News of the Day – 2/4/2010: Justice Thomas Speaks Out


I was not sure today if I wanted to comment on the chosen article for today.  After listening to Roger Hedgecock on my way home I thought it was important to address the topic of the recent U.S. Supreme Court case of Citizens United v. FEC.  Here is the article in question.

The article summarizes when Justice Thomas made a speech and answered questions at a law school in Florida.  From what I understand Supreme Court Justices never speak openly like this.  And when they do they never take questions.  So this shows the justice had something to get off his chest.  He answered several question on the recently decided case of Citizens United v. FEC.  He also gives a the students a history lesson behind some of the law regarding campaign contributions.

For a summary on the case in question please use the following link

First, contrary to what President Obama said during his State of the Union address Citizens United v. FEC does not end the limitations that corporations can give to individuals.  There has always been limitations on those contributions.  It specifically states that a corporation may spend its money in a political way other than to an individual, like on commercials, as an independent expenditure; like the video in question during this case.  Also they cannot be censored by a certain time frame before the election, specifically 30 days before a general election or 60 days before a primary election.

Side bar:  Here is an interesting point of history, that Justice Thomas points out, is the restrictions on corporations giving money to individual candidates goes back to Tillman Act.  Tillman wrote the law because of a corporation in his state would give money to support the freedom of blacks from slavery by giving money to the Republican nominee.  So this act which limited corporate campaign contributions was implemented as a way of censorship against abolitionists and Republicans since more Republicans were abolitionists.  Everyone clear on that.  It was stop corporations from funding Republicans who were against slavery.  So much for equal protection under the law. 

Also if a union or other organization of people can spend money on a candidate then why can’t a corporation be allowed the same rights.  Unions are allowed to donate money, advertisement and the like without these restrictions, so the law does not provide equal protection under the law.  A petition posted by my friend states that no corporation should be allowed to give without the consent of its owner.  The law should apply equally to unions.  Meaning a union cannot give money to a candidate without the expressed approval of its members.  I did not support the Clark County Education Association giving money to Obama.  The laws need to apply equally to all people and groups, not single out a particular person or group.

Secondly,  President Obama state that the overturning of a specific portion of the McCain-Feingold law would allow for foreign corporations or citizens to give to campaigns.  This also is not true.  McCain-Feingold specifically prohibits contributions from foreign nations, legal foreign residents, and foreign corporations.  This part of the law was kept intact by the Supreme Court.  Also, the President technically broke this law during his campaign.  His aunt (who is a foreign national whose visa has expired and has been living in the United States illegally for years) contributed, according to Obama’s own campaign financial records $260 to his campaign in 2008.  Obama broke the law in question when he accepted that donation.  Technically he could be impeached for that offense (High crimes and misdemeanors).  Also there is numerous reports that part of his campaign was financed by people in other countries by untraceable gift cards through the internet.

I am not sure if this clears up the issue with anyone but I have finally addressed this topic.  If you have questions or comments feel free to respond.  Have a nice day.
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