Today the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that corporations can be treated as individuals under the First Amendment, giving corporations as well as unions, the right to pour untold amounts of cash into political campaigns. In essence, the corporations with the most money can now give any amount of money they choose to any candidate they choose to do so during an election campaign.
The decision is good news for conservative Republicans who typically vote for laws that favor large corporations over individuals.
Republicans have successfully complained that Democrats hold all the power with a majority in both houses of Congress along with a Democrat in the White House. They have used the line successfully as shown by the recent Massachusetts election where Republican Scott Brown won Senator Edward Kennedy’s senate seat. Many of the voters who planned to vote for Brown in Massachusetts were won over by the idea that there shouldn’t be a majority by either party in the nation’s capitol. Some voters told reporters that they wanted to even things up in the Senate by sending a Republican, voiding the 2008 election’s super majority by Democrats in the Senate.
The problem with the voters’ logic is that they bought the Republicans’ complaints about a Democratic majority in Washington without considering that there are 3 branches of government in the United States; the Executive Branch, the Legislative Branch and the Judicial Branch. And as today’s ruling by the Judicial branch proved, the Judicial branch is overtly and explicitly conservative Republican in its majority. The executive branch of the government is held by a Democrat (President Obama). The Legislative branch is held by a Democratic majority (the House and the Senate) but the Judicial branch is held by a Republican majority.
The three branches of government were created to balance the United States government so that no one person or group could hold all the power but in the 21st century, the Judicial branch has proven for a second time that it is more powerful than the other two branches of law. In 2000, it was the Supreme Court that decided the Presidency. Whether you believe that the decision of the Supreme Court in 2000 was correct or not, the frightening part is that the Supreme Court chose who would reside in the White House for four years. And as of today’s ruling they have decided that corporations will have the power to elect the next Legislative and Executive branches as well.
For the Massachusetts voters who decided to ‘send a message to Washington’ by voting for a conservative Republican to replace Senator Ted Kennedy in the Senate, it’s an embarrassment to realize, two days too late, that the Democrats do not hold the power in Washington. It is the Supreme Court that holds the most power in Washington and the Supreme Court is led by a majority of conservative Republicans, a label that has been alluded to in the past to be the party for corporations, an allusion that after today has become fact.
After today’s ruling by the Supreme Court, individual voices will be drowned out by corporate dollars. After today, elections can be paid for by corporations which means that those with the most money, oil companies, energy companies, health insurance companies and banks will choose who represents ‘the people’ in Washington.