Editorial: Corporations don’t need any more sway over our lives

Published 2:21 pm Friday, January 29, 2010

Thursday, Jan. 28, 2010

A divided Supreme Court supersized its 5-4 ruling last week, boosting the power of big business to influence government decisions even further at a time it seems corporations are the only players who can afford a place at the table to have their voices heard.
President Obama correctly called the decision a win for Wall Street banks, big oil and health insurance companies – the usual suspects, which a year removed from the financial meltdown the former are flush with cash while their jobless rescuers limp along.
Obama sees a “stampede of special interest money in our politics.”
Where is the usual conservative outrage over activist judges, who repealed decades of trying to mitigate massive war chests amassed by special interests, which also include organized labor?
The Supreme Court remade the political landscape just in time for the midterm election, although Democrats, who didn’t take voter anger seriously, already let slip away the Massachusetts seat the late Sen. Ted Kennedy held since 1962 and their best chance for health care reform.
With already an army of five energy lobbyists trying to squeeze each member of Congress until he or she shines like a diamond, we can look forward apprehensively to even more pressure being brought to bear.
Given a choice between the power of central government and concentrated corporate wealth, the court tilted the playing field in favor of the latter.
Justice Anthony Kennedy argues based on the Constitution for the public right to be exposed to a multitude of ideas and against government limiting political speech, by which they mean the likes of those nasty smear ads of which you haven’t heard anything yet.
The money will crash in with tsunami force and drown out the very candidates themselves.
“The censorship we now confront is vast in its reach,” Kennedy wrote for the majority, which also included Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Samuel Alito, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas.
Not vast compared to the resources of corporate America.
Countered dissenting Justice John Paul Stevens, “The court’s ruling threatens to undermine the integrity of elected institutions around the nation.” Joining Stevens were Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer.
The court overturned two earlier decisions and tossed parts of a 63-year-old law that let companies and unions be prohibited from using general treasury money to produce and run their own campaign ads urging the election or defeat of particular candidates by name. Such independent spending conflicts with limits 24 states imposed. Eight to one the court upheld that corporations and unions must identify financial sources.