LiberalViewer Tackles “Citizens United v. FEC”

LiberalViewer of YouTube attempts to set the record straight on mischaracterizations of the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling in “Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission.”

It appears based on watching this video that the ruling is greatly misunderstood by both sides and I myself am inspired to try and read the whole 180+ page Opinion of the Court.

I am in no way advocating the chilling of free speech by value of it simply coming from a corporation or union.

It is a falsehood to state that this ruling allows for “unlimited contributions to political candidates” and also a point that is not within the primary argument against this ruling, as it did not effect those existing limitations.

I believe, personally, that the argument made that this will benefit non-profit advocacy organizations over private sector special interests has some serious flaws in it, while it is not altogether untrue.

It’s true that some of the confusing regulations surrounding political advocacy have been discarded in this recent decision, but it is the structure and measure of what they have done that is so reprehensible.

Were it to be the case that a corporation had to declare their logo and “I Support This Ad” with the CEO standing there; then this decision would be far different in implications to our political process.

This logic that major multinational corporations will for some reason “not go there” with political issues is true to a certain extent but it precludes the simple truth that when seeing itself as threatened, as the insurance companies did the early days of the Health Care Debate, they will spend whatever they can as fast as they can to flood us with … media. Media like television ads.

How quickly we forget as a nation, as a people, that Sen. John Kerry was literally “slimed” out of his equal opportunity at the democratic process in a bid for president no less by what we now call “swing voting” but if you track this story out it was a bunch of frauds who demeaned their personal character in a outright smear campaign. One of them lives right here in Santa Cruz, California and just like the Bush administration itself they are taking no responsibility for this in public.

How easy it will be now for a nameless silent corporate partner to just bankroll a bunch of TV ads either pro or con for a candidate that had policies that just might ask them to give a little back after they take so much from the environment, for instance. If understand that McDonald’s is Pro-McCain, just as a random example, then many of my concerns go away. But as it stands the Sierra Club, the NRA and the example of the video clip Microsoft could all wildly flood a campaign with media while grassroots money and dedicated social advocates of any position would be overshadowed.

Also this argument that money doesn’t win elections is also partly false. Money is not enough, as the examples of Ross Perot and Mitt Romney illustrate, but the 2008 Campaign for the White House was in part decided on the dollars and cents. Of course you need the solid candidate, as the Democrats held with Obama, to seal the deal but my studies in Political Science completely disagree with the scoffing of this notion of looking at the financial impact and earnings to get the best picture.

As I stated before, I believe I may have to read this entire decision before I am totally satisfied I understand it fully.

For now, I am strongly standing with the words of President Obama in his State of the Union address calling this decision a means by which we will “open the floodgates” to foreign special interests and corporate lobbyist influence over the actual results of our elections themselves.

I feel both the SCOTUS and perhaps LiberalViewer as well have concerned themselves too much with entities that deserve very little concern or express protections of the court while neglecting to see the ramifications of said decision on the people that truly represent democracy at it’s core.

To put it plainly: this appears a “open door” policy in terms of slash-and-burn negative political ads at the end of a campaign cycle to force a candidate to lose based on hyperbole, as we have seen before in politics. Slime works, and I as I understand it the SCOTUS just ruled in favor of slime in our elections.

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UPDATE!

Russ Feingold at CounterPunch.org explains what Sam Donaldson was speaking about that I referred to as “inaccurate” in the above piece.

I was under the impression that he was saying that Soft Money limits are now gone under this ruling but in fact it he was speaking to the issue of spending directly out of the treasury without limit.

***Thanks to Paul J. Rourke for bringing this to my attention and providing the link.

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U.S. Supreme Court Rules Against Political Freedom

In an appauling U.S. Supreme Court decision that came down recently there will be no monetary limit on how much corporations can spend on political campaign advertisement. The party-line ruling is disturbing to me in that so clearly endorses big-money special interests while leaving the American public behind. No “grassroots” movement can challenge the private slush funds of corporate CEOs but the opinions of the people are the driving force of democracy, so these few private interests will crush any movement they desire from Tea Party to Anti War groups alike.

I believe we may very well be standing upon the critical moment in the U.S. where we must decide as a people if we want to have a country of principals and values or a country of slanders and greed.

I am reading the Opinion of the Court and it spends much time worried about “chilling free speech” while their ruling will have that ultimate effect. The free speech of a corporation is not threatened it is the voice of against the corporation that is “chilled” by the ruling. The constitutional right of those who speak out against corporate monopolies are the forms of speech that deserve the highest protections and considerations of the court. Instead the court refuses to “adopt an interpretation that requires case-by-case to determinations on banned political speech” which to me would be the purpose of the highest court and the highest legal minds being put all together to decide just such matters.

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UPDATE!

Michael Moore has posted on YouTube the comments of Keith Olberman on MSNBC’s Countdown in regards to this catastrophic SCOTUS ruling.

The Sotomayor Hearings: Day One

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Following is the prepared text of Judge Sonia Sotomayor’s opening statement before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday, as released by the White House:

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I also want to thank Senators Schumer and Gillibrand for that kind introduction.

In recent weeks, I have had the privilege and pleasure of meeting eighty-nine gracious Senators, including all the members of this Committee. I thank you for the time you have spent with me. Our meetings have given me an illuminating tour of the fifty states and invaluable insights into the American people.

There are countless family members, friends, mentors, colleagues, and clerks who have done so much over the years to make this day possible. I am deeply appreciative for their love and support. I want to make one special note of thanks to my mom. I am here today because of her aspirations and sacrifices for both my brother Juan and me. Mom, I love that we are sharing this together. I am very grateful to the President and humbled to be here today as a nominee to the United States Supreme Court.

The progression of my life has been uniquely American. My parents left Puerto Rico during World War II. I grew up in modest circumstances in a Bronx housing project. My father, a factory worker with a third grade education, passed away when I was nine years old.

On her own, my mother raised my brother and me. She taught us that the key to success in America is a good education. And she set the example, studying alongside my brother and me at our kitchen table so that she could become a registered nurse. We worked hard. I poured myself into my studies at Cardinal Spellman High School, earning scholarships to Princeton University and then Yale Law School, while my brother went to medical school. Our achievements are due to the values that we learned as children, and they have continued to guide my life’s endeavors. I try to pass on this legacy by serving as a mentor and friend to my many godchildren and students of all backgrounds.

Over the past three decades, I have seen our judicial system from a number of different perspectives – as a big-city prosecutor, a corporate litigator, a trial judge and an appellate judge. My first job after law school was as an assistant District Attorney in New York. There, I saw children exploited and abused. I felt the suffering of victims’ families torn apart by a loved one’s needless death. And I learned the tough job law enforcement has protecting the public safety. In my next legal job, I focused on commercial, instead of criminal, matters. I litigated issues on behalf of national and international businesses and advised them on matters ranging from contracts to trademarks.

My career as an advocate ended—and my career as a judge began—when I was appointed by President George H.W. Bush to the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. As a trial judge, I decided over four hundred and fifty cases, and presided over dozens of trials, with perhaps my best known case involving the Major League Baseball strike in 1995.

After six extraordinary years on the district court, I was appointed by President William Jefferson Clinton to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. On that Court, I have enjoyed the benefit of sharing ideas and perspectives with wonderful colleagues as we have worked together to resolve the issues before us. I have now served as an appellate judge for over a decade, deciding a wide range of Constitutional, statutory, and other legal questions.

Throughout my seventeen years on the bench, I have witnessed the human consequences of my decisions. Those decisions have been made not to serve the interests of any one litigant, but always to serve the larger interest of impartial justice.

In the past month, many Senators have asked me about my judicial philosophy. It is simple: fidelity to the law. The task of a judge is not to make the law – it is to apply the law. And it is clear, I believe, that my record in two courts reflects my rigorous commitment to interpreting the Constitution according to its terms; interpreting statutes according to their terms and Congress’s intent; and hewing faithfully to precedents established by the Supreme Court and my Circuit Court. In each case I have heard, I have applied the law to the facts at hand.

The process of judging is enhanced when the arguments and concerns of the parties to the litigation are understood and acknowledged. That is why I generally structure my opinions by setting out what the law requires and then by explaining why a contrary position, sympathetic or not, is accepted or rejected. That is how I seek to strengthen both the rule of law and faith in the impartiality of our justice system. My personal and professional experiences help me listen and understand, with the law always commanding the result in every case.

Since President Obama announced my nomination in May, I have received letters from people all over this country. Many tell a unique story of hope in spite of struggles. Each letter has deeply touched me. Each reflects a belief in the dream that led my parents to come to New York all those years ago. It is our Constitution that makes that Dream possible, and I now seek the honor of upholding the Constitution as a Justice on the Supreme Court.

I look forward in the next few days to answering your questions, to having the American people learn more about me, and to being part of a process that reflects the greatness of our Constitution and of our nation. Thank you.

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The Washington Post has coverage of the live blogging from the hearings themselves.