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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
I recently spent a semester teaching writing at an elite liberal-arts college. At strategic points around the campus, in shades of yellow and green, banners displayed the following pair of texts. The first was attributed to the college’s founder, which dates it to the 1920s. The second was extracted from the latest version of the institution’s mission statement:
The paramount obligation of a college is to develop in its students the ability to think clearly and independently, and the ability to live confidently, courageously, and hopefully.
Let us take a moment to compare these texts. The first thing to observe about the older one is that it is a sentence. It expresses an idea by placing concepts in relation to one another within the kind of structure that we call a syntax. It is, moreover, highly wrought: a parallel structure underscored by repetition, five adverbs balanced two against three.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A naked man believed to be under the influence of LSD rammed his pickup truck into two police cars.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”