The Supreme Court of The United States (SCOTUS) struck down key parts of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law and the changes are impacting the 2102 election cycle. Among other things, the law (http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/PLAW-107publ155/content-detail.html ) barred union paid and corporate paid ads in election campaigns. It was an issue of First Amendment rights: freedom of speech and freedom to peacefully assemble. The repeal also affects campaign laws in 24 states. McCain-Feingold was nothing more and nothing less than a way to protect incumbents and preferred issues during elections. Members of Congress, Presidents, bureaucrats and entrenched lobbyists are forever inventing clever ways to protect their hold on power.
Because of this ruling, in a major error of decorum, the poorly mannered and arrogant President Obama mocked the Supreme Court Justices while they sat in attendance along with both houses of Congress for his State of the Union Address. Like many of the lies he has fabricated about his past, Obama imagines himself a constitutional lawyer and presumed to lecture the Justices. He is wielding and abusing the power of his office broadly through Executive Orders to changes to the legislative and treaty processes, to supporting rampant bureaucratic abuse of power by non-ratified czars and the rapidily expanding branches of his executive office, such as the EPA, Department of Interior and Health and Human Services. The stage is set for a full-on dictatorship. Disabled by a Democrat majority in the Senate and its equally malfeasant leader, Congress seems unable to stop the abuse of power until the 2012 election.
The First Amendment is abundantly clear: “Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech.” SCOTUS holds in this ruling, not for the first time, that the First Amendment applies to individuals as well as free assembly of individuals know as corporations. The SCOTUS holding says,“Premised on mistrust of governmental power, the First Amendment stands against attempts to disfavor certain subjects or viewpoints or to distinguish among different speakers, which may be a means to control content.” The court’s opinion is here: http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/09pdf/08-205.pdf
Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the majority opinion, which reads in part that there is “no basis for allowing the government to limit corporate independent expenditures.” “There is no basis for the proposition that, in the political speech context, the government may impose restrictions on certain disfavored speakers,” he wrote. “The government may regulate corporate speech through disclaimer and disclosure requirements, but it may not suppress that speech altogether.” He described campaign finance legislation over the last two decades as “censorship . . . vast in its reach.” Justice Kennedy is not known as a conservative Justice. All of this peeves the hubris of so-called liberals and progressives.
McCain-Feingold was heavily supported by George Soros and his plethora of political tax-free corporations, such as MoveOn.org. Soros gave $20 million to MoveOn.org, in his words, to defeat George W. Bush. McCain-Feingold made it a criminal offense for small groups of citizens or corporations to raise money and buy political ads; parts of the law – now repealed – required a large special purpose tax free corporation with offices in each state, which Soros et al could easily afford and did do, but for example, Wisconsin Right To Life or a local Tea Party could not afford.
John McCain and Russ Feingold have been and are wrong on many issues, frequently spun in the name of bi-partisanship or unity, or aisle crossing. The founders of this country consciously arranged our Constitution for a highly competitive government, so that the various branches of government and the parties were competitive and counter-balanced, and the press and We the People were the counterbalance opposing the entire government. Americans would be wize to ignore bi-partisan rhetoric and carefully analyze and fear legislation promoted by both Parties. In 2007, SCOTUS also struck down other parts of the same campaign finace reform law. It is sad that this latest SCOTUS decision was a close 5-4 decision, and even sadder that George W. Bush did not veto the bill.
“The punishment of wise men who refuse to take part in the government is to live under the government of worse men.” —Plato