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Thu May 31, 2012, 05:23 AM

Citizens United Attacks From Justice Stevens Continue

WASHINGTON -- A day after receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom, retired Justice John Paul Stevens on Wednesday night backed President Barack Obama's suggestion during his 2010 State of the Union address that the Citizens Uniteddecision could lead to "foreign entities" bankrolling American elections.

He urged the U.S. Supreme Court to explicitly explain why the president's words were "not true," as Justice Samuel Alito famously mouthed on camera, breaking the justices' usual stoic appearance during the president's annual speech.

Stevens has been a trenchant critic of Citizens United since the court decided the case in January 2010. On the day the opinion was announced, he spent 20 minutes reading from the bench a summary of his 90-page dissent. Stumbling over some words that day convinced Stevens, now 92, to retire, but he continued to condemn the ruling in speeches, writings and even on the Colbert Report.
In a speech at the University of Arkansas' Clinton School of Public Service, Stevens challenged his former colleagues to defend Alito's "not true" moment by reconciling the court's sweeping language in Citizens United that the First Amendment "generally prohibits the suppression of political speech based on the speaker's identity," with its subsequent decision -- made without briefing, argument, or written opinion -- to uphold a ban on campaign spending by non-citizens.

Alito's reaction, Stevens said, "persuade me that that in due course it will be necessary for the court to issue an opinion explicitly crafting an exception that will create a crack in the foundation of the Citizens United majority opinion." In doing so, he continued, "it will be necessary to explain why the First Amendment provides greater protection to the campaign speech of some non-voters" -- that is, domestic corporations -- "than to that of other non-voters" such as the Canadian Harvard Law School graduate who remains barred from making campaign contributions.

The lawsuit brought by the Canadian citizen "unquestionably provided the court with an appropriate opportunity to explain why the president had misinterpreted the Court's opinion in Citizens United. "he court instead took the surprising action of simply affirming the district court without comment and without dissent."

[link:http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/30/citizens-united-justice-stevens_n_1557721.html|

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Arrow 18 replies Author Time Post
Reply Citizens United Attacks From Justice Stevens Continue (Original post)
geefloyd46 May 2012 OP
tclambert May 2012 #1
underpants May 2012 #2
aggiesal May 2012 #17
Paka May 2012 #3
90-percent May 2012 #4
Foolacious May 2012 #7
TrollBuster9090 May 2012 #5
meow2u3 May 2012 #10
JDPriestly May 2012 #12
fasttense May 2012 #6
RitchieRich May 2012 #8
ladjf May 2012 #9
JDPriestly May 2012 #11
daaron May 2012 #13
RitchieRich May 2012 #14
daaron May 2012 #16
DonCoquixote May 2012 #15
tomtharp Jun 2012 #18

Response to geefloyd46 (Original post)

Thu May 31, 2012, 06:42 AM

1. Citizens United DOES allow foreign money to influence our elections.

And it allows tremendous opportunity for corruption, specifically selling political influence for money. It's all legal as long as corporations do it. Human beings? Sorry. Your rights are limited.

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Response to tclambert (Reply #1)

Thu May 31, 2012, 07:13 AM

2. AND it explicitly allows for anonymity of donors

no more newsmeat.com information about who gives what to whom

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Response to underpants (Reply #2)

Thu May 31, 2012, 06:51 PM

17. Yes, but it's still illegal to ...

use foreign money in our elections.

So, expect the Republican's to fight like mad men when we try to make
this more transparent. There is no way they'll let transparency work
its way into Citizens United. And, the 5 Supreme Court Justices that
allowed Citizens United to happen will twist and contort all kinds of
laws to make sure transparency is not implemented.

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Response to geefloyd46 (Original post)

Thu May 31, 2012, 07:16 AM

3. Thank you Justice Stevens.

We need more like you on the court which is why we have to re-elect President Obama this November for four more years!

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Response to geefloyd46 (Original post)

Thu May 31, 2012, 07:18 AM

4. Thom Hartmann

I hope I got this correct.

He postulated that it's possible Ahmadinejad himself is shoveling millions into Rove's heinous Un-American PACS.

I think there is no law or enforcement agency that could even stop such a thing.

Thank you, Citizens United!

-90% jimmy

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Response to 90-percent (Reply #4)

Thu May 31, 2012, 07:52 AM

7. I think Justice Stevens's point,

in part, was this:

"...the court's sweeping language in Citizens United that the First Amendment 'generally prohibits the suppression of political speech based on the speaker's identity,'" means that non-citizens in the US have the right of free speech -- a finding that I, and most of us here, I suspect, do not dispute. Yet Citizens United extends those rights to US corporations (as if there were such things) but not foreign ones. On what basis? That only US, not foreign, corporations are equivalent to humans with respect to free speech?

There's no way for the judgment to stand as-is once an answer to that question is required. Either CU will have to be extended to include foreign corporations, which will send approximately 99% of Americans into a justifiable lather, or it will have to fall.

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Response to geefloyd46 (Original post)

Thu May 31, 2012, 07:24 AM

5. Three simple things to do would be to:

1) Round up a few foreigners who are willing to help, and get them to cut checks to dark money PACs. The checks are cashed, the money pooled with the other donors, and then spent on lobbying and/or political ads. Then, after the money's been spent the foreign donors come forward and chow the check stubs proving AS FACT that foreign money has and IS being used to finance American elections.

Next step is to simply ban any PACs from lobbying or buying ads unless they can PROVE that all their donors are American citizens.

(As an aside, whenever I heave conservative loons bloviating about Media Matters or other progressive groups being 'secretly' financed by George Soros (via 'money laundering') I like to point out that there's no need for him to secretly finance anything. Thanks to Citizens United, he's free to dump his entire fortune directly into Democratic election campaigns.)

2) Allow same foreigners to buy stocks in companies, wait for companies to lobby, donate money to PACs, and spend money on political ads. Then, again, let them come forward and prove that they are part owners of said companies, and thus foreigners were and are financing American elections through multinational corporations. Then BAN any corporations from lobbying or donating UNLESS they can PROVE that all their shareholders are American citizens.

3) Set up a shell company whose only purpose is to lobby Washington. Sell all the shares to foreigners on foreign stock exchanges, and then funnel the money through PACs. Again, prove that foreigners are partially financing PACs and possibly even the Chamber of Commerce, ALEC etc., and again ban all corporations from lobbying or donating unless they can prove all their stockholders are American citizens.

Finally, how about this one: five months before the election, Obama issues an EXECUTIVE ORDER forbidding the FCC from granting broadcasting licenses to networks and radio stations that accept political ads from PACs or corporations UNLESS they can prove that all their contributers, shareholders or donors are American citizens. Five months is a good time frame because it would GIVE many PACs the time to COMPLY, but would NOT give them time to mount a court challenge against it. Certainly not one that would be able to go all the way to the Supreme Court and be overturned by the Activist Five before the election. If it's overturned after the election, that's okay. We've still got two years to try something else.

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Response to TrollBuster9090 (Reply #5)

Thu May 31, 2012, 10:08 AM

10. Here's some evidence foreign money might be involved in funding superPACs

Explainer: Can Foreign Companies Make Political Donations?

Political Action Committees connected to foreign corporations have already raised over $5 million for the 2012 elections, continuing a trend of increasing contributions from U.S. subsidiaries of foreign interests.

In the entire 2000 election cycle, foreign-connected PACs raised just over $7 million. In 2008, the total shot up to $15 million. We’re on pace for another big year.

UBS, the Swiss financial services company, for example, is headquartered in Zurich and Basel, Switzerland, but its American subsidiaries are free to run a PAC (UBS Americas) to raise money for federal campaigns. UBS Americas is among Mitt Romney’s top 20 donors in the 2012 election cycle, having contributed almost $75,000. So is Credit Suisse, also headquartered in Zurich, whose U.S. subsidiaries have raised over $200,000. So is Barclays, headquartered in London, whose U.S. subsidiaries have raised over $150,000.

This is perfectly legal so long as it’s American employees running the PAC and contributing the money, and so long as the PAC remains unfinanced by the foreign parent corporation.

****************************
Here's the kicker:
The worry is that domestic subsidiaries would put their foreign parent company's political and economic interests ahead of their country's. Even with the prescribed separation of the U.S. subsidiary’s political activities from the foreign parent, it’s easy to imagine a situation in which those rules are bent or broken. It’s even easier to imagine this happening in a post-Citizens United world. In his 2010 State of the Union address, President Obama said that the Supreme Court had “reversed a century of law that…will open the floodgates for special interests—including foreign corporations—to spend without limit in our elections.”

If companies can set up Super PACs to get around campaign contribution limits, what other means might corporations both domestic and foreign find to funnel money into the political process? Especially when those foreign corporations have domestic subsidiaries.

In other words, foreign corporations are using domestic subsidiaries to influence borderline treason.

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Response to meow2u3 (Reply #10)

Thu May 31, 2012, 11:14 AM

12. And, don't forget. It would be easy for Mafia-like organizations to form a corporation

and contribute through a foreign bank. Things like that have assuredly happened. And they wouldn't need to donate through a bank. As I mentioned above, a foreign or off-shore casino that has a lot of leeway in how it accounts for the sources of its money would be a perfect shell for donations from people and interests that would not want to be identified -- let's say religious groups that don't want to lose their tax status but do want to manipulate our elections.

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Response to geefloyd46 (Original post)

Thu May 31, 2012, 07:33 AM

6. All things evil in this country have come from the Supreme Court.

First it was Bush v. Gore. Without that decision, we would not have had 9-11, we would not have had our leading federal enforcement agency sitting on their hands while terrorist planned attacks on our country.

The Supremes are responsible for the deaths of 9-11 and all the horror afterwords that the bushes created. It was their fault. It was their doing. The Supremes are traitors to our democracy.

And now we have elections ruled by the uber rich thanks to the Supreme Court's decision in Citizen United. We no longer have a democracy thanks to some evil little men on the court.

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Response to geefloyd46 (Original post)

Thu May 31, 2012, 08:11 AM

8. Relativity

If you give a Judge money during a trial you go to jail.
If you act against the country during war you commit treason and are subject to capital punishment.
If you purchase a senator you get their vote.

For all the talk I hear on this site about sticking with Obama no matter what because he wears a D, there seems to be little emphasis on the other branches or of other options. I suppose it is assumed that people will vote straight D, but it seems that we could have put up another D who stood for us- not the banks, not for NDAA. My day would improve if someone could list an example of when he has taken strong action, such as the well thought out hypothetical example above. I'm reminded of the article from yesterday- Romney standing by Trump being compared with Clinton condemning a far far far left Dem- because I can think of no such current example.

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Response to RitchieRich (Reply #8)

Thu May 31, 2012, 08:49 AM

9. I agree with your position on this.nt

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Response to geefloyd46 (Original post)

Thu May 31, 2012, 11:09 AM

11. I have thought who would be more suited to laundering money from foreigners for

meddling in our elections than someone with an offshore casino? Now I am just asking a question, not accusing or assuming. But think of it. People lose and gain money in casinos all the time. And if a casino is off-shore, who is to prove anything?

So, that is a thought.

Follow the money.

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Response to geefloyd46 (Original post)

Thu May 31, 2012, 11:23 AM

13. Thank you Justice Stevens!!

 

Some sanity. Some sanity at long last.

The SCROTUS' lack of judicial impartiality has opened it up to our criticism. If the other two branches of gov't can't reel these fuckers in, then it's going to be left to We The People to defy their laws, rendering their decisions moot.

We could do this. We already do, every time we break stupid laws ("Puff puff... 'Ere!") Let's break some more stupid laws and keep breaking them until they STAY BROKEN.

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Response to daaron (Reply #13)

Thu May 31, 2012, 01:24 PM

14. unfortunately

it would require cubic miles of (actual) patriot blood to defy the supreme court. They may only enforce certain items at it suits them, but watch how quickly the cities militairize if we mount any sort of meaningful pushback.

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Response to RitchieRich (Reply #14)

Thu May 31, 2012, 02:48 PM

16. True -- at least organized pushback.

 

But yeah, there's not a whole lot we can do about campaign finance reform, as individuals. We've been locked out of the democratic part of our Democratic Republic, it would seem.

Still... if anyone can think of a way to break the C.U. law, I for one would think less of breaking it than I do the law against jaywalking.

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Response to geefloyd46 (Original post)

Thu May 31, 2012, 01:51 PM

15. Stuff to hit idiots on the head with

Or Mr GOP, considering that the Ben Ladin family is still rich, what is to stop them from dropping a Billion to a candidate? Maybe they can make a nice infomercial "Israel, the hidden enemy."

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Response to geefloyd46 (Original post)

Fri Jun 1, 2012, 10:10 AM

18. Is this new?

 

Barack and Hillary were both campaigning/fundraising in merry ol England well before citizens united.

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