Thursday, February 18, 2010

US Supreme Court: Company = Person

Last month the U.S. Supreme Court decided a case regarding "corporate personhood" that reversed limitations on how much money corporations can donate to political campaigns.

Loaded with conservative judges, the court decided that the law cannot discriminate between companies and individuals when it comes to free speech. Free speech for individuals includes the right to donate funds to third-party political advocacy groups...the type of groups that produce "Swift Boat" advertising during campaigns. So, like an individual, companies can now spend essentially whatever amount they want on political campaigns in this way where before there were understandable limits.

And guess what? Less than a month later, a big DC lobbying firms is counseling corporations on how they can use this new ruling to pour massive amounts of money into campaigns without public scrutiny.

In addition to the influx of unlimited amounts of money into the political arena via elections funding, the primary thing that's disturbing about this is how the ruling puts corporations on the same footing as human beings.

Sure, companies are made up of people, but they are not a person. The sole purpose of a corporation is to make profit. They have no moral obligation to society at all. They exist to make profit. That's it. So, they spend money to support candidates that help that profit mission. As of this Supreme Court ruling, they can now spend more than ever.

For those of you thinking that this is not all that bad or perhaps no big deal, ponder this: Is the Exon Corporation the same as your baby girl or boy? Do you think GE is the same as your grandmother? Do those companies have the same interests as you do for your family? The defense of our nation? The education of your children? For disease prevention? For creating a job in the US for your brother or uncle? No. They do not. The could not care less about these things. Only making money. And now, they will have more say than ever in influencing who gets elected to government. Thanks Supreme Court.

Finally, I would also add that conservatives often cry loud and long about "activist" judges on the bench. Well, the decision in question here is clearly "activist" as it changes long standing law to the clear benefit of some and the clear detriment of most. But hypocrisy is not new to politics generally and no stranger to conservatives by any stretch.

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