Thursday, January 21, 2010

Supreme Court Abandons Stare Decisis, Declares That Large Businesses Have Same Rights as People

In its continuing quest to become the worst Supreme Court in history, alongside the Taney Court, the Court has decided that fictitious persons--corporations--have the same first amendment rights as natural persons and may therefore spend huge amounts of money on political advertising. Equally seriously, the Court's majority was willing to abandon a century of precedent to render this decision. If the court majority is willing to abandon long-settled law ("stare decisis") for its politics, what law will stand?

Personally, I blame Obama. No, not really, though I note that Sotomayor concurred in part. But the Senate, and especially the Senate Democrats, they didn't stand up when it might have made a difference, and allowed the formation of a radical-right majority on the Court.

The Framers thus took it as a given that corporations could be comprehensively regulated in the service of the public welfare. Unlike our colleagues, they had little trouble distinguishing corporations from human beings, and when they constitutionalized the right to free speech in the First Amendment, it was the free speech of individ­ual Americans that they had in mind.--Justice Stevens, dissenting
Coverage at ScotusBlog.

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