Friday, January 22, 2010

Yesterday's Supreme Court Ruling that Corporations Have More First Amendment Rights Than Citizens | Slog | The Stranger, Seattle's Only Newspaper:

The majority, consisting entirely of justices appointed by Republican presidents, held that the First Amendment rights of corporations cannot be distinguished from those of natural born citizens. In dissent, Justice John Paul Stevens observed: “Under the majority's view, I suppose it may be a First Amendment problem that corporations are not permitted to vote, given that voting is, among other things, a form of speech."

The ruling effectively guts McCain-Feingold and other campaign finance legislation as it applies to corporations. Presumably, any existing or contemplated effort by states to restrict corporate political spending in state elections is also now doomed by this precedent.

The implications of this ruling boggle the mind. In the long term, corporations will be able to give unlimited money to candidates who favor their positions. What chance will any state or federal legislative effort to reform, or tax, or regulate business now have? How much would it be worth to Big Pharma and the insurance industry to unseat enough members of Congress to kill health care reform permanently?