Surplus to requirements »« These depraved infidels

Hello corruption our old friend

The Supreme Court says oh the hell with it, just buy and sell elections as if they were so much popcorn. Go right ahead.

The Supreme Court struck down limits Wednesday in federal law on the overall campaign contributions the biggest individual donors may make to candidates, political parties and political action committees.

Because what could possibly go wrong? Why shouldn’t elections be a matter of which side has the most cash? Think about it. Rich people are the best people, right? So the more money a candidate gets, the better that candidate is. It’s simple.

Chief Justice John Roberts announced the decision, which split the court’s liberal and conservative justices. Roberts said the aggregate limits do not act to prevent corruption, the rationale the court has upheld as justifying contribution limits.

The overall limits “intrude without justification on a citizen’s ability to exercise ‘the most fundamental First Amendment activities,’” Roberts said, quoting from the court’s seminal 1976 campaign finance ruling in Buckley v. Valeo.

Justice Clarence Thomas agreed with the outcome of the case, but wrote separately to say that he would have gone further and wiped away all contribution limits.

Of course he would. The very rich George Bush 1 plucked him out of obscurity, so of course he doesn’t give a shit about all the people who do feckless irresponsible badly-paid jobs like teaching and farming and mining and cleaning rich people’s toilets.

This country is fucked up.

Comments

  1. ryancunningham says

    Why not strike down laws against murder? They also prevent some people from fully exercising their First Amendment rights, so we’re not truly free. What’s that you say? Murder is detrimental to society and infringes on other people’s rights? So do these campaign contributions, but that didn’t stop the right wing justices on the court from increasing our collective Freedom anyway. Whatever arguments they’re using to allow unfettered campaign contributions apply equally well to assassinating the candidates, so I expect they’ll be striking down murder laws any day now… unless, of course, they’re just hypocritical liars propping up a kleptocracy.

  2. Chris J says

    They should vote to remove all speaking rules in congress and the senate as well. After all, being told to wait your turn and let others speak is an infringement on your own free speech, and whoever yells loudest obviously deserves to be heard more. Just ignore the fact that not everyone has a microphone, and everything is just peachy! /s

  3. says

    Next up–Restore the poll tax.
    Put up $1,000,000 to vote in an election. Vote for the guy who promises a Patriot Tax Refund which refunds $2,000,000 to those patriots who are patriotic enough to vote.
    The current Supremes would definitely uphold that one.

  4. Wylann says

    So prostitution really is legal in the US now?

    The difference between buying a prostitute and buying a politician?

    …when you buy a politician, everyone else gets fucked.

  5. karmacat says

    What they should really do is prevent supreme court justices for being paid over a certain amount for giving speeches. I would love to know how much their speaker fees are and who pays them, because they are acting like they only care about the rich.

  6. RJW says

    I have to agree with the rationale of the decision, campaign contribution limits wouldn’t prevent corruption, the plutocracy has a thousand ways of seducing politicians and subverting democracy.

  7. Dunc says

    @7: That’s no reason to make it easier for them. There are a thousand ways of getting away with murder, but that doesn’t mean we should legalise it.

  8. RJW says

    @8

    That’s not an appropriate analogy— the contributions are on the public record. The most serious threats are media bias and the secret, not public, corruption of politicians, economic inequality and democracy are incompatible.

  9. freemage says

    I’m actually inclined to agree with RJW to an extent. If we actually were to overhaul our election funding laws, I’d be more sanguine with this specific result. What I’d like to see replace them:

    1: No cap on individual donations.
    2: No ‘group’ donations, even from party campaign chests. A candidate has to raise his own money, and spend it from his campaign account. PACs, unions, corporations–all of them are out of the process.
    3: All donations must be a matter of public record. Upon a check clearing or transfer being confirmed by the account, the campaign has 72 hours to report the donation listed on a .gov website. The record must list the donor’s name and amount, and preferably some other identifier (not sure what that would be).
    4: Failure to report the donation will result in a fine of no less than 100% of the donation amount per 24-hour period following the grace period. So after a full week, the campaign will be fined for 400% the value of the donation.
    5: The aforementioned .gov website would be designed to be easily searched and used by the public, with sorting features letting you look up donations by donor or recipient, and sorted alphabetically or by amount.

    The idea is, if we can’t keep money out of politics, at least let the record show who has been bought and sold by whom.

  10. says

    No. Having it all on the record is no help at all. People ignore it. It’s wishful thinking to assume that as long as everything is on the record, things will sort themselves out.

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