Supreme Court Ruling: Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission

Supreme Court Ruling: Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission

Wikipedia: Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, was a landmark United States Supreme Court case in which the Court held that the First Amendment prohibited the government from restricting independent political expenditures by corporations and unions.

Wikipedia: The First Amendment prohibits the making of any law respecting an establishment of religion, impeding the free exercise of religion, abridging the freedom of speech, infringing on the freedom of the press, interfering with the right to peaceably assemble or prohibiting the petitioning for a governmental redress of grievances.

The first amendment if examined closely sort of spells out a generic thrust or tone for expected national behavior but it jumps around a bit as to what it is point toward.  The first specific term used was “religion”.  This does NOT necessary imply a group of people but might be a personal belief.  The next specific term is “freedom of speech”.  This is not a group either but an individual freedom and extrapolated from those compiled individual freedoms one can form freedom of speech to larger groups of individuals such as the press, corporations and unions.  You can not give freedom of speech to one individual and take or diminish that freedom away when that person joins a group of other individuals.  In fact, the next part of the amendment goes on to make sure that when a group of individuals get together their individual freedoms do not diminish but they do have the (implied) ability to add their individual freedoms to form a more powerful voice when it is stated “right of peaceable assembly.

The first amendment is a very basic freedom of behavior and protection document for individuals and even specifies that the same singular behavior attribute be also applied to groups of individuals (implied in the wording).

The rather explosive component of Citizens United is their claim that money expenditure is also allowed as part of the freedom of speech.  This is a bit perverse when held up to the first amendment orthodox meaning.   The first amendment specified individual freedoms and that those individual freedoms can add one by one as INDIVIDUALS add their collective voices in the form of a group.

Problem:  Money is a most powerful medium.  It can be used to attain just about any desired outcome.  It can be used to give life and take it away.  It can be used to win or loose elections.  It can be used to do harm or do good.  It may be the ultimate medium of power.  The problem with money is it can be used to attain much more power than the singular citizen.  This is the corrupting element.  The first amendment spoke in terms of individual freedoms.  It did not think of allowing adding advantage to those who could buy influence beyond a single citizen’s voice.

If the “supreme” court could take the time to more fully understand the first amendment they would realize that they should move toward insuring one person, one vote of influence and try to support the idea of campaign reform by limiting expenditures and not continue to support the wishes of the oligarchs.

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