January 29, 2011

Blaska if you love that corporation so much

Then why don't you marry it?

Madison, Wisconsin's lonely wing-nut* David Blaska is weeping o'er the plight of courageous Justice Samuel Alito. Puffs Blaska:
The President crossed the line of propriety in his [SOTU] address last year. And violated the separation of powers.
Such a violation occurs when one branch of government unlawfully usurps the power of another. Only the Good Lord knows how Obama's remarks fit that bill in the columnist's roiling right-wing amygdala.

Blaska is defending Citizens United v. FEC, in which a majority of the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed that corporations are persons, that speech is money, and that the former may "speak" the latter without limit, exactly as the First Amendment has always plainly instructed.

Anyway here's Obama:
Last week, the Supreme Court reversed a century of law to open the floodgates for special interests — including foreign corporations — to spend without limit in our elections. I don't think American elections should be bankrolled by America's most powerful interests, or worse, by foreign entities.
And here's Justice Stevens:
If taken seriously, [the majority's] assumption that the identity of a speaker has no relevance to the Government's ability to regulate political speech would lead to some remarkable conclusions. ... More pertinently, it would appear to afford the same protection to multinational corporations controlled by foreigners as to individual Americans: To do otherwise, after all, could "enhance the relative voice" of some (i.e., humans) over others (i.e., nonhumans).
Follow the logic, is what Stevens is saying. It's the majority's own logic, the Court's own logic where corporations = persons and money = speech. That's where it leads, because the other laws only forbid participation by foreign individuals, not corporations.

And obviously the dissent contains any number of references to reversing a century of law, which Obama was also repeating.

Blaska's is the perfect example of right-wing obsession with Obama gone far beyond either rational or healthy, where simply paraphrasing an opinion of the Court becomes a separation-of-powers violation.

More concerning is Blaska's derangement-of-senses violation.

* Ann Althouse is mainly just an enabler of wing-nuts.


Anonymous said...

Blaska used to be the spokesperson for my employer, DWD. I'm surprised he didn't have us adopt the slogan "Work will make you free."

David Blaska said...

Justice Scalia explains:

The dissent says that when the Framers “constitutionalized the right to free speech in the First Amendment, it was the free speech of individual Americans that they had in mind.” That is no doubt true. All the provisions of the Bill of Rights set forth the rights of individual men and women—not, for example, of trees or polar bears. But the individual person’s right to speak includes the right to speak in association with other individual persons.

Surely the dissent does not believe that speech by the Republican Party or the Democratic Party can be censored because it is not the speech of “an individual American.”

The Amendment is written in terms of “speech,” not speakers. Its text offers no foothold for excluding any category of speaker, from single individuals to partnerships of individuals, to unincorporated associations of individuals, to incorporated associations of individuals ...

illusory tenant said...

Yes, true: corporations are not polar bears. That is among the premises Justice Stevens accepts -- "if taken seriously, our colleagues’ assumption ... " -- for his own (unrebutted) argument, which is what Obama was paraphrasing.

So it remains unclear how Obama "violated the separation of powers." Was it by not providing a "pinpoint" citation to Stevens's dissent? Should footnotes have been displayed on the Jumbotron along with the applause instructions for the deaf?

Display Name said...

Because if we let corporations get married, they'd want to marry their subsidiaries, tables, dogs, cats, clocks, and chairs?

Rick Esenberg said...

Why don't you tell your readers which 100 year old decision or law Citizens United overturned?

illusory tenant said...

It isn't the expression I would have chosen. "Reversed course on a century of efforts to limit corporate influence over elections" would have been more accurate, but less punchy.

Clutch said...

which 100 year old decision or law

Curious. I did not find that phrase in Obama's speech.

Isn't it about time for a pious blogpost about declining charity in political discourse?

illusory tenant said...

The question was a Socratic trap!

Anonymous said...

Citizens United rests on a DUBIOUS legal foundation. Corporate personhood was "established" under Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad (1886). A court reporter and former railroad president, J.C. Bancroft Davis, wrote the following as part of the headnote for the case:

"The court does not wish to hear argument on the question whether the provision in the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution, which forbids a State to deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws, applies to these corporations. We are all of the opinion that it does."

That is, corporations enjoyed the same rights under the Fourteenth Amendment as NATURAL PERSONS. This issue, however, absent from the Court's opinion itself! It NEVER ruled on this matter.

William Rehnquist wrote a compelling dissent (and duly noted Davis' fraud) in a 1978 Supreme Court case which expanded corporate personhood.

He reiterated Chief Justice John Marshall's views in Dartmouth College v. Woodward (1819) that a corporation is an ARTIFICIAL BEING possessing the properties which the charter of creation confers upon it--meaning a government granted a business with the ECONOMIC right--not POLITICAL rights--to operate within its borders. Only NATURAL
PERSONS are entitled to 1st Amendment privileges from a POLITICAL perspective.

Past rulings regarding corporate personhood stated that companies could produce what they want and were held liable for that production. They were allowed to "voice" their concerns in public and in a court of law. That is, corporations have ECONOMIC FREE SPEECH to promote and protect their products.

But when it came to influencing government policies through POLITICAL FREE SPEECH, the Supreme Court, Congress, and state legislatures had made it general policy that those rights squarely belonged to LIVING
THINGS, not artificially created entities...until that 1978 ruling.

The Supreme Court in 1886 did NOT decide whether a company was a "natural person" entitled to political free speech, and subsequent rulings has used this case for corporate personhood and free speech as a FALSE foundation. It seems that Citizens United was a CONSERVATIVE attempt at judicial

My contention is that corporations are "natural persons" is a fallacy. Subsequent Supreme Court decisions based on that fallacy in regards to
the 1st Amendment political speech rights for corporations ought to be null and void.

Why didn't the originalists currently on the Supreme Court recognize what Rehnquist stated back in 1978 that a FOOTNOTE, not a detailed ruling, is the "legal foundation" for corporate personhood when making
their ruling in Citizens United?

Why didn't the originalists recognize past precedent and decades of Congressional law prohibiting corporate free speech?

concernedcitizen--jsonline blogger

Rick Esenberg said...

Of course, it was a socratic trap. Obama was wrong. The Court did not reverse or overturn a century of settled law. If you would not have phrased it that way, it would presumably be because it's not true.

Clutch said...

The defender of the strict and literal truth of the Gableman race-baiting ad now finds it natural to insert, first, "decision", and now "settled", in order to ratchet an untruth out of one ambiguous remark from Obama.

In both cases, a moment's reflection on what the utterance was meant to convey settles any substantive question.

Anonymous said...

Rick--Since you are the legal expert, is there anything that I said in my post that is false, wrong, or misleading???


Anonymous said...

I guess Rick is still shoveling his walkways to respond to my inquiry.

concerned citizen