Thursday, January 21, 2010


This story has now appeared on most of the news resources. However, as usually seems to be the case, I like the BBC News version when it comes to straightforward delivery:

The US Supreme Court has rejected long-standing limits on how much companies can spend on political campaigns.

The ruling is likely to change the way presidential and congressional campaigns are funded, including this year's crucial mid-term elections.

The Supreme Court's 5-4 vote overturns a 20-year-old ban on businesses using money from their own funds to pay for campaign ads.

Critics say it will flood political campaigns with money from companies.

However, analysts suggest that some businesses will recoil at the prospect of being asked for even more election campaign funding.

Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy said the prohibition of direct contributions from companies and unions to political candidates was a form of censorship.

But Justice John Paul Stevens disagreed strongly, saying that the court's ruling threatened "to undermine the integrity of elected institutions around the nation".

The Supreme Court also said that any campaign adverts that were not paid for by the candidate or their party must be clearly marked with the name of the sponsor.

It would appear that our Supreme Court has decided that "the best government money can buy" should not longer be a cheap joke and has reacted by turning it into an expensive one. This is probably what Justice Stevens had in mind in the way he framed his dissenting opinion; but, as befits his station, he opted for more dignified language.

Since this was a 5-4 vote, it was ultimately decided by "swing" Justice Kennedy, which may be why he had the honor (sic) of delivering the opinion. However, his connection to censorship and therefore, by connotation, free speech is too mind-boggling even to be appreciated for its irony. It amounts to selling government out to the highest bidder on the grounds of specious logic and flimsy rhetoric. There can be only one explanation for such an outrageous act, which is that Justice Kennedy has been following the Chutzpah of the Week awards and has probably been coveting one for some time, regardless of whether the connotation is negative or positive. Well, his wish has now been granted; but I have to confess that it is really depressing to give the award to a Supreme Court Justice on the basis of negative connotation!

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