaps only a conflict of interest with Thomas. But the justices reflect the party that appointed them. Republican justices have the same outlook on the economy and on money as does the Republican national committee and most Republicans in Congress. Democratic justices have the same outlook on the economy and on money as does the Democratic national committee and most Democrats in Congress.

  • http://mollysmiddleamerica.blogspot.com/ Middle Molly

    No. We need the Supreme Court, an extremely important institution. But we need more justices appointed by Democratic presidents. At least one.

  • http://mollysmiddleamerica.blogspot.com/ Middle Molly

    When I want to display “general gratitude”, I write a thank you note. I don’t send someone millions.

  • Rah-rah Sisboombah

    So what if a “White Knight” were to just, within the law(s), go right to the Electoral College to inform them?

  • http://mollysmiddleamerica.blogspot.com/ Middle Molly

    Don’t forget that these oligarchs installing puppets were REPUBLICAN oligarchs installing REPUBLICAN puppets. No, the Dems are not perfect, but not one of the justices appointed by Democratic Presidents bought the “general gratitude” argument.

  • http://mollysmiddleamerica.blogspot.com/ Middle Molly

    I think it is possible.. not sure where to start.

  • Phil Ryan

    or audrey even worse… not pay more dollars so that your speech drowns out your fellow voter.

  • tanitani

    In what dictionary is speech defined as spending money??

  • Anonymous

    It’s so unfortunate that the Democrats didn’t listen to Anita Hill when she tried to inform them that this man, Clarence Thomas was not qualified to be a decent lawyer let alone a Supreme Court Justice. At the hearing ood ol’ Joe Biden didn’t protect her from the ravages of the right wing machine headed by Sen. Simpson. And one of the most rigid and inept candidates got on the Court and had constantly provided the #5 vote without fail. That’s what he was appointed to do, nothing more.

    The scathing dissent is valuable because one day in history when people look back on these dark days of the Court it will show that there was some sanity there after all.

  • Anonymous

    gratitude = payoffs or bribery

    Tony Soprano would approve.

  • Joan Harris

    A Supreme Court that is conservative OR liberal is no more than justices with a political bias. We don’t need that. As long as practicing the RULE OF LAW has been replaced by a political agenda, it is dangerous to continue SCOTUS. Settle disputes at the state level.

  • Benjy Franklin

    Pay attention to this Blistering Dissent in ‘McCutcheon’:

    Property requirements seemed to attract the most attention.

    They came under attack almost as soon as the Revolution began.

    Benjamin Franklin lampooned them when he wrote:

    Today a man owns a jackass worth 50 dollars and he is entitled to vote; but before the next election the jackass dies. The man in the mean time has become more experienced, his knowledge of the principles of government, and his acquaintance with mankind, are more extensive, and he is therefore better qualified to make a proper selection of rulers—but the jackass is dead and the man cannot vote. Now gentlemen, pray inform me, in whom is the right of suffrage? In the man or in the jackass?

    Property restrictions gradually disappeared in the nineteenth century. Tax-paying requirements replaced property ownership, though they too waned after the 1820s. By the 1850s, most economic barriers to voting had disappeared.

    And those who do not Learn History are doomed … :

    http://www.history.org/Foundation/journal/spring07/elections.cfm

    https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=768779316473415&id=114528955231791

  • Hassleff

    The corporations fund the Government, yeah, duh….. What’s sad is that most Americans will always overlook the candidates who are actually qualified for the job, the ones who have our best interests in mind in favor of their broken, programmed two party system. This country is run by a very small group of 1% tycoons.

  • Riccardo Cabeza

    Conservatives are diseased flesh that needs to be excised from the body politic. Too stupid to know they are ill, to arrogant to care.

    Because everyone knows Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, the earth is 6000 years old, gravity is just a theory, Sarah Palin is eminently qualified to lead the American nation, health care really means death panels and we really need more high frequency traders on Wall St. So let’s free Jonathan Pollard and bomb Iran.

    Now watch this drive.

  • user xyyyz

    The neocons knew what they were doing when they “back doored” Americans by stacking the SCOTUS. Sadly people couldn’t believe it. Now it’s late in the game and the home town is losing everything there is to lose. It’s that bad.

  • Karisa Keahey

    I am thinking about joining my daughter in Finland.

    My oldest daughter married a Finn and has expatriated to Finland. When deciding which country to live in, my son in-law came to visit, and it didn’t take long for him to decide not to live here. He was horrified by several things in the USA. He was most disturbed by homelessness. Then he was shocked by the cost of my daughter’s student loans, the cost of medical care and housing.

    In Finland they have no homeless, it is in their constitution no one should be without shelter. Everyone has a right to free education from preschool to their equivalent to junior college or trade school. Everyone there has a degree and unemployment is low( 3 to 5%). Minimum wages there can pay for a nice apartment in a little over two weeks. Here in America it takes at least 2 to 3 months. They have universal medical care that is one of the best in the world.

    The last thing that convinced him he didn’t want to stay in America was the debacle in congress over raising the debt ceiling and possibly defaulting on all domestic and foreign debt. He said Finland has 8 political parties and they are civil. They work at getting things done and the people expect their leaders to be honest or they are thrown out.

    They have had a very robust economy, when many other countries were affected by the “Great Recession”, Finland had a surplus. Their banking system didn’t allow speculation in hedge funds. They have seen a recent decline in their economy, but keep in mind they helped to bail out Greece, and Spain.
    Down side is it is very cold and dark in Winter. People are not into talking at all. Extremely taciturn people that prefer communication through action not words.

  • Mike Hugh-jass

    Or the political actions and income of the spouse of a Supreme Court Justice?

  • Arm of Keaau

    Yes and in this case again, that “ox” is the people of this nation (the 99%)! (_: FBI

  • Anonymous

    What a bold reply.

  • wenzel dehn

    No, Obama is president despite the GOP money. His 2008 election was solely due to the horrid job done by Mr Bush and Cheney. He re-election was a GOP driven referendum on his signature law, Obamacare. It was the only real issue, and the American people gave him a second term, much to the chagrin of the GOP who thought they had a winning issue. To see the real pernicious effects of what this money is doing, one only need look at the American pay scale of the blue collar worker and also at what is being done to eviscerate unions and public education in this country.

  • SophieCT

    Except for the last one. We didn’t elect him. This court selected him.

  • SophieCT

    They’re not mutually exclusive.

  • Anonymous

    Who “OWNS” the American government?

    The .001 Percent who CAN PAY!

    Take it Back!!

    Or wake up soon to the reality that You Are too late!!

    Answer: Constitutional Plebiscite holding that Corporations are NOT People; and,
    forbidding them from using Corporate Monies in American Legislatures or Elections.

    Some, perhaps many, will tell you it can’t be done.

    Yet,What single medium produces a “democracy” where people matter less than Corporations. Or, where People don’t matter at all!!

  • SophieCT

    Obama is president because of $750 mill in 2008 and $940 in 2012.

  • JSutton

    I am so proud of the great StepHen Breyer, my idea of a true patriot.

  • wenzel dehn

    Bless your heart, Sophie. Thanks for pointing that out the Obama campaign expenditures and neglecting to mention what was spent against him. Both parties spent obscene amounts on the federal elections in 2008 and 2012, and neither Mr McCain nor Mr Romney lacked campaign financing. It does not alter the facts that the 2008 election was a repudiation of the Bush/Cheney administration and the 2012 election was a referendum on Obamacare. Period.

  • Commie Dearest

    Ah, perfect circularity, then. Maybe they’ll all disappear into a black hole. If only.

  • Anonymous

    Think Constitutional Plebiscite!!

    The Corporate Control of Government expressed in Citizen’s United and Hutchinson, will enable American Corporations to address their most expensive factor of production; which is the share of GDP that they must currently pay the American Middle and Upper Middle Class.

    If enough of the American Middle Class begins to understand the combination of Citizens United and Hutchinson, they will recognize their own relentless relegation toward the very bottom of an infinitely steepening American social pyramid.

    What is most clear is that neither the Supreme Court, nor the more fully corrupted Legislatures, will save the true past beneficiaries of a functioning democracy: Those highly talented; highly educated; materially comfortable; politically empowered; class of American Professionals and small to medium scale entrepreneurs, who under the right governance, can be turned into “fairly” compensated talent at three times minimum wage.

    Think Constitutional Plebiscite.

  • Commie Dearest

    Scalia palling around on hunting trips with executives whose companies had cases before the court? Thomas’s wife heading an advocacy group for one side of a case before the court? If neither of these moved Congress to remove them, nothing will.

  • Anonymous

    Talk about raising the core problem….!!

  • Anonymous

    If things continue at this pace in this direction, we may have to get the hell out whether we know of such a place or not.

  • Anonymous

    The “hard money” always see the federal deficit as the core problem–winess Mr. Hunt here. This is common across the vast internet commentariat. What is weird, though, is that these folks never, NEVER point to a single negative result of their bete noir. If deficit spending is such a great evil, Mr. Hunt, where’s the downside?

  • JonThomas

    Sadly, it’s already too late.

  • JonThomas

    It’s too late!

    The only candidates you will see running are those who can get the support of the donors of the political parties.

    If a person wants to run for office, but does not tow the party line, the party will withdraw, or refuse support.

    From this point forward, the candidates chosen to run with party backing will be people who already agree with the party and are willing to push the agendas of the party donors.

    It will not matter what they say in public in order to get elected, if they want to continue to receive the Party’s blessing, they will have to tow the line.

    No one will be pushing for change. No one will be advocating for changing the system which perpetually benefits this ideologically similar group of people. Power is self-serving.

    Because media outlets are owned by these same ideological groups, you will not even hear of people who think differently.

    The only way you will see will change is if the power dries up. Because the recipients of the power are the ones who benefit, they will not reform the infrastructure to see the power go elsewhere. The only way restructuring will happen is with changes to the power source. In other words, there would have to be a catastrophic, or severe situations which demand action.

    Even the complete banking and market crash of just a few years ago was not enough… they had the power to find a new source by reaching into the public’s pocket and bail themselves out.

    Unfortunately, the only recent example of a change was 9-11. However, the changes then were not ‘citizen friendly.’

  • Anonymous

    Giant money in politics mutes my first amendment rights.

  • Anonymous

    Whenever people are involved, there will be corruption. Whenever a law is passed, someone will figure out how to get around it, either legally or corruptly. You cannot legislate integrity.

  • TellMeImDreaming

    Just about every negative result that Breyer lists are the Republicans actual goals. They want corruption,since they’re the only ones with the money to pay for favors. Gotta say one thing though, sociopaths sure know how to use power, unconstrained by conscience or ethics or morals as they are….

  • Heather Bacon Smith

    I wish it were possible for “we the people” to bring a class action law suit against the 5 conservative justices for dismantling the US democracy . . . but who would hear the case?

  • TellMeImDreaming

    So lets see what we have now. The Kochs can now give unlimited funds to any Republican in a unsafe district. The poor? They can go to rallies, but the local authorities, in “general gratitude” for the donation of their SWAT team equipment will make short work of those mobs!

  • Nicko Thime

    “Swapped opinion for fact.”
    Those words define conservatism today. It is most of what is wrong.

  • Anonymous

    It was predicted that this gent Roberts was going to do something like this all the way back when he was confirmed. He’s a dirt bag.

  • Anonymous

    Yes but you can legislate badly enough to make it really easy to be corruptible.

  • Anonymous

    Speaking as the LIBERAL I am, I have to fault the ‘corporate owned,’ and spineless Democrats as well as their miscreant Republican colleagues when they seated these five corporate crooks on the Supreme Court. Every one of these five vermin justices had a history and it was OBVIOUS what they would do if given the chance, and yet the Democrats bent over and gave them the ability to screw us all. The problem in this country isn’t Republican or Democrat – those are only the festering symptoms. It’s blind greed and a complete willingness of politicians to sell their souls for a buck. I strongly urge EVERYONE to stop supporting and voting for ANYONE the “two-party” system (now wholly owned by corporate greed) manipulates into nomination and start running against (or supporting those who do) any candidate the “party elite” promotes in every primary across the land. The two corporate parties work over-time to keep everybody but their lackeys out of our elections, so third parties can’t even “get into the dance.” Stop believing any political ad. They’re designed to manipulate you and rarely tell the whole truth. Send a check and a vote to the candidate who lives like YOU and didn’t make millions running a corporation. Millionaires are NOT inherently smarter than you, but it’s probably a safe bet they are greedier. Because they made money is NEVER a good reason for someone to be elected to public office. You’ll find that you might actually get represented in our government if enough of these “common citizen” candidates get elected. Maybe SOMEDAY there could even be enough of “us” elected to the Congress and Senate who give a ‘fig’ about this country to get these five corporate crooks impeached and off the Supreme Court.

    Yeah, I know it’s a long shot and a serious “pipe dream,” but it only takes getting one REAL American patriot elected to start, and voting for whoever the “party elite” shoves down our throats will only get us MORE OF THE SAME. After all, voting for “the lesser of two evils” will ALWAYS get you ‘evil’ in office. Guaranteed.

  • OHDisqusNSA666100

    You can, that is why the 5 Supreme Court justices are giving human rights to corporations, and 1st Amendment Rights of Free Speech to corporations money.
    If what you said was true, then how come the supreme court is interested in striking down laws that limit corruption.

  • OHDisqusNSA666100

    The weak cowardly Democratic Party is not going to help, they are scared to win.
    A constitutional amendment will increase voter turnout, and it will pass easily in 8 or 10 states, with more states every two years, just like with marijuana we got 2 states only legalized but everybody already knows all 50 states is a done deal.
    - Right to vote and have the vote counted.
    - Corporations are not people and corporations money is not protected speech.

  • Anonymous

    Corporations and the obscenely wealthy DO NOT OWN US, so why are we, as American citizens so willing to support and vote for the candidates THEY manipulate through our rigged electoral system? Stop doing that if you ever want to see government change and start to address YOUR concerns. Run against the party elite’s ‘darlings’ in every primary election, or at least support those who do. Instead of helping the self-serving corporate lackeys get into office (only to screw you over once sworn in), why not send your money to the “opposition” and vote for that candidate if (s)he has a history of corporate independence and solid evidence of ethics in life. Contrary to popular belief and systematic propaganda (from BOTH SIDES), money does not guarantee an election. It is NEVER a wasted vote when you vote against corporate greed. If enough people actually did this, we wouldn’t be faced with the likes of the corporate crooks on the Supreme Court we have now.

  • GeeOPee

    The majority of the donations made to Obama were $100 dollars or less. The majority of his donations were not done by the wealthy.

  • Dave Decker

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Court_of_Justice
    That would really make their heads spin….LOL

  • Anonymous

    I read through the actual dissent in McCutcheon and did not see what I believe is the most glaringly obvious problem here: that of the belief that, somehow, money equals “speech.” That has never made any sense to me and it makes even less now. Breyer hilariously calls the five corporate stooges the “plurality,” which I applaid, but when–oh when–are we going to get to the substance of the issue: that money is NOT speech–it’s MONEY, and piles of it corrupt absolutely.

  • Anonymous

    These kinds of decisions make even comfortable, well positioned, people rethink the status quo.

    In a very real sense, the more successful these corporate monopolies are in marginalizing human beings within the courts and within the Legislatures, the more they shape the emerging public resistance that can yet, if activated, redefine their place in society.

  • Anonymous

    I wish it was possible for we the people to revolt without being leveled by military weapons of mass destruction.

  • Anonymous

    Well, after watching the Occupy Oakland video, I can understand their reluctance. People who have no military training really don’t stand a chance against the well armed police forces. Maybe it is time for the rest of us to train for a revolution!

  • Anonymous

    banana peel?

  • Anonymous

    This is the most overtly corrupt court in the past hundred years, the most baldly political, the most flagrantly power mad. Roberts and his cohorts deserve to be the symbols of utter hypocrisy and corruption dressed up in black robes. They deserve to be held in total and complete contempt and harassed and dogged whenever they appear in public. They are the tool of the oligarchs to steal the United States, the willing tools of them.

  • grettalulu

    It is too late to talk about preventing a lethal blow to our democratic republic. Several blows, any one of which would be lethal, have already been struck. We already have plutocracy. Congresspeople have been for sale for a long time. Now House and Senate SEATS are up for auction. In criminal justice, we have “affluenza.” Zimmerman, the son of a judge, is allowed to murder a black kid; rich dads can rape their kids. It will be a lot more difficult to overturn all this than it would have been to prevent it. We never could get enough people to overcome apathy and inertia to prevent it. And personally, I don’t think the people will stop playing with their smart phones, driving their luxury cars, traveling the world’s beautiful places in order to stand up and do the hard work to overthrow the plutocrats. So, yes, “we” get the government we deserve as a society, but many of us do NOT get the government WE deserve.

  • http://mopdemocracy.nationbuilder.com/ Neville Nyndnyn

    So, what to do, but continue on for justice? Part of the solution is ‘FAIR ELECTIONS’, or ‘clean elections’, i.e public campaign financing. The dilemma is, on the one hand, to get people to vote, on the other, to attract candidates who aren’t beholden to the Big Money and powerful corporate interests that have now been further and grossly empowered by the Five Fantocinni… (tempted to expand on the alliterative string), and the interests of whom are all too often opposed to that of the typical person. We seem to enjoy clean drinking water, they…no so much. We would appreciate a fair distribution of earnings, they…not so much. We prefer to not exploit our sisters and mothers, they..not so much. We would prefer a system of justice that’s blind to a persons station or heritage, …they… Look to the states of Maine, Connecticut, and, oddly, Arizona and a number of large cities for, not perfect but workable examples of PCF systems. There have been a number of profound changes to our electoral system over the centuries, notably the expansion of suffrage with regard to financial standing, literacy, race and gender, the Voting Rights Act, and recently its partial but effective repeal by, go fig’r, this very court. Perhaps until recently, these changes have generally bent with that “arc of the moral universe.” Fair Elections will continue to bend the evolution of our representative democracy towards justice. Don’t let the bums get ya down, and btw, corporations are not people.
    H. Neville Rolls, The MOP Democracy Project

  • http://www.port-city-inc.com Jack Arnold

    It’s time to stand up and be counted for. The only way it’s done is by coming together.
    Nobodies going to come in and kill you.
    I’ve pulled a few strikes in the railroad industry against the unions and the companies.
    It can be done and done right. It’s time for the 99% to stand up and be counted.
    Just remember, you are the middle class and the poor!!!
    Come together for a common cause, ” our way of life”.

  • Anonymous

    Whom shall keep the keepers themselves? This is starting to look like ancient Rome. Term limits are needed for any public jurist or lawmaker to prevent this crap from happening. No higher court exists.

  • Mike Kelso

    you know, I’m not american and I only read this case briefly, but the same thing occurred to me – I could not understand why no one else was raising it. The first amendment is about speech, right? how is donating to a candidate “speech”? spending to put your preferred candidate into a position of power is not “free speech”. It’s astonishing that even the conservatives in the US allow this – have they no shame or sense of fairness?

  • Anonymous

    have they no shame or sense of fairness?

    Not a bit.

  • Roger Bouchard

    What bubble do our supreme court justices live in? Are they blinded by their own intelligent’s ? Are they so beholding to some sort of righteous twisted idea of law that they can’t see the forest because of the trees? When the hoards of screaming protesters break down the walls of the courts and burn the Constitution in front of them, maybe then they will see the light!

  • Anonymous

    The first step in cleaning up this mess is to convert our cable systems over to federal and municipal ownership. Then we can reinstate the Fairness Doctrine where all politicians only appear on their own behalf and free equal time is given to all candidates. Also no paid political ads would be allowed.

  • Jean-Baptiste Perrin

    Do you really think the conservative Justices judged according to any kind of Constitutional argument? You are then naïve. If vast amounts of money can easily buy lawmakers (and very often do), what makes you think that the same amounts can not buy Supreme Court Judges? Of course they were bought… You got all pawned and owned. And they are going to get away with it. Because the US Constitution is so retarded that it can’t adress the challenges of the XXIst century…

  • Randy Hyle

    Certainly the people’s insistence that their candidates should present
    themselves ungirt and without a tunic had nothing to do with any
    suspicion of bribery, for it was not until long afterwards that the
    abuse of buying and selling votes crept in and money began to play an
    important part in determining the elections. Later on, however, this
    process of corruption spread to the law courts and to the army, and
    finally, when even the sword became enslaved by the power of gold, the
    republic was subjected to the rule of the emperors. For it has rightly
    been said that the man who first offers banquets and bribes to the
    people is the first to destroy their liberties.

    Gaius Marcius (Coriolanus) 14.2, translated by Ian Scott-Kilvert, Makers of Rome: Nine Lives by Plutarch (Harmondsworth : Penguin Books 1965) ISBN 0140441581, p. 27.

    Sound familiar?

  • Anonymous

    Justice Breyer makes clear in his well written dissent that it is neo-con ideology and not law that has driven the narrow 5-4 decision. Their continued and deliberate assault on the basic foundations of democracy, highlighted by such distorted decision as this, can only lead one to conclude that their goal is to subvert citizen rule and displace it with corporate oligarchy.

  • Anonymous

    I believe that the actions of the plurality in this case amount to “High crimes and misdemeanors”. So, they can be impeached. But it would require an indictment
    by a federal prosecutor.

  • Anonymous

    HOWS MY GRAMMAR AND SPELLING, SIR READS-A-NOT?

  • Anonymous

    “Intelligent’s” is not what blinds them. Burning the constitution is what THEY are doing to US

  • Anonymous

    * biological people’s money is not speech either

  • Anonymous

    We need a mass protest. Block the doors of the high court. And when people try to get in we can demand that they pay a toll. If they try to arrest us, we’ll say we would have gladly let them pass if only they asked properly. We have a right to expect people to SPEAK to us if they want us to move.

  • William Carr

    Well, actually he voted in favor of the ACA because he wanted Mitt Romney to win the Election.

    Romney was a weak Candidate; even his supporters couldn’t warm up to him.

    But making the Election a referendum on ObamaCare was genius.

    The RW mobilized to vote AGAINST Obamacare.

    They just didn’t have the numbers to win.

  • William Carr

    No, we need the Supreme Court. We just have to take away the power of Judicial Review they seized in 1803.

  • Joan Harris

    Point well taken. Taking away the power of Judicial Review would safe guard the Rule Of Law. Not sure congress would have the authority to do so. All who believe we need the Supreme Court makes me wonder why.

  • S M

    This is good to see. A majority cannot cause harm in the form of income redistribution laws on those who create wealth. There needs to be an instrument for those in the minority to have access and a say in the formation of laws when the majority is misguided and wants to take away the foundation of our capitalist society.

  • Patrick Stephenson

    I believe the Supreme Court just also ruled on their own involvement in cash for votes.

  • Justin King

    McCutcheon.
    Alot of conservatives in this day & age, being white, don’t really give a damn about all the “ethnics” that they see walking around like “fat slobs” on the streets of America, so they have decided to take them out of the power loop.
    Inherent racism & cultural elitism making a last stand for what’s left of the spoils of the empire.
    The petrodollar is now doomed and the elites are now buying up any “tangible” items that they can lay their hands on.
    Good-bye Babylon, hello world political chaos.

  • Justin King

    Offhand, this may sound like a rant, but it’s infortunately TRUE.
    Sad days are upon us & the US as a whole.

  • Lewis Johnson

    There is absolutely no evidence that a person, successful at amassing of money, is in any way, shape or form less likely to be misguided. Quite the contrary! More often than not, their competence is limited to the areas of activity in which they enjoy success. Since the tasks of governance greatly exceed those areas, there is no compelling reason why their ability to influence policy should be any greater than that of the average citizen. The Constitution was constructed with the intent to avoid the formation of an aristocracy that would, by way of self-aggrandizement, assume the authority to take over government.
    By the way, capitalism is not a form of social organization. Therefore, it is not and cannot be construed as a “societal form”. It is, however, the proper name for a club, with membership open exclusively to capitalists. I assume that that is not what you are suggesting, because it would be excessively arrogant . . . wouldn’t it?

  • Lewis Johnson

    Interesting point but, had we term limits during the Nixon admin, Earl Warren would have likely been out on his ear. That door swings in both directions.

  • Lewis Johnson

    The system was constructed on the knowledge that it would not, at any time, be perfect. Instead, it was to be construed as a set of goals, toward which both the elected and the electorate must constantly strive. Using a lack of perfection as justification for championing a lack of ethics belies a frightening lack of historical perspective.

  • Anonymous

    As “Citizens United” was accorded the dubious honor of punching democracy in the nose and getting away with it, McCutcheon decision was a wedgie to Democracy in the week that saw Democracy die and be replaced with a new form of government.
    We are henceforth a plutocracy!
    The End.

  • Anonymous

    Appointed for life. One would expect better. We get what we deserve by listening to these compassionate conservatives; they are the Oral Roberts and Jim and Tammy Faye of the 21rst century and unfortunately a lot of us homo sapiens are just plain stupid and too lazy to draw a line in the sand, we’re often too lazy to vote, to educate ourselves on the true nature of “candidates” we elect.
    We get what we deserve.

  • Ray Gross

    Our Democracy is truly threatened by these SCOTUS decisions. We must hold the Senate now and in 2016 and win the Presidency in 2016 to appoint a Court which will overthrow Citizens United and McCutcheon. The Corporate Personhood malarkey started with the Southern Pacific RR vs Santa Clara County SCOTUS decision about 1876 when Railroad magnates controlled politics. In 2016 the looney TeaBagger 2010 Senate winners will have to stand for reelection and we may drown them in a Landslide Election. KEEP ORGANIZING

  • David Venhuizen

    Plutocrats make decisions that favor plutocrats. It’s as simple as that. This court is commonly called “the Roberts court” but it’s real name is “the Money court”. Roberts showed us who he really is very early on in his tenure (and no one seemed to take notice!). Two “speech” cases were decided very close in time to each other, one being the “bong hits for Jesus” case that was about ACTUAL speech, and the other was about some campaign contribution limitation, the details of which I don’t recall now. In the latter case, Roberts appeared appalled that any such limits on “speech” — defined as the ability to give money for the purpose proliferating speech — would be sanctioned by law, which he and his fellow plutocrats promptly invalidated. In the former case, the one that dealt with ACTUAL speech, Roberts concluded that we “need” limits on what might be uttered, no matter how tongue-in-cheek, that might cause discomfort to the overlords, in that case the school administration. There could be no clearer declaration that the court plurality are dyed in the wool plutocrats who believe that the ability to proliferate speech is not to be infringed, even as they proceed to limit speech itself when THEY find it “offensive”. And that is the key here — the idea that money = speech is unbelievably flawed, and was abhorrent to the founding fathers from all reports. Money equates to the ability to proliferate speech, it is not speech itself. It is NOT what the first amendment was instituted to protect. But the plutocrats see it as to their advantage to define it otherwise, and any chance that democracy may win out over plutocracy fades to black.

  • David Venhuizen

    And you find these oh-so-virtuous candidates where?

  • David Venhuizen

    The word you are looking for it “toe”, not “tow”.

  • Anonymous

    As I have written many times in many places, these “oh-so-virtuous” candidates would come from YOUR HOUSEHOLD or YOUR NEIGHBORS’ and NOT from the “party elite” (of either party) who manipulate and dictate the candidates of their choice that we as a populace so blindly send money to and vote for, since they are “the lesser of two evils.” Candidates coming from “regular America” have a far better chance of being honestly concerned about coming up with solutions to regular America’s problems than the corporate controlled “party elite” (again – BOTH parties) who work over-time to keep everybody but their own out of our elections. We, as Americans have got to stop letting corporate greed manipulate us and our choices and we must start choosing candidates who will work for our own interests for a change. Turning off the TV is a very good first step. Without the constant barrage of corporate controlled “news,” opinion, and propaganda, people will be far better informed about what is happening to them.

  • Anonymous

    “It’s too late!

    The only candidates you will see running are those who can get the support of the donors of the political parties.

    If a person wants to run for office, but does not tow the party line, the party will withdraw, or refuse support.”

    This is PRECICELY why we, as Americans, have got to STOP allowing the two major corporate owned parties the ability to dictate THEIR choices to us. That cash support the parties selectively provide actually comes from us, and we foolishly allow the party to take our cash and use it to manipulate their corporate friendly candidates onto the ballot. In my opinion, both major political parties have rendered themselves irrelevant. If I contribute to a political effort, it is directly to the candidates themselves and NEVER to the party. Today’s Democratic and Republican party “leadership” cannot be trusted. Just because the “party elite” say “Vote for candidate ‘A’ because everybody else is a crook,” it does not REQUIRE we blindly do so. Voting for “someone among us” is a better choice, but we’ve got to get past that party elite and corporate promoted “wasted vote” idea and actually pull the lever for the “independent” or the “other party,” or the candidate who didn’t receive the party’s blessing EN MASS, in every primary election. In this day and age, NOT being the “party darling” can sometimes be a virtue.

  • Anonymous

    I bet you didn’t say that when he ruled in favor of the ACA.

  • Anonymous

    Your opinion and support is being expressed by your actions. Just as your right to express support by actions such as giving speeches, volunteering, etc is protected, so is the action of giving financial support.

  • Anonymous

    Was he a dirt bag when he supported the ACA?

  • Anonymous

    The Kochs? Aren’t you leaving out the numerous liberal and leftist billionaires that spend money like water leaving a faucet: Soros, Bloomberg, etc? Is their money any better?

  • Anonymous

    Why would we do that? They just increased freedom from government control. As the 1st Amendment demands.

  • Anonymous

    The Conservatives are the only ones with money?

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

  • Anonymous

    And what other organizations will be forbidden from using money in politics?

  • Anonymous

    “Breyer makes clear that it is ideology and not law that has driven the majority.”

    Exactly what we thought with the case against the mandate for the ACA.

    And it is Breyer’s ideology that makes him believe in non-existent collective rights.

  • Anonymous

    Well, except for those illegal foreign donations.

  • TellMeImDreaming

    Bloomberg’s a Republican. Given that you don’t even know that. I won’t bother correcting the rest of it.

  • Anonymous

    You mean when they nullified it for poor people anywhere with a Republican governor and legislature? Yes, I did.

  • Anonymous

    Bloomberg was a life long Democrat, before he changed to Republican for his first Mayoral run. In 2007 he switched to Independent.

  • Anonymous

    Nanny Bloomberg was a life long Democrat until he ran for Mayor.
    In 2000, he switched to the Republican party, in 2007 he switched again to Independent.
    He’s a “Progressive” Democrat.

  • TellMeImDreaming

    I stand corrected. Although he did apparently run on the Republican ballot spot in his last mayoral run.

  • Anonymous

    Bloomberg is a progressive liberal who ran as a Republican because he didn’t want to fight the nomination in the primaries.

    You really need to keep up.

    As for correcting anything….are you seriously implying that leftist billionaires DON’T spend money on politics? Really?

  • Anonymous

    Nullified? So poor people AREN’T signing up for medicaid? Even in those states?

    That’s what the subsidies are for.

    Why should the states go bankrupt because the Democrats set up a horribly designed catastrophe? Unlike the Feds….states can’t print money.

    But, anyway, I was talking about when your buddy Roberts SAVED the ACA. Or did you forget that part.

  • sharsand

    I blame the Democrats for allowing Roberts into the Court in the first place knowing full-well what a right-wing activist judge he was going to be. Democrats need to get their mojo working and fight for what’s right (left). The right-wing Republicans would have never allowed progressive judges on the Court. They have fought every federal judicial appointment throughout Obama’s presidency and Obama’s no progressive. No doubt the corporate-owned-and-controlled media is thrilled with all these decisions as the country goes further down-the-tube.

  • Anonymous

    Not in states where the Republican governor and or legislature took advantage of Robert’s saying that expanding medicaid in those states was optional.

    We’ll see how many of the Republicans and independents who signed up their adult children under their plan, or found a more affordable plan under and exchange or who, with a pre-existing condition, were able to get insurance at all, will want to vote for someone who is dedicated to taking it away from them.

    Republicans hold that The People are a luxury that the country can’t afford, unlike their wars to grab oil and their giveaways to the oil barons and other billionaire crooks.

  • Mike Kelso

    take your argument just a little further, and you can justify any “action” as just another example of “free speech”. so, violence, coercion, bribery, intimidation as expressions of your opinion are all just free speech? respectfully, it seems that converting “speech” to “donations” is a stretch that cannot possibly have been intended in the original text of the constitution, and one which very clearly allows those with money to have more political influence than others. How is that supposed to be democratic, may I ask?

  • TellMeImDreaming

    There are a lot more conservative billionaires than liberal ones.

  • Anonymous

    Have you ever known of a perfect politician?

  • Anonymous

    I actually agree with all of this.

  • Anonymous

    Darn those constitutional limits on federal power!

    Since the Obamacare plans are more limited and more expensive…..those people will be ecstatic.

  • Anonymous

    The exercise of a right does not intrude upon the rights of others. Dishonesty is also not a factor in the exercise of free speech.

    Donations or other material support were always part of supporting candidates and considered constitutional.

    Otherwise, the Constitution would have not been silent on this issue.

  • Anonymous

    Heh…..that is a heck of an assertion.

    Perhaps you can provide a list.

  • Anonymous

    Nope.

    But I’m just trying to follow your logic.

  • Anonymous

    You misunderstand me. I was criticizing Breyer. Collective rights do not exist.

    We have always had competing ideologies since Marbury vs Madison. THAT is the nature of our politics. The tension between the various camps provides a check on swinging the pendulum too far in one direction.

  • Anonymous

    Upon further reading your post, I realize that I misunderstood you. You are stating that Breyer was talking about the common good.

    He was not. He was talking about collective rights as a tool to reach what HE considers the “common good.” Rights do not work like that. Free speech is an end to itself. He also attempted this in the Heller decision. He merely repeated the dissent in Citizens United. The SCOTUS has no brief or authority to determine the “common good” as that is completely and utterly subjective when it comes to politics.

  • Anonymous

    Right wing activist? How can one be such by giving the ACA Constitutional authority?

    The GOP would never allow progressives? Um….the GOP voted for Kagan and Ginzburg.

  • Anonymous

    He also makes it quite clear that he mistakenly believes in the existence of collective rights.

  • Anonymous

    But gee, that would be a bad move, because the “federal” and many municipalities, are corrupt.

  • Invasive Evasion

    First of all, the wealth of billionaires is acquired through redistribution from the workers who earn it, to those with the authority to take it away. The Walton family for example didn’t “earn” their combined 150 billion dollar fortune. They inherited a legal right to deprive working people of the benefits of their own labor. Second, in a political system in which money is not a factor, everyone’s voice has equal weight. That is a democracy. A system in which your voice is multiplied by money, in which one wealthy person can drown out and render voiceless millions of people, is a plutocracy.

  • Invasive Evasion

    The money of liberal billionaires is “better” in the sense that they use it not for self serving causes (like the Kochs), but for greater justice in society. It’s not better in the sense that all money corrupts the political process.

  • Anonymous

    A) You do know that the Kochs donate to the liberals, too, right? Even Chuck Schumer has thanked them for their money.

    B) The fact that you might think that your statement has ANY basis in reality is hysterical. It stands as a monument to liberal delusions.

  • Anonymous

    The slippery slope to government overreach started with McCain-Feingold. Citizens and McCutcheon fixed it.

  • Anonymous

    That seems to be your opinion.

    The fact is that freedom was advanced. Collective rights do not exist. Breyer is a collectivist.

  • Anonymous

    Riiiiight…..

    Keep on believing that.

  • Anonymous

    They did listen to her and found her to be hysterical.

  • Anonymous

    By whom?

    The conservatives don’t blame the poor. The conservatives blame the liberals. THEY are the ones making people poor and ruining the country.

  • Anonymous

    China.
    Death sentence.

    Of course, that’s only for the politicians that get to uppity for the party.

    Kinda like the Democrats.

  • Anonymous

    And they respect the right to keep and bear arms.

    Since they live next to an armed Bear…..

  • Invasive Evasion

    Many donors, and most corporations, hedge their bets by contributing to both parties. The Kochs want influence with whomever is in office, regardless of party affiliation. The overwhelming majority of their contributions however are to right wingers.

    To repeat my original point, there is also a distinction between funding self serving agendas, and funding socially responsible agendas that may hurt your own interests. The Kochs’ funding of politicians who support tax cuts for the wealthy is self interest. Soros’ funding of politicians who support tax increases on the rich is socially motivated and counter to self interest. They are both playing by the rules of a corrupt system, but for different purposes.

    I don’t merely “think” my statements have a basis in reality, they are factual statements OF reality.

  • Invasive Evasion

    We would want to do that because the 5 right wingers on the court have betrayed their public duty as justices, and act as political shills for plutocrats. They support the wholesale corruption of government through a system of legalized bribes. We the people have no freedom in such a system because our interests don’t matter. It is a system of government of, by and for the wealthy.

  • Invasive Evasion

    Hopefully all of them. Money must be removed from politics completely. No bribes from any organization or individual should be tolerated.

  • Invasive Evasion

    She’s actually an intelligent and rational woman who got harassed by a man morally and intellectually unfit for public office (or any position of influence).

  • Invasive Evasion

    We will keep on believing that, because it’s true.

  • Invasive Evasion

    Free speech only exists when we all have an equal voice. If money determines political speech, then only the rich have a voice, and the rest of us lose our speech. Allowing only privileged elites to have free speech is a violation of the first amendment.

    The authority of the Supreme Court comes from Article III of the constitution. All judicial interpretations are subjective. The only way you eliminate subjectivity is to eliminate the entire court system, as well as the executive and legislative branches, and all of government.

  • Invasive Evasion

    Collective rights do not exist? Have you heard of a document called the constitution?

  • Invasive Evasion

    So illegal foreign contributions made up the majority of Obama’s campaign expenditures? Would you like to back that up with a source, of would you prefer to admit that you are simply a troll posting ridiculous comments.

  • Invasive Evasion

    The logic is simple. Supporters/enablers of government corruption are “dirt bags.”

  • Invasive Evasion

    The right of a billionaire to flood the airwaves with lies of his choosing, and to have influence over the outcome of an election far exceeding his right to vote, destroys our right to have a government which represents our interests. Dishonesty is a factor in free speech, which is why we have laws against slander and libel. Those laws, if applied to political ads, as they should, would at least provide some possibility of a substantive discussion of public policy.

  • Invasive Evasion

    That’s like using a person a serial killer didn’t murder as evidence of his character.

  • Invasive Evasion

    You are incorrect. People in states in which republican governors refuse to accept federal aid do NOT have the option to sign up for Medicaid. Are you arguing that letting people end up in the ER is a cost reducing measure?

  • Invasive Evasion

    Now you’re acknowledging that Medicaid IS being denied, when in your previous comment you said it wasn’t being denied. You think a person who cannot afford healthcare is ecstatic that their option is illness and death?

  • Invasive Evasion

    Are you saying that the constitution, which outlines our collective rights, is a mistake?

  • Nicko Thime

    That you use terms like collectivist show that you are drinking too much tea.
    Freedom can’t be advanced by putting free speech up for sale.

  • Invasive Evasion

    Because a person’s behavior is more accurately described by a recurring pattern, and not the exception.

    Only 5 republicans voted to confirm Kagan, 36 tried to block her. If that is your evidence for republican support of liberal justices, then you’re making the case against yourself.

  • Anonymous

    Soros funds politicians that advances HIS socialist agenda.
    Buffett advocates for tax and energy policies that help him.
    Bloomberg spends money to advance his anti-rightist agenda.

    Your “facts” are merely your opinion.

  • Anonymous

    Betrayed their duty by upholding the Constitution?

    That idea speaks volumes about the progressive mindset.

  • Anonymous

    So, in this pipe dream, how does one finance a political campaign? Why should my free speech be restricted if I want to support a friend or family member in such a campaign. Why should I not be allowed to join with others and pool our support to advance our ideas?

  • Anonymous

    You say “tomato”

    I say “tomahto”

    To this day, we only have her ravings….no evidence.

  • Anonymous

    Yep. Not a single collective right is mentioned. Rights pertain to the individual and are limits on government action.

    Your idea that free speech exists only when everyone has an equal voice is ludicrous. THAT will never be achieved. Equal outcomes is a pipe dream.

  • Anonymous

    Thank you for opposing the Soros and other leftwing media buyouts.

    Because the conservatives haven’t done this.

  • Anonymous

    And yet, you probably still didn’t criticize him.

    Thus, you aren’t concerned about him, just how he supports you.

    Free speech is an end to itself. One should always be able to support whomever you want.

  • Anonymous

    I am not incorrect. Medicaid still exists in every one of those states. Medicaid EXPANSION is not. Because that program WILL end up bankrupting the state and states cannot print money.

    Are you arguing that cancelling millions of policies, increasing taxes for subsidies, raising rates and deductibles, lessening choice, and setting up an incompetent system for billions of dollars…..is cheaper than subsidizing the use of the ER or other services?

  • Anonymous

    No I’m not. Medicaid still exists.

  • Anonymous

    Please….point out one of these “collective rights.”

    This is the only one that does not apply to people or persons in the BoR is this one.

    The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively,or to the people.

    But I’m sure Breyer doesn’t like that one either.

    But I’m sure that you can find one.

    Go ahead.

  • Anonymous

    The fact that this is your reaction shows that you didn’t read Breyer’s dissent claiming collective rights. He does this in Heller too.
    Also, the fact that you think that collective rights exist means that you have to go back to civics class.

    Free speech is an end to itself.

  • Nicko Thime

    The fact that you don’t makes you a fan of a meth addict, Ayn Rand.
    Free speech IS an end in itself and should not be SOLD to the highest bidder. Unless you think that BRIBERY should be enshrined.
    But hey, that’s how the right rolls. Wholly BOUGHT.

  • JonThomas

    If I may interject…

    As you’ve pointed out, this person, ‘cargosquid’, speaks disingenuously (at best)… I believe you used the word ‘troll’.

    You are not wrong in your rebuke of cargosquid’s ideas, but if I may be so bold, you are close to making a mistake.

    Cargosquid, by submitting the term… “collective rights”… created a classic strawman.

    I have not read where Justice Breyer used the term ‘collective rights.’

    Perhaps it was somewhere else, but it wasn’t in the passages posted in this article.

    The term that Justice Breyer did use is… “collective speech.” Cargosquid bastardized the term and then proceeded to attack his own bastardization.

    This is a classic strawman technique employed by trolls.

    The mistake is in accepting his premise.

    The right to collective speech is well documented.

    As you pointed out those rights are the basis for, and written into, the Constitution. Imagine if the Colonists weren’t allowed to collectively tell that overly powerful, extremely wealthy individual… what was his name…oh yeah – King George… , and the rest of his cronies that they ‘weren’t going to take it’ anymore.

    Just speaking against the King was sedition.

    The very crime of the colonists was collectively speaking up against the Throne and it’s mandates.

    They saw it as their right to act as a collective. Did they then have ‘collective rights’? Maybe, but that question is immaterial to the words of Justice Breyer.

    It’s a herring. A false path in this debate.

    The fact is that people do have the right to come together and act and speak as a collective. When they do, they (as a ‘collective’) have the right to speak and, as the colonists did 240 years ago, to rebel and establish a Constitution for the collectivized ‘People’. Then, as such a collective, they had the right to continue to act as such.

    People always have the protected right to speak, and act, as a collective against powerful individuals

    As Justice Breyer did point out, in a Republic which relies upon democracy, public opinion matters a great deal…

    If the people (a collective of individuals, and usually the majority) have their ability to be heard as a group, drowned out by powerful, wealthy individuals with vast amounts of money to spend on gaining access to avenues of speech (such as mass media, and direct, and special contact to representatives) then the rights of the public to equal access to the workings of democratic institutions are limited.

    The unlimited use of money threatens the very foudations of these democratic institutions.

    As Justice Breyer, writing for the majority pointed out…

    Consider at least one reason why the First Amendment protects political speech. Speech does not exist in a vacuum. Rather, political communication seeks to secure government action. A politically oriented “marketplace of ideas” seeks to form a public opinion that can and will influence elected representatives….

    The First Amendment advances not only the individual’s right to engage in political speech, but also the public’s interest in preserving a democratic order in which collective speech matters.

    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. That is one reason why the Court has stressed the constitutional importance of Congress’ concern that a few large donations not drown out the voices of the many….

    The “appearance of corruption” can make matters worse. It can lead the public to believe that its efforts to communicate with its representatives or to help sway public opinion have little purpose. And a cynical public can lose interest in political participation altogether.

  • Anonymous

    I’ve read enough of the history of the Supreme Court, including enshrining footnotes by clerks creating personhood for corporations that I’m not especially inclined to acquiesce to their declarations of what the constitution means. After all, look at how many long standing Supreme Court rulings the Roberts court has overturned, some as established as any other rulings.

    They are corrupt and show what a mistake it was for them to have been given life-long tenure and the ability to act as a virtual legislature and executive rolled into one when they are unanswerable to The People, the most undemocratically appointed part of our democratically flawed federal government.

  • Anonymous

    Funny… I don’t remember seeing her name on the Constitution….

    Free speech is not being sold.

    Of course,the left’s media and billionaires love the old system… they already had access.

    You really should read Justice Robert’s comments. You might learn something.

  • Anonymous

    Then you should also be against the laws that they previously found constitutional.

  • Anonymous

    Hardly. The Roberts court decision is wrong on so many fronts, but that is the inevitable result when collective ideology subverts reasoned decisions, but I do understand your application of the right wing strategy that if you have no sensible argument, change the conversation. Nice try.

  • Anonymous

    That doesn’t necessarily follow. Do you accept all of the decisions of the Warren Court as being settled law?

    With few exceptions, the Republicans recently on the court, especially those with a connection to the Federalist Society have been engaged in a bald attempt to destroy self-government by an accurately informed People as well as making blatantly partisan decisions, as partisan as handing the presidency to George W. Bush, very possibly because Sandra Day O’Conner wanted to retire when a Republican would replace her, and handing corporations and ideologically right-wing groups the power to destroy the consent of the governed. The government which they are trying to establish will lack any legitimacy due to that.

    I don’t think we’re going to be safe until the stranglehold that the far right has on the Supreme Court is ended and the manner of choosing Justices is reformed, including having a term limit for Supreme Court members.

  • Nicko Thime

    Nothing Justice Roberts has to say on the subject will be anything but rightwong drivel.

  • Anonymous

    You have it reversed. It is Breyer that is a collectivist.

    I see that you have no argument other than insults or false accusations. You don’t even understand what “neo-con” means if you think that it applies in this case.

  • Anonymous

    I’m sure that you were horribly upset with the rulings against self government in California against Prop. 8.

    Your statement that the presidency was handed to GWB is evidence that you aren’t a serious person and have no idea how the government works.

  • Anonymous

    So…in other words, you would rather argue from ignorance and bigotry.

    Okay then.

  • Anonymous

    It isn’t possible to sustain egalitarian democracy with every possible choice by a majority in an election, egalitarian democracy is the only form of democracy that is sustainable and desirable. It wouldn’t be possible for democracy to be compatible with an overwhelming vote to abolish democracy. If the majority of citizens in a state voted to disallow the marriage of people from different ethnic groups by an enormous and overwhelming majority, it wouldn’t be just. If a state banned marriage by infertile people by an overwhelming majority it would be a denial of equal rights with absolutely no public interest that would override personal rights. In the case being brought this week, the claim is irrational, that there is any kind of injury done to the procreation of children within marriage. There is no rational case to be made that anyone is harmed by allowing gay people to marry.

    Though I don’t trust the Republicans on this court to not have some corrupt motive in concurring in an otherwise good decision.

    I’m happy to be able to tell you that no matter how many times Republicans and their enablers in the corporate media repeat the lie that George W. Bush was legitimately elected in 2000 that the truth that it was the Bush v.Gore five on the Supreme Court won’t be buried. It was the most shameful and baldly illegal act of the Supreme Court in the past century. It produced what was arguably among the worst two or three administrations in American history. Which proves that the Supreme Court should be constitutionally banned from ever doing that again and that the constitution must be corrected so no Supreme Court can hold that there isn’t a fundamental right to vote and to have every vote counted.

  • Anonymous

    In my state, Maine, the worst governor in the North East just vetoed Medicaid expansion against a bi-partisan majority in the legislature, knowing that the right wing Republicans will sustain his veto. Though I’m sure you couldn’t possibly care less, people will be permanently injured and die because of John Roberts, who is fully covered by the government. He is contemptible.

  • Anonymous

    It’s clear that you are trolling as others here have commented. Troll elsewhere neo- dude.

  • Anonymous

    YOU know the truth!

    Good for you.

    You keep believing!

  • Anonymous

    Darn those Constitutional limits on gov’t mandates.

    Good thing that your governor is fiscally responsible and not signing up for the disaster.

    I’m sure people are just falling over in the street now…oh…they’re not? Whatever did your state do before Obama came along to save you?

  • Anonymous

    Not trolling.

    Having a discussion.

    Unfortunately, you can’t seem to have one, being logically challenged.

  • Anonymous

    Maine was expanding healthcare availability under Dirigo Health, passed by the previous Democratic governor and Democrats in the legislature, as I recall not a single Republican voted for it. LePage and the Republicans who got control of the legislature in 2010 pretty much ended that progress.

    Republicans have organized around the hatred of poor people, including the working poor. They and the media they control have sold the message that The People are a luxury that the country can’t afford.

  • Anonymous

    Riiiiight….

    You should loosen that tin foil.

    You forget…..money does not grow on trees….so what were you willing to give up to help these poor people?

    States cannot print money. And the feds are 17 trillion in debt. We are broke.

    So…how are you going to pay for this?

  • Anonymous

    Your boy Bush II ran his illegal invasion of Iraq on the credit card as he gave massive tax breaks to billionaires and corporations. Not to mention the outright thefts and incompetence. Republicans are the champion spendthrifts whenever they get hold of the federal government. Same thing on the state level.

  • Anonymous

    My logic, well I said It was predicted that this gent Roberts was going to do something like this all the way back when he was confirmed – where’s the logic issue?

  • Anonymous

    Again…deflection.

    Bush is old news.

    How are you going to pay for it.

    And you really want to compare incompetence?

  • Anonymous

    You’re calling him a dirt bag now…but did you call him a dirt bag when he supported ACA?

    The better question is…not why did the majority vote the way they did, but why did the minority not support free speech?

  • Anonymous

    Oh, no, the Bush II regime’s costs are hardly old news, not his credit card tab for his wars, not his giveaways to billionaires and multi-millionaires, not the wreck he made of the public infrastructure of this country. And Jebbie is floating a run. No doubt the corrupt Roberts court would do for him what the corrupt Rehnquist court did for his brother. I assume you want to compare Barack Obama with the Bush II regime? I don’t see an illegal invasion sold on lies that will cost the country many hundreds of billions of dollars. I’d talk about the enormous numbers of lives lost but I doubt you care any more about Iraqis and service members than you do those who will die as Republican governors and legislators use them as political pawns to be disposed of.

  • Anonymous

    Only to the extent they have been corrupted by industry. Certainly the rest of the developed countries are doing much better than us using the federal system to deliver healthcare and communications. When candidates can only present themselves live and with equal time over the cable/internet system, then the people’s will is going to be restored to our democracy, no matter how much wealth individuals or corporations attain.

  • Anonymous

    Of course its not old news to sufferers of Bush Derangement Syndrome like yourself.

    Of course, it wasn’t an illegal invasion, nor was it built on lies…but I know that I won’t change your mind. Go ahead and talk about the Iraqis and soldiers all that you want…unlike yourself, I was there.

    If you want to talk Billions….then you must be horribly upset at the 1 trillion dollar, unpaid for deficits that your man Obama is doing. Or the unpaid for “stimulus” packages….or the off the books 85 billion per month propping up the stock market….

  • Anonymous

    Weapons of mass destruction, uranium purchases, involvement with 9-11. It was lies from start to false finish as Bush II bulging improbably out of the straps of a flight suit declared it over, almost a decade before it was over.

    You were there, were you. Profiteering?

  • Anonymous

    Yes, he was a still a dirt bag when he supported ACA, but not for that particular reason. Sometimes I worry politics are just too nuanced for the average american.

  • Anonymous

    And as for the other part of your question, I’m not sure I know what you’re referring to. Make it a little more clear.

  • Anonymous

    Well, its good to know that you are intellectually honest. I’m sure that you rebuked him then, for going against the popular will.

  • Anonymous

    Why did the minority opinion not support free speech? THAT is the real question.

  • Invasive Evasion

    You make an excellent nuanced point. Unfortunately, it’s far too sophisticated to be useful in a comment section against a troll.

    On an unrelated issue, I always assume that the right wingers on the court understand how they are destroying democracy, and are doing it deliberately. Is it possible that they genuinely don’t understand what they are doing, that their decisions are based on naivete? Any thoughts on that?

  • Invasive Evasion

    I absolutely agree with that. The entire election process needs to be changed. How about locking candidates in a room, and requiring them to give their views on a list of issues, with their reasoning for those opinions, with no help from any staff members. How about requiring potential candidates to take tests on history, economics, government, and basic science literacy. Our election process makes no attempt to screen for substance, only for appearances.

  • Anonymous

    The only people that have misled over the ACA are the President and the Democrats. THEY lied repeatedly to our faces.

  • Anonymous

    Boy, they’re going to roll you long before you catch on!

  • Anonymous

    You really need to do better research. I’ll leave you to it.

  • Anonymous

    So…you’re actually saying that if you want to keep your plan and your doctor and lower your costs by $2500, that you can.

    Really?

    You’re going with that? You’re saying that the President and Democrats told the truth?

  • JonThomas

    Thank you for your kind words. I agree with your assessment of the point’s useless(ful)ness… which is exactly why I addressed it to you and not the the other. ‘Pearls before swine’ and all that…

    I do look at the court (and really all similar matters) a bit differently from the view of which you describe.

    I try to not prejudge a person’s motivations. Such presumption, while not necessarily leading to incorrect inferences, forces too many variables.

    I try to give a person the benefit of the doubt, yet plenty of rope for self-hanging. However, I’m not so quick to ensure that the trap door on which they are standing is securely fastened. In some cases I might figuratively unlatch it.

    When it comes to the court, I really do not think the right-leaning Justices are out to ‘deliberately… destroy democracy.’

    However, I also do not believe they are in any way naive.

    In my best reckoning (again, trying to view their actions and words separate from what I might suppose as their motivations,) is that they – especially Justices Scalia and Thomas who proudly admit it to be so – ascribe to “Originalism”.

    As I’m sure you are aware, the Constitution originally did not define who could or could not vote little further than “People of the several States…”

    The original understanding left it up to the ‘several’ States to decide who was considered to be eligible voters and (without going into the details of the oft forgotten or neglected electoral college) electors.

    True there have been a number of amendments, along with clear case law surrounding eligibility, but from what I figure, that is a secondary consideration to the originalists. Given the opportunity, these judges would quickly reverse much of past case law to reflect what they perceive as ‘original intent’.

    From an ‘Originalists’ perspective therefore, democracy and citizenship is a state matter and not directly an issue for the Supreme Court. The amendments and case law are indeed issues that do warrant Supreme Court oversight, but an originalist is going to look at each case from the original ratified version of the constitution.

    As you are also no-doubt aware, many of the original states only allowed property-owning (wealthy) males to vote.

    Therefore, whether I have this correct or not, from an originalist’s perspective, the actual power, the influence itself, comes from wealthy individuals who own what many believe to be ‘a stake’ in the outcome of the nation.

    This even accounts for people who call on changing voter eligibility standards to include only those who have at least a testable level of civic participation.

    Do I believe I’m correct in my estimation? I honestly have no idea. However, when I view the decisions from the court, the continued power they hand over to corporations and the wealthy, and the messages sent by the ‘conservatives’ and reactionaries from around the nation, I do believe this is at the heart of these Justices’ ideological perspective.

    The only power which The People (the rabble) have to influence their political representatives is through this concept which Justice Breyer wrote about… collective speech.

    Sure, you can write a letter, you can call your Congressman, you can take part in town hall meetings, but will they answer your call personally?

    Can you throw a party and they show up? Can you hear a Governor say “Occupied Territories,” get on the phone, and have him in a small chair in front of your huge, imposing desk in a matter of hours?

    This is the issue. Power! Influence! A question of who has a real vested interest in shaping the direction of the Country.

    Is it slaves who are counted at 3/5′s of a person, or wealthy, landed people who employee millions of serf-like dependents? To Whom really do representatives lend an ear? To whom should they lend their ears?

    And once isolated in that world of influence, whose ideas and plights are Representatives and Judges sympathizing with?

    Oh sure, they can pretend to be on food stamps for a month, but that does not – in any way – give insight into the insecurity and powerlessness which comes from not having an out when the month is over.

    When do you think was the last time that a Representative or a Judge spent more than 5 minutes speaking with, and trying to actually understand the perspective from, anyone who might have a good idea but no time or money to fund a campaign?

    I laugh when I hear these people say things like… ‘I grew up poor. I know what it’s like…”

    NO THEY DON’T! They, at best, spent 18 years of immaturity, without responsibility under such conditions. They have NO IDEA what ‘it’s like.’

    Power and influence (2 aspects of the same notion) are self-promoting. It creates a situation which conditions any human.

    Do the Justices realize that they are ‘destroying democracy’? I don’t know. I think they are just following the self-perpetuating cycle of this situational conditioned programming.

    Will it destroy democracy? That depends on their definition of democracy, and how they perceive the Constitution allows for such defined democracy.

    I mean, imagine if the constitution was clear on who was eligible to vote. The Justices would be confined to uphold that definition, even if it excluded non-land owners.

    Only a progressive viewpoint would allow for ‘improvement’, and only when such would agree on what constitutes ‘improvement.’

    Well, enough pretension from me… did you read this article posted today?… http://billmoyers.com/2014/04/14/cant-we-just-say-the-roberts-court-is-corrupt/

    And thank you for the opportunity to obviate.

  • Anonymous

    So, apparently, you are.

    Typical. They have already rolled you.

  • Richard Carter

    If one recalls Pres. GW Bush nominations to Mr. Roberts’ office on the Court: First he nominated a clearly inexperienced and incompetent lackey from his W.H. legal team — what was her name? She was so clearly a scary choice that virtually the whole legal and judicial milieu (Left, Right and Center) were relieved when he withdrew her nomination. Then came Mr. Roberts.

    I watched his confirmation hearing. Other than a sort of squint that reminded me of someone having contact lens problems, he was confident and humble. Self-effacing even. Under questioning, “activist judges” being a hot accusation then, he stressed his dedication to stare decisis. Again and again. He appeared a judicious potential judicial official. He had been both a government and a private practice lawyer, and as a judge on the D.C Circuit (nominated by Pres. GHE; Bush (2003) but not confirmed, and from 2003 after GWB nomination and Senate consent.).

    He had extensive knowledge of S. Ct. jurisprudence (faculty of Georgetown or a while earlier, clerk to Justice Rehnquist, preparation of many S. Ct. cases.). In addition to his reassurance to the senators about supporting stare decisis [a new term to me; it means "precedent"; without strong evidence of need to change, following earlier decisions.], he that emphasized that he believed in following Congressional intent. All-in-all, a restrained and, shall we say, conservative jurist. I remember too that he said several ways that he had no overriding judicial philosophy. Consider case by case.

    But, as subsequent decisions have shown, and this article argues in particular, John Roberts’ confirmation testimony was, if not outright false, then mendacious. On stare decisis, for instance, in Citizens United the only precedent upheld was the one from years ago that said corporations are people when it comes to political speech.

    Overall impression in 2005 was that most of the Senate was relieved to have a “sensible” nominee to consider. in reaction they accepted the seeming acceptable. Struck me at the time that this could be a sort of bait and switch by President Bush (or his advisors). Still (looked up the numbers), Judiciary Committee voted 13-5 and the full Senate consented 78-22, all 22 against being Democrats. Perhaps some of these no votes were not taken in. In any case, we’re stuck with him and with the deteriorating public trust of now this third branch of government. It, too, is no longer ours.

    PS: name came: Harriet Meiers.

  • Anonymous

    Absolutely not. I’m saying that there’s been lots of lying about this by the GOP. In response to “The only people that have misled over the ACA are the President and the Democrats” – that’s where the research will come in handy.

  • Anonymous

    I think you’re worried that someone will deceive you – that’s a good thing to worry about – but you need to be a little more discerning about who you trust ;)

  • Anonymous

    Really…..the GOP is where you’re concentrating?

    Please…point out these GOP lies.

  • Anonymous

    I’m sorry, I didn’t realize you were too special to use google! Send my apologies to your mother :)

  • Anonymous

    but since I’m a nice guy, here’s a quickie compilation. I predict you’ll complain about the source and forget to read any of it. http://themoderatevoice.com/193656/coverage-of-the-success-of-obamacare-and-debunking-republican-lies/

  • moderator

    gfink2 and cargosquid,

    I think you will have to agree to disagree. Please move on before this thread falls outside of our comment policy.

    Thanks
    Sean @ Moyers

  • moderator

    cargosquid and gfink2

    I think you will have to agree to disagree. Please move on before this thread falls outside of our comment policy.

    Thanks

    Sean @ Moyers

  • Anonymous

    Prove your assertions….that’s how it works.

  • Anonymous

    Except for the fact that they do not provide evidence, but repeat talking points…. it would be a valid source.

    Anyway….I think we’re done here.

  • Anonymous

    Ooops, the moderator has asked us to stop engaging.

  • Anonymous

    Well I see you got in the parting shot that consisted of what I predicted. This is why you should do your own research, which as you’ll recall was what I said to start our whole exchange. :)

  • Anonymous

    I did my own research. I know what I know. I wanted you to prove your assertions since I already know that I’m right that the Democrats are the ones that lied.

  • Anonymous

    Just can’t stop…

  • Anonymous

    Perhaps I should also remind you that your original response was that the GOP never lies. Which is a bit polyannish

  • Anonymous

    No…I said that that GOP isn’t lying about the ACA. That it is the Dems doing that. OUR predictions and statements have come true.

  • Anonymous

    Yeah, but in my experience that’s not true at all. I do think plenty of people ON BOTH SIDES are lying about this issue. Don’t be afraid to look a little harder because I can tell you for certain that you aren’t getting the whole story, but you’ve already set things up so that you can’t hear anyone who tells you that. You’ve constructed it that way. Ask someone else for proof, then dismiss the content and ridicule the source. And scoff at the idea of doing your own research. Presto – self fulfilling prophecies, and no sullying of a beautiful mind.