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Writing for the majority in the Citizens United v. FEC case, Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy stated: “The appearance of influence or access, furthermore, will not cause the electorate to lose faith in our democracy.”
I wonder what the learned justice would have to say about this story today from Politico:
As if voters weren’t mad enough at Washington, the Supreme Court apparently has given them one more reason to fume. According to a bipartisan poll released Monday, voters oppose by a 2-to-1 ratio the court’s ruling in Federal Election Commission v. Citizens United that cleared the way for corporations and unions to run political advertising…
Asked if special interests have too much influence, 74 percent of respondents said yes. Asked if members of Congress are “controlled by” the groups and people who finance their political campaigns, a whopping 79 percent said yes.
Justice Kennedy, for the majority, also stated: “Ingratiation and access, in any event, are not corruption.”
A campaign finance expert in town, who asked to remain unidentified, said of that:
“That means (a) you have a First Amendment right to suck up to your Congressman – which would seem to make the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act’s prohibition on gifts from lobbyists unconstitutional and (b) Members have a constitutional right to sell access to themselves, i.e., charge you for a meeting with them (which, in real life has long been the practice – come to my fundraiser and tell me what you’re working on . . . .).
“I don’t think people understand how radical the decision in Citizens United really is – its essentially a frontal assault on all attempts to prohibit political corruption invoking the principal of Free Speech.”
More from Ken Silverstein:
Perspective — October 23, 2013, 8:00 am
How pro-oil Louisiana politicians have shaped American environmental policy
Postcard — October 16, 2013, 8:00 am
A trip to one of the properties at issue in Louisiana’s oil-pollution lawsuits
Fleming awoke in the dark and his room felt loose, sloshing so badly he gripped the bed. From his window there was nothing but a hallway, and if he craned his neck, a blown lightbulb swung into view. The room pitched up and down and for a moment he thought he might be sick. The word “hallway” must have a nautical name. Why didn’t they supply a glossary for this cruise? Probably they had, in the welcome packet he’d failed to read. A glossary. A history of the boat, which would be referred to as a ship. Sunny biographies of the captain and crew, who had always dreamed of this life. Lobotomized histories of the islands they’d visit. Who else had sailed this way. Famous suckwads from the past, slicing through this very water on wooden longships.
A welcome packet, the literary genre most likely to succeed in the new millennium. Why not read about a community you don’t belong to, that doesn’t actually exist, a captain and crew who are, in reality, if that isn’t too much of a downer on your vacation, as indifferent to one another as any set of co-employees at an office or bank? Read doctored personal statements from underpaid crew members — because ocean life pays better than money! — who hate their lives but have been forced to buy into the mythology of working on a boat, separated now from loved ones and friends, growing lonelier by the second, even while they wait on you and follow your every order.
Rank of Detroit among major U.S. cities whose residents give the largest portion of their income to charity:
A South Dakota researcher concluded that only scant blood spatter results when chain saws are used to dismember pigs.
Four people were arrested for using a remote-controlled hexacopter to fly two pounds of tobacco to prisoners inside the yard at Calhoun State Prison in Georgia.
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Our congratulations to Alice Munro, winner of the 2013 Nobel Prize for Literature