Excellent introduction to aspects of regulating campaign financing

NY Times opinion piece by Linda Greenhouse provides a concise introduction to the Supreme Court’s pre-emptive (“at the very least, the court waits to be asked, rather than reaching out to decide the profound questions of the day”) treatment of campaign financing laws.

The issue at hand revolves around a challenge to existing federal restrictions on political spending by corporations – Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. Greenhouse writes that when the Supreme Court ordered a surprise reargument  order, “This was an aggressive move by the court’s new deregulatory majority: Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justices Samuel A. Alito Jr., Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Anthony M. Kennedy. In their view, a robust First Amendment right to political speech, for corporations as well as individuals, trumps all or nearly all rationales for regulating money in politics — including those the Supreme Court accepted as recently as 2003, when it upheld the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law. That decision, McConnell v. Federal Election Commission, is one of the rulings the court is now reconsidering, along with another from 1990.”

Greenhouse reflects both sides of the argument for regulating the use of political speech by corporations. LSW tends to take the view that this challenge to the existence of the slight regulation of money in politics presently extant in the nation could spell the end of any semblance of participatory democracy in the once viable U.S. of A., removing yet another membrane previously bravely set up to prevent the status of the country from being objectively called a ‘banana republic, a term usually reserved for Central American countries suffering from U.S. control of military and business sectors, whose democracy is corrupt at best and non-existent at worse.

Greenhouse writes much more evenly and her opinion piece provides an excellent introduction to the various sides of campaign finance regulation.

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