Conservative activist judges defied precedent and judicial restraint to give unrestrained political speech to corporate entities and special interests without regard for the chilling effect on free speech for natural citizens. Roberts and Alito violated some of the very principles they claimed (during their confirmation hearings) made a good judge.
There is much I would like to say on the subject, but Justice John Paul Stevens has already said what needs to be said far more thoroughly and in greater detail than I could ever hope to. With difficulty, I condensed part of his dissent into what I devoted a whole page to.
Just for a taste, he said things like:
The basic premise underlying the Court’s ruling is its iteration, and constant reiteration, of the proposition that the First Amendment bars regulatory distinctions based on a speaker’s identity, including its “identity” as a corporation. While that glittering generality has rhetorical appeal, it is not a correct statement of the law.
The Court’s ruling threatens to undermine the integrity of elected institutions across the Nation. The path it has taken to reach its outcome will, I fear, do damage to this institution (SCOTUS).
Essentially, five Justices were unhappy with the limited nature of the case before us, so they changed the case to give themselves an opportunity to change the law.
The unnecessary resort to a facial inquiry “run[s] contrary to the fundamental principle of judicial restraint that courts should neither anticipate a question of constitutional law in advance of the necessity of deciding it nor formulate a rule of constitutional law broader than is required by the precise facts to which it is to be applied.”. Scanting that principle “threaten[s] to short circuit the democratic process by preventing laws embodying the will of the people from being implemented in a manner consistent with the Constitution.”
It is easy to take a few sound bites out of context, stripping it of it’s full and intended meaning. In my excerpt, I strove to remain faithful to the dissenting opinion of Justice Stevens, and the length shows it. The result only covers a portion of the dissent, and I recommend reading the whole dissent. If you do not have the time, at least start with my excerpts on my “Citizens United” page.
- Scholars and Law Professors Call for Constitutional Amendment to Reverse Corporate Take Over of Elections (grantlawrence.blogspot.com)
- Is Citizens United Hurting American Democracy? (politics.usnews.com)
- What is a Judicial Restraint? (brainz.org)
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