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Alito and the Balance

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U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. has announced, while speaking to the very conservative Manhattan Institute for Policy Research that he will not likely be in attendance at President Obama’s next State of the Union Address, scheduled for January of 2011. It seems Alito was insulted by something the president said at the last State of the Union Address. As it happens, I remember it well, the justices had voted to give lobbyists and special interest groups, domestic and foreign, unparalleled rights to donate any sums of money, without transparency, to any candidate for Congress, or for the judiciary. Barack Obama in an atypical moment in his delivery expressed displeasure and disappointment. That particular ruling in favor of the corporations, which was spearheaded by Alito, and elevated by Alito to the point where the Supreme Court ruling was called for, reversed decades of precedent limiting those corporate rights. Alito and the court were influenced by the concept of the right of free speech for corporations.

This notion of free speech for corporations catches my attention. Individual Americans have interests in protecting their security, their rights, their freedoms, their right to have an unobstructed future. A domestic corporation has no such interest. A domestic corporation has as a goal the achievement of high profit, less expense, and we assume, to have certain leeway in dealing with corporate employees. Even a foreign corporation has more personality. A foreign corporation may have interests that modern corporate executives  would hold in disdain. Some of these interests could include, for example, the issue of settlement building in Israel, or conversely, the issue of maintaining the status quo on settlement building. A foreign corporation might be interested in influencing American drug laws; import, sale, legality, that kind of thing. A foreign corporation may favor selling weapons to Taiwan, or Saudi Arabia. The list goes on forever. With these thoughts in mind, the president may have been well motivated in his displeasure.

James Madison the father of the Constitution, discussed and advocated a tripartite system of American government. It should have three branches; the legislative, the executive, and the judicial. Each branch has its own set of responsibilities. The legislative makes the laws, the executive enforces the laws, and the judicial explains and applies the laws. Madison said, “The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many, and whether hereditary, self-appointed, or elected, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny.”

Beyond that, the Constitution establishes a system of checks and balances. Madison writes: “The only answer that can be given is, that as all these exterior provisions are found to be inadequate, the defect must be supplied, by so contriving the interior structure of the government as that its several constituent parts may, by their mutual relations, be the means of keeping each other in their proper places”. Whew! Simply stated, the three branches keep close watch one over the other, like a crouching tiger, awaiting the slightest breech, and when a breech is noted, the watcher comes forth with a strong and corrective response.

As a Supreme Court associate justice, Alito would be aware of that. When President Obama, the executive branch, criticizes the Supreme Court, the judicial branch, this is a clear example of the application and utilization of the balance of power principle. Some extreme thinkers might even criticize the president for not taking the matter far enough! Instead, Alito will follow in the footsteps of his patron, George W. Bush, and simply refuse to listen!

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About John Lake

John Lake had a long and successful career in legitimate and musical theater. He moved up into work behind the camera at top motion pictures. He has done a smattering of radio, and television John joined the Blogcritics field of writers owing to a passion for the liberal press, himself speaking out about the political front, and liberal issues. Now the retired Mr. Lake has entered the field of motion picture, television, and video game (now a daily gamer!) critique. His writing is always innovative and immensely readable!
  • Baronius

    The second you wrote that, my webcam activated. You scare me, Zing.

  • zingzing

    clavos: “zing, how did you get to be so naive?”

    well, i’m certainly not naive enough to write off all of humanity. and neither, i think, are you. you’re just frontin’. i can see right through you. you are sitting on a chair. i see all!

  • Writing all of humanity off as a lost cause seems at least as naive as looking for a silver lining.

    “Humanity” managed to produce Mozart and Billie Holiday and Elvis Costello, as well as Justin Bieber and hair-metal bands and Donny and Marie; the US Constitution as well as pea-brains like Christine O’Donnell who fail to understand it; Jesus and Buddha, but also L. Ron Hubbard; Lincoln as well as Hitler; Proust and Jacqueline Susann.

    The ridiculous and the sublime, the inspiring and the disgusting. Not one commenter on here hates all of the above, so pretending you do is kinda silly, eh?

  • John Lake

    I don’t suppose it matters much, but I may have been too quick to judge Juan Williams.

    If an anarchist doesn’t KNOW (!) he’s an anarchist, is he? See also: Tea Party People.
    That was the point.. right?

  • 49/51 – That IS depressing.

    Anyway, I happened to spend some time reading on the wikileaks Iraq documents yesterday. Then I saw an old video of Rumsfeld covering up what was happening. Hard to keep looking at the average things that go on, while people are just letting that stuff happen, and having pointless arguments, most of which contain admonitions to accept things the way they are instead of change them.

    I can’t really be a true misanthrope though, Clav…just depressed and hopeless about the human condition.

    nor would i actually be able to blow anyone up, zing. i wouldn’t even wish to cause an insect pain. we all have a life force in us.

    (Besides: True misanthropy and punishing intent would be best demonstrated/achieved, I would think, by just accepting things the way they are.)

  • Clavos

    welcome to reality. better start living in it.

    The depressing part is the realization that humanity is the best nature can do — pretty sorry top of the heap.

    zing, how did you get to be so naive?

  • zingzing

    clavos: “Now that’s depressing…”

    too damn bad? welcome to reality. better start living in it.

  • Clavos

    we’re all we’ve got.

    Now that’s depressing…

  • The fact that a 2004 story still comes up #1 in a Google search must have some significance. Here’s that article, plus a more recent one, along with NPR’s take at the time of the Citizens United ruling, since that is the topic of this article.

    Three Views on Global Warming
    GOP Victory May Be Defeat For Climate Change Policy
    Supreme Court Rips Up Campaign Finance Laws

  • zingzing

    meh. people are basically good, except when they get a taste of power. then things tend to go haywire. doesn’t happen all of the time, but it does happen often.

    how far does the definition of “innocents” go? most people aren’t really that interested in politics and are just trying to live their lives. people are individuals and if you go all misanthropic like clavos, or start blowing people up, as you’d say you’d do, you risk hating on or blowing up more good than you know.

    besides, what do you want, a population of cute, innocent bunny rabbits? fuck that. we’re all we’ve got.

  • Clavos

    i think…people suck, and i pretty much think they are worthless and i despise most of them

    You go girl!

    Send me some anarchist lit, I like the way you talk.

    Misanthropy rules!

  • best of my enemy? you don’t know me very well zing. i don’t feel above it all. and i will never get the best of those i disagree with.

    i think the world sucks, people suck, and i pretty much think they are worthless and i despise most of them (at least tonight). i could care less if it all went up in a nuclear mushroom.

    however…children and innocents deserve my paying attention.

    will i get the best of the pigs that abound? nah. i will settle for tossing a starfish or two back into the sea.

    sorry i can’t be one of those kinder, gentler folks who forgive everyone their sins like irene (whom i admire greatly). i am just another brute, and the only difference is i’d blow up different people than some other brute…at least tonight.

  • zingzing

    oh, cindy… if the anarchists could actually take over, or if they would, well, they wouldn’t be anarchists anymore. recusing yourself from the debate does nothing, nor does taking on the unfortunate pipedream of anarchism (barring something cataclysmic) as some sort of magical answer. the world has moved beyond the point where it could even hopefully work.

    being an anarchist and refusing to debate the (rather unfortunate, but real) politics of the day does nothing to change the world. it’s a good way to make yourself feel above it all though.

    when your ilk changes the world, i’ll certainly have to feel bad, as i view modern day politics as a necessary evil rather than anything good in itself, but i don’t see that coming, and you, just like the rest of us, will die thinking you got the best of your enemy.

    so count your years, and i’ll count mine.

  • Sorry about the glitch, Cindy. Should have stayed right on topic.

  • Got yer right wing / left wing deodorant right here (since you both smell bad).

    Please change the world soon. Or just die like your ilk thinking you got the best of your enemy.

    How many years do you have left to do this shit?

  • Zingzing, re #42. Each of us must do what he knows best how to do. However, I can see Nevada from my house here in Panama and things don’t look great there for Senator Reid; he plainly needs all the help President Obama and I can provide if the Democrats are substantially to increase their majorities in both houses of Congress. We must do more than merely hope!


  • zingzing

    dan, you should be working on voter caging. it’s much more simple and effective. whole swaths of people can be disqualified from voting, and it actually works! so start sending out those letters to all those damn urban minorities and just wait for them to come back. also, send out letters to liberal bastions telling them to vote at the wrong place and/or on the wrong day!

    dead people… what a waste of time. if you want to win, just keep the blacks and the liberals from voting. it’s so much easier.

    i’m glad you’re not eating the shit. you might consider a very strong deodorant before leaving the house however. stinker.

  • Handyguy — re # 38 — 2004 (with no link)? That’s so yesterday. Surely there must be something more recent.

    Zingzing — re #37. I’m not eating it; that would be a terrible waste. I plan to dabble in witchcraft this Halloween to help raise more dead people (including some of Senator Reid’s greatest living Americans) to vote; preparation time is needed.


  • Rarely do I hear anyone saying or doing anything I think is worthwhile.

    (We now return you to your regularly scheduled program of right vs left vs right vs left bashing event in order to assure that nothing changes. Thank you for your cooperation. Please continue.)

  • those on the left are better and smarter than those on the right

    Both ‘sides’ are equally stupid, brainwashed, mentally ill, and lacking in insight and their views are equally indefensible.

  • I just googled “NPR global warming.” The first item that came up was “Three Views on Global Warming,” from 2004. It features one skeptic, John Christy, and two ‘believers.’ All are reputable scientists, and no one could mistake the piece for political propaganda.

    But if a piece of journalism that [correctly] reports that most scientists believe carbon emissions raise global temperatures and that human activity increases carbon emissions — if that piece is automatically labeled leftist propaganda, then the problem is the politicization of science, not the quality of the reporting.

  • zingzing

    and your #33 was worthy of beck’s usual fantasies. you really don’t know your enemy. and so you spit up the propaganda.

    the science is there for global warming. i do believe that the left is “better,” and that’s why i support them, but i doubt that they’re smarter (at least politically), or else we wouldn’t lose so many elections. political correctness can be defined as anything you like, and i think the right tends to brush off hate speech and racism as if it were the rest of us are just being politically correct. it’s a nice try, but it’s grasping. as for the “vast rightwing conspiracy,” come on. the right sucks on the conspiracy teat all the time. “obama wants to destroy america.” “obama is a muslim.” “obama wants to kill grandma.” “obama wants to be a dictator.” “the left wants totalitarian rule.” “the left hates the constitution.” etc, etc, etc.

    as for your shit stew, that’s what i think you are eating, even if you don’t know it. but how you couldn’t know it is beyond me.

  • John Lake

    I just looked at the releases about Juan Williams, an NPR broadcaster, being fired for his comments about Muslims. This Williams must be an idiot!

  • Zingzing, re #34 — I certainly can’t argue with a compelling and persuasively supported argument such as that. Even Tina Fey could not have put it better on SNL!

    Whoops, my warlock’s cauldron is starting to boil and I must run to attend to it lest the fecal matter overcook. Please excuse me.


  • zingzing

    well, that mostly comes off as malarkey right there, a right wing fantasy of what the left wing thinks.

    you don’t give us enough credit. like most on the right wing, they have a serious disconnect between their actual enemy and their propagandistic vision of that enemy. you’re just spitting out the same old shit up there and it’s got very little to do with reality.

  • I do listen sometimes to NPR, via the internet, and also read some of their written stuff. Of course, if one totally and without reservation accepts the religion — opps, sorry, science — of global warming, the notions that those on the left are better and smarter than those on the right, that political correctness is an essential part of life in American, and that anything from the vast right wing conspiracy is, by definition, indefensible, it probably seems entirely non-biased and eminently fair.

    Isn’t Halloween coming pretty soon?


  • When a news outlet does not display bias in favor of the right, there are those who automatically label it as biased in favor of the left. This particular point of paranoia will apparently always be a part of the right’s catechism.

  • NPR does indeed provide fair and balanced [and superb] reporting. Try listening to them sometime, instead of spreading typically ugly, sneering Pajama Propaganda.

  • zingzing

    and you can have pajamas for your official ministry of truth, dan. when’s the last time you even listened to npr? do you know what’s on there? oh, it’s horrrrible.

  • Don’t worry, Mr. Lake. Even if no official Ministry of Truth is created, you will probably still have NPR for fair and balanced reporting.


  • John Lake

    Dan Miller has mentioned that “Corporations own our major television networks. It is certainly conceivable that they dictate to some degree the nature of the ‘news’ and ‘opinion’ broadcast.” In fact that truth is more important by far than the Citizens Union matter.
    If no news and/or opinion outlet could be subsidized by political interests, or clandestine interests, we would have to view objective and free news. At the least there should doubtless be regulatory policy over news outlets to assure objectivity. Radio is something to be avoided these days. The constant assault on the President and on the liberals is seldom balanced, and truly nauseating.
    We may consider ourselves lucky that through all the posturing we can still count on some outlets to provide some vestige of truth as to what goes on in the government and in the world.

    Incidentally, I don’t find Obama to be the perfect man. I do believe that this very intelligent and able man is doing his best in the face of obstructive politicians, and well established shady policies in Congress. I shudder to think what the world today would be like had McCain and Palin taken the reigns. McCain is impulsive, rules by emotion (not unlike Bush) and Palin hasn’t the background, intelligence, interest, or aptitude to govern anything.

    As to Democrats, I could mention that I am not all that happy with Ms Clinton. She is more savvy than Palin; she at the least has some understanding of the political world. On the positive side, Vice President Joe Biden, although a “loose cannon,” and a staunchly self sustaining individual, is underrated as to his grasp of foreign policy, and he has a true genius for dealing with foreign diplomats.

  • Glen, the reference (in Comment #23) was to what President Obama had said; I disagreed with it. Citizens United did not do what he said, as a reading of the decision would show.

    I see no valid reason to attempt to conflate the Supreme Court with the Republican party.


  • Glenn Contrarian

    Dan –

    “[L]ast week the Supreme Court reversed a century of law that I believe will open the floodgates for special interests ?”- including foreign corporations ?”- to spend without limit in our elections. (Applause.)”

    And is that or is that not what you said in comment #21?

    If more disclosure is needed — and I think it may well be — it’s up to the Congress to pass appropriate laws and for the President to sign them into law. That is not a function of the courts.

    And did I not just point out that Obama and the Democrats wanted to pass just such a law to require disclosure, and that the Republicans filibustered and bloc-voted against it to prevent its passage?

    And here’s a list of past statements by current Republican congresspersons supporting disclosure (some from this year)…so yes, the Republicans were FOR disclosure before they were against it. And why were they against it? Whatever they might claim, it’s because of the same reason they’ve voted against everything else that Obama supported that would seem to come from the Republican Party platform like tax cuts and the health care reform that was in many ways identical to what the Republicans proposed in 1996: they opposed it because Obama supported it…and ONLY because Obama supported it.

    I can dig and find statements by GOP congressmen who stated that their aim was total obstructionism, and such obstructionism was to be against ANYthing Obama supported, even bills that were co-authored by Republicans, or supported by Republicans in the recent past.

    But back to the issue of SCOTUS, does it makes sense that the Court make judgements that enables actions that endanger the democratic process with the supposed assumption that it was now up to Congress to pass a law to fix the problem that the Court just allowed to come into being? You can certainly argue the point from both sides (and so could I)…but I feel safe in saying that if this were something that the liberal (or at least less-conservative) justices of the Court did, the Republicans would be raising hell about ‘legislating from the bench’.

    I despise hypocrisy…and I see hypocrisy all over this issue by the conservatives on the Court and by the Republican Party.

  • Once again, Glen, the courts do not enact laws; that’s up to the Congress and the President. As I observed here, the Congress and the President need to consider the constitutional implications of legislation before it becomes law, and often don’t. The laws have to comport with the Constitution and when their failure to do so is called to the attention of the courts they have an obligation to deal with the problem.


  • Baronius

    Glenn, what’s so nefarious about Scalia and Thomas’s presence at that meeting? Did you not know that they were conservatives before? Do you think that there’s going to be some kind of payoff exchanging hands? Why should we care about it?

  • Glen,

    When President Obama declaimed against the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision during his State of the Union address on January 10, 2010, he said, “[L]ast week the Supreme Court reversed a century of law that I believe will open the floodgates for special interests –- including foreign corporations –- to spend without limit in our elections. (Applause.)”

    He could, I suppose, have been talking about most anything. I thought he was talking about the Citizens United decision.

    Dan (Miller)

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Dan –

    If more disclosure is needed — and I think it may well be — it’s up to the Congress to pass appropriate laws and for the President to sign them into law.

    And as I pointed out in my second comment, it’s the disclosure that is crucial. Bear in mind that the Democrats DID try to pass a law requiring disclosure of donors this past summer…and the Republicans ALL (or almost all) opposed it (in addition to the filibuster that has become de riguer for Republican senators during legislative proceedings in the past two years).

    And as has been pointed out, there is no way that we can legally force non-profits to disclose their donors even if those donors are foreign governments…and is that not precisely what President Obama pointed out in his criticism during the State of the Union address?

    No, Dan – the decision to protect the anonymity of the donors without providing for a way to determine if those donors are foreign entities was no accident. Justices Thomas and Scalia are attending that meeting in Palm Springs along with Republican bigwigs, billionaire donors…and the Chamber of Commerce which actively pursues donations from foreign entities with the express purpose of giving them a “voice” in American politics.

    Is my understanding really so far off base? If so, please educate me. If I’m not so far off base, then I think you see the problem just as I do.

  • Glen, Citizens United dealt with a specific law which was over broad. During oral argument, government counsel conceded, apparently somewhat reluctantly, that the statute challenged by Citizens United could also be applied even to books.

    The statute in question as applied to Citizens United dealt only with a blackout period, 30 days before primaries and 60 days prior to general elections. In my opinion, it was a well reasoned decision. In these days of early voting, absentee voting (except perhaps for military personnel overseas) and the like, I would like to see rather more, but done in ways which respect the First Amendment. That, however, is initially up to the Congress and (since legislation doesn’t become law until signed by the President or his veto is overturned by the Congress) to the President.

    Corporations own our major television networks. It is certainly conceivable that they dictate to some degree the nature of the “news” and “opinion” broadcast. The statute carves our a media exemption. Why should a corporation which owns automobile manufacturing companies but does not own a network have fewer First Amendment rights than another corporation which owns both automobile manufacturing companies and a network? That question was not before the Court in Citizens United and was not addressed.

    Disclosure is good, and as noted in my comment the Citizens United decision left the statutory disclosure requirements standing in full force. If more disclosure is needed — and I think it may well be — it’s up to the Congress to pass appropriate laws and for the President to sign them into law. That is not a function of the courts.

    I think the same regulations should apply to all groups — corporations, both for- profit and non-profit, partnerships, unions and the rest.

    When President Obama (an attorney and allegedly a constitutional scholar) made his statements concerning Citizens United during his State of the Union Address, he was either misinformed or diddling with the truth. He presumably had access not only to the text of the decision but to both his attorney general and his solicitor general. I assume that Solicitor General Kagan, who had presented the government’s case during the second round of oral argument, had read the decision. I have no idea whether Attorney General Holder had read it. When President Obama made some rather inaccurate statements about the then new Arizona immigration law, he either hadn’t bothered to read the statute and didn’t know what he was talking about or he was purposely misleading; I don’t know which, but neither is acceptable. When President Obama and his “team” claimed that the mandatory health insurance provisions of ObamaCare were not a tax, and then the government argued in court that they were, the Commerce Clause being insufficient to sustain it, ditto.

    We like to assume that the President knows what he is talking about; that assumption is sometimes baseless, and to accept uncritically whatever he (or for that matter others, including Yours Truly) says undermines our intelligence and should, therefor, diminish our self respect. I am about finished with an article dealing with this sort of stuff, and hope it will be published soon. El Bicho’s disapproval notwithstanding, I shall post a link here when that happens.


  • zingzing

    baronius, they do it out in the open, don’t they? they aren’t anonymous. and do you really consider giving businesses a much, much louder and more powerful voice than the average (human) voter a good thing?

  • Baronius

    RJW – Newspapers are run by corporations. The Corporation for Public Broadcasting and Newscorp are corporations. Should their speech be restricted?

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Dan –

    Of all the conservatives on this blog, you’re the one I like to debate the most – because you’re the one with the most to teach me. Some might say that’s blatant brown-nosing, but it’s a simple statement of fact. I ‘win’ by making the strongest argument…but I only gain if I’m taught something I didn’t know beforehand.

    That said, the Citizens United case was (as I understand it) essentially a battle between campaign reform and First Amendment rights…and the conservatives on the Court took the First Amendment side. That would be all well and good…except for the fact that third-party groups do not have to disclose where their funding comes from. To wit:

    75 percent of the $4.2 million ad buy announced this week by American Crossroads was paid for by undisclosed donors and detailed how this massive fundraising has changed Karl Rove’s place within the Republican Party.

    and from the same reference:

    What we found were several fundraising documents that the Chamber has been using in places like Bahrain (and) India. The documents say foreign businesses are welcome and ask that these businesses send money to the same campaign account the 501(c)(6) that the [Chamber of Commerce] is using to run attack ads. And they’re telling these foreign businesses that they can have a voice in American public policy debates…However – because the Chamber doesn’t disclose [their funding] and they’ve killed every effort to force disclosure on these campaign ads, we don’t know the extent of this [and] we don’t know how these funds are used.

    “Don’t worry,” the Chamber says, “we’ve got ‘internal controls’ and none of the overseas donations could possibly be used to affect American politics.” Yes, there ARE restrictions on foreign funding…but by allowing donations to said funding to be completely anonymous, we have no way of knowing whether foreign entities are pouring sums of money into non-profits in order to to affect our elections.

    As I said, the case is (as I see it) essentially a conflict between First Amendment rights and campaign finance reform…and there ARE instances where the First Amendment should not apply, as you do know.

    I look forward to your response.

  • “it’s quite obvious that John, like Obama himself, believes that Obama is without fault and that there is no place in this world for criticism of him.”

    it’s quite obvious you don’t read much and are poorly informed.

  • zingzing

    not that any of that is true. it’s easy to dismiss your hyperbole because there’s no truth in it. if you were to use actual facts, you might actually do some damage. your fascist gulag death camp fantasies are just nonsensical trash.

  • Arch Conservative

    Zing, it’s quite obvious that John, like Obama himself, believes that Obama is without fault and that there is no place in this world for criticism of him.

  • zingzing

    no it wouldn’t.

  • Arch Conservative

    Yes Dr. D but if John had his way the penalty for telling Obama to go fuck himself would be death.

  • zingzing

    archie: “Perhaps you’d feel better if Obama, instead of being president, were names King for the rest of his natural life and given omnipotency… blah blah blah…”

    you really have to get over your stupid idea that anyone (including obama) wants obama to be anything more than president (twice). it’s moronic and a complete waste of your time. i’ve told you many times before to know your enemy, but you continue to just make up imaginary bullshit and try to use that as some sort of rhetorical weapon. but those whom you attack with nonsense just shrug their shoulders. were you to use anything with even the slightest bit of truth in it, it might actually mean something.

  • John, Arch, one of the beauties of the American tripartite system is that any one of the three branches – executive, legislative, judicial – is at perfect liberty to tell any of the others to go fuck themselves. Obama did it to the Court at his State of the Union address; Alito is doing it to Obama now.

    It’s one of the few machines of government which is currently working well.

  • Re #6 — sorry about; my apologies to Glen.


  • Arch Conservative

    So when Obama criticizes the Supreme Court in front of the nation on a nationally televised broadcast it is “is a clear example of the application and utilization of the balance of power principle,” but when a Supreme Court justice, Alito, decides not to attend the next State of the Union Speech (a criticism itself), he is to be ridiculed?

    Perhaps you’d feel better if Obama, instead of being president, were names King for the rest of his natural life and given omnipotency over the Serfdom John. Who knows, maybe with a couple more of these ridiculous Obama brown nosing articles you may earn some cushy office job in at the Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda.

  • Re Citizen’s United.

    Aside from it’s effects, the conservative majority engaged in an extraordinary display of judicial activism: the very sort of judicial activism conservatives claim is destructive of our country.

    A basic, even essential, rule of law is that appeals courts will only consider issues which have (i) been ‘preserved on the record’ for appeal and which have (ii) actually been appealed to them.

    In United Citizen’s, the conservatives on Supreme Court actually asked for briefs and arguments on an issue which had been neither preserved on the record nor appealed to them.

    Now, judicial activism is as American as apple pie, and can be an important vehicle for improving our law and society. (See links below)

    But to claim to eschew political activism and embrace it is the very definition of hypocrisy. (It is rumored that Merriam-Websters is looking for an image of “United Citizens” to put next to that definition )

    Re judicial activism and American law and legal history.

  • While it is true that there are non-profit corporations, the vast majority of corporations are profit based. And they are the one’s with the money.

    By law, for-profit corporations are principally required to make profits for their shareholders. (They are not forbidden eleemosynary activities, but even there, there is a requirement that the charitable activities indirectly further the corporate profit goal.)

    There is nothing wrong with this per se. Corporations have done many fine, positive things, and have contributed to the growth of our society in many ways.

    But still, the goal of for-profit corporations is to maximize profits.

    The goal of the government of United States of America is “to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity.”

    Two completely different sets of goals.

    We need to be very careful in not allowing corporations, driven by the profits goal, to dominate and submerge the goals of our government.

  • John Lake

    Dan Miller credits Glen Contrarian with the sentence beginning “I remember it well…” For the record, I wrote the article.
    John Lake

  • Baronius

    The more I think about this article, the less sense it makes. I pointed out that the motives of a corporation aren’t necessarily financial. Well, the motives of an individual might not be personal. A person can support settlement in Israel, or the sale of weapons to Saudi Arabia. I’s sure a lot of American citizens support changes in our drug laws. This Chamber of Commerce dustup points out that individual donors, organizations, and foreign entities may all have the same goals.

    I haven’t read the decision, but I read Scalia’s opinion last night. He points out something important: the Founders didn’t say anything about speakers, only about speech. We have no reason to believe that they would have placed organizations outside the protection of free speech.

    Additionally, I noted that Alito concurred with Scalia’s opinion, which was a reply to Stevens, who was replying to Kennedy, but Alito didn’t write an opinion of his own. I don’t see where he played the pivotal role that this article implies.

    Furthermore, there is no obligation of the members of the Supreme Court to attend the State of the Union Address. Years back, the president didn’t even attend it. These days, it’s just an opportunity to applaud at any patriotic sentiment and the parts of the president’s agenda that you like. It’s meaningless.

  • Clavos

    Ah, but Dan(Miller), you can’t offer your expert input on the case to Glenn, you’re a — gasp! shudder! — “right-winger!!”

  • Glen, you might find it useful to read the Citizens United decision. You say, I remember it well, the justices had voted to give lobbyists and special interest groups, domestic and foreign, unparalleled rights to donate any sums of money, without transparency, to any candidate for Congress, or for the judiciary. It did none of those things. It had nothing to do with giving any sum of money to any candidate, left standing existing restrictions on foreign support, and also left standing existing disclosure requirements.


  • Glenn Contrarian

    Citizens United was a travesty of a ruling that flew in the face of a full century of jurisprudence.

    But it doesn’t stop there. Almost as alarming is the attendance by Supreme Court Justices Thomas and Scalia at a meeting of right-wing cognescenti and billionaire donors at Palm Springs. The meeting is ‘confidential’ and is closed to the public and to all media (except for the right-wing media already invited there, it seems).

    One just wonders how the right-wingers would respond to a couple of the liberal (or at least less-conservative) SCOTUS Justices attending a confidential meeting of left-wing bigwigs and billionaire donors? I think we can all imagine their reaction…

    …but since they’re right-wingers, it’s okay if THEY do it. It’s just not okay if the left-wingers do it.

  • Baronius

    “A domestic corporation has as a goal the achievement of high profit, less expense, and we assume, to have certain leeway in dealing with corporate employees.”

    Not necessarily. A corporation has the goals for which it was incorporated. Citizens United is an advocacy group.