LAW RESOURCE INDIA

US Supreme Court Shreds Campaign-Finance Laws, Lifts Corporate Spending Restrictions

Posted in DEMOCRACY by NNLRJ INDIA on January 25, 2010

THIS IS AN IMPORTANT DEVELOPMENT IN DEMOCRATIC SYSTEMS OF GOVERNMENT. IF CORPORATES OPENLY START FUNDING ELECTION CAMPAIGNS THE VOICE OF AN ORDINARY CITIZEN WILL NOT BE HEARD. AS THE THINGS STAND TODAY LINCOLN MAXIM ON DEMOCRACY WILL HAVE TO BE CHANGED ” BY THE CORPORATES – FOR THE CORPORATES – TO THE CORPORATES” . FOR ALL OF US WHO LOVE DEMOCRACY IT IS AN IMPORTANT DEVELOPMENT AS NOW THE US FOREIGN POLICY WHICH HAS GREAT RAMIFICATIONS ACROSS THE GLOBE WILL BE RUN BY CORPORATES. THE BUSINESS OF THE CORPORATES WILL BE TO EARN MORE PROFIT FOR THE BUSINESS RATHER THAN HUMAN DEVELOPMENT AND WELFARE OF THE MANKIND. JUST IMAGINE THE RAMIFICATIONS ACROSS THE GLOBE.  THIS IS A NEW FORM OF COLONIZATION AND NEEDS TO BE CONDEMNED ACROSS THE WORLD AND AMERICANS IN PARTICULAR.

DETAILS OF THE JUDGMENT

In a sweeping 5-4 ruling, the US Supreme Court on Thursday struck down several longstanding prohibitions on corporate political contributions, saying legislative measures to control such spending infringed upon corporate First Amendment free speech rights. The majority framed the decision, which will now allow corporations and unions to spend unlimited treasury funds on independent campaign expenditures, as essential to American democracy.

“Speech is an essential mechanism of democracy, for it is the means to hold officials accountable to the people,” wrote Justice Kennedy, who authored the majority opinion joined by Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Samuel Alito, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas. “Political speech must prevail against laws that would suppress it, whether by design or inadvertently.”

Justice John Paul Stevens, who wrote the 90-page dissenting opinion, called the decision “profoundly misguided.”

The 57-page majority opinion held that provisions of the 2002 Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (BCRA), otherwise known as the McCain-Feingold Act, prohibiting corporations from spending general treasury funds on “electioneering communications” and independent campaign advertisements, are unconstitutional. In reaching the decision, the Court overturned the 20-year-old Austin v. Michigan Chamber of Commerce decision, which held that corporations could be banned from using general treasury funds for political purposes.

“The government may regulate corporate political speech through disclaimer and disclosure requirements, but it may not suppress that speech altogether,” wrote Justice Kennedy.

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