HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Main » Good Reads (Forum) » Justice Alito, Citizens U...
Introducing Discussionist: A new forum by the creators of DU

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 12:33 PM

Justice Alito, Citizens United and the Press

Last week, Justice Samuel Alito Jr. speciously defended the Supreme Court’s disastrous ruling in the 2010 Citizens United case by arguing that the ruling, which allowed unlimited independent campaign spending by corporations and unions, was not really groundbreaking at all. In fact, he said, all it did was reaffirm that corporations have free speech rights and that, without such rights, newspapers would have lost the major press freedom rulings that allowed the publication of the Pentagon Papers and made it easier for newspapers to defend themselves against libel suits in New York Times v. Sullivan.

“The question is whether speech that goes to the very heart of government should be limited to certain preferred corporations; namely, media corporations,” he said in a speech to the Federalist Society, a conservative group. “Surely the idea that the First Amendment protects only certain privileged voices should be disturbing to anybody who believes in free speech.”

But Justice Alito’s argument wrongly confuses the matter. It is not the corporate structure of media companies that makes them deserving of constitutional protection. It is their function — the vital role that the press plays in American democracy — that sets them apart. In Citizens United, by a 5-to-4 vote, the court ruled that the 2002 Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act, in limiting the amount that organizations could spend, severely restricted First Amendment rights. The law’s purpose and effect, according to the court, was to keep unions and most corporations from conveying facts and opinions to the public, though it exempted media corporations.

But the majority got that backward. The point of the law was to protect the news media’s freedom of speech and not the legal form that they happened to be organized under. While corporations make enormous contributions to society, they “are not actually members of it,” Justice John Paul Stevens said in his dissent. When the framers “constitutionalized the right to free speech in the First Amendment, it was the free speech of individual Americans that they had in mind,” he noted, not that of corporations.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/20/opinion/justice-alito-citizens-united-and-the-press.html?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=edit_th_20121120

7 replies, 1418 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 7 replies Author Time Post
Reply Justice Alito, Citizens United and the Press (Original post)
groovedaddy Nov 2012 OP
Uncle Joe Nov 2012 #1
benld74 Nov 2012 #2
groovedaddy Nov 2012 #7
eallen Nov 2012 #3
pacalo Nov 2012 #4
defacto7 Nov 2012 #5
The Magistrate Nov 2012 #6

Response to groovedaddy (Original post)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 01:20 PM

1. Indeed the false equivalence of money, speech, corporations and people

gives megaphones to the most affluent while drowning out the masses and thus only serves to hand monopoly to the "priviliged voices."



“The question is whether speech that goes to the very heart of government should be limited to certain preferred corporations; namely, media corporations,” he said in a speech to the Federalist Society, a conservative group. “Surely the idea that the First Amendment protects only certain privileged voices should be disturbing to anybody who believes in free speech.”



I have no doubt the malignant, corrupting effect of Citizens United will only grow in severity with time.

Thanks for the thread, groovedaddy.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to groovedaddy (Original post)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 04:32 PM

2. Blithering idiot

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to benld74 (Reply #2)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 12:11 PM

7. Merely doing the job he was put on the supreme court to do

furthering the cause of fascism!

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to groovedaddy (Original post)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 08:15 PM

3. How do you decide which corporations have a "press function"?

Does GE have a "press function"?

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to groovedaddy (Original post)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 10:31 PM

4. Bookmarking for later.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to groovedaddy (Original post)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 12:21 AM

5. Oh, that the simplest common sense

would rule our nations supreme court. If so, this atrocity called Citizens United would never have existed.

Time to break this 5 to 4 strangle hold on reason called TUSSC.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to groovedaddy (Original post)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 12:44 AM

6. I Want To See a Corporation Speak, Sir, Without An Owner or Employee's Lips Moving....

"The trouble with our modern corporations is that they have neither bodies to be kicked nor souls to be damned."

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Reply to this thread