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December 18, 2014

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Letter to the editor:

Scalia wrong about speech, money

Another view?

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Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s inability to distinguish between speech and money was on display for all to see in his recent talk at UNLV. Speaking for the 5-4 majority in the Citizens United case, he equated speech with money, telling the audience that if they didn’t like it, their only avenue of redress is to change the First Amendment.

How absurd. This is tantamount to saying that if a person has enough money, it is perfectly OK to buy a high-tech bullhorn that drowns out opposing speech.

In separating himself from other court originalists who have argued not only for unlimited campaign donations but also for government support of religion, Scalia has said he isn’t ready to go that far. He has said, “I am an originalist and a textualist, not a nut.”

On that last point, the jury is still out.

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  1. Justice Scalia is willing to leave the ivory tower and discuss his views with the folks. Apparently, the letter writer wants to cap free speech at some dollar amount. He highlights a class divide by equating more money than he prefers with a bull horn. Interesting analogy. The greed of the limits is again demonstrated by a left wing sentiment.

  2. Super Pacs are the GOP answer/solution to the Democratic unions' political power, money and influence. Same same. Justice Scalia is a Constitutional originalist. And he's dead on center right. And its backfired in the dems' face in Chicago with the CTU and Mayor Emanuel. Where's Obama's outrage? Where's the justice for the children and people?

    CarmineD

  3. The fact is that in 'this' country, if I have more money than you do, I am allowed to buy a bigger bull horn than you can afford and use it to make my voice loud.

    Citizens United is 'not' where the problem really is. The problem is how we fund campaigns. If we don't like the influence of big money... from corporations, from unions, from super pacs, from wealthy individuals, from interests groups, and how it corrupts our government, we need to decide to use taxpayer dollars to create a fund to use for campaigns, and outlaw all other contributions. This renders Citizens United moot, almost eliminates the power of lobbyists and finally allows our representatives to represent 'us' instead of whoever can afford to fund their next campaign.

    Michael

  4. Money talks and talks and talks and drowns the speech of individuals. The Bill of Rights is about the rights of individuals not corporations or unions. Public funding of political campaigns and elimination of all private contributions seems to be the best answer.

  5. Scalia was predictable what he was going to say here in Las Vegas.

    Just from where he was staying.

    Palazzo.

    His Citizens United buddy Sheldon Adelson hooked him up to stay there.

    It's a tangled web these ultra-conservative Justices weave.

    And what gets me is they do it right in plain sight of the American people, snubbing their noses at them. Scalia don't care about showing people he is impartial.

    Scalia is nutball ultra-conservative. He was appointed to be like that and by damn, he'll do that. To the victors goes the spoil. Bought and paid for by the Tea/Republicans.

    That's why I have no alternative but to vote for Obama/Biden and every Democrat I can.

    Because if Romney/Ryan get in there, they will stack the deck. And eventually we won't see Roe Vs. Wade as the law of the land anymore. It'll be Romney Vs. Women.

  6. "Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia's inability to distinguish between speech and money....."

    Edgley -- opinions vary. In my view he emphasized every judge's job description, to stick with the Constitution as the supreme law. After all that's the paramount duty he swore an oath to support, along with every other public official in this country.

    "Justice Scalia is willing to leave the ivory tower and discuss his views with the folks....."

    Houstonjac -- for once I have to agree with you. Too few judges are willing to venture out amongst We the sweating masses. Good post

    "...I have no alternative but to vote for Obama/Biden and every Democrat I can."

    Colin -- you have every alternative, including "none of the above." I recommend you educate yourself @ http://www.theonion.com/video/joe-biden-...

    "The people should not be deceived ... a major, undemocratic restructuring of our national institutions and mores is constantly in progress." -- Justice Scalia dissenting in Board of County Commissioners, Wabaunsee County, Kansas v. Umbehr, 518 U.S. 668, 709-10 (1996)

  7. "It will be a great day for America when Obama chooses his replacement."

    Just another reason to the already long list of reasons to vote for Romney-Ryan.

    CarmineD

  8. "It will be a great day for America when Obama chooses his replacement."

    Jeff -- with the likes of Sotomayar? Utterly unqualified, and others with far more experience and better credentials passed over because of their gender? Think again.

    "The legal system has also been wounded by lawyers who themselves no longer respect the rule of law ..... When lawyers cannot be trusted to observe the fair processes essential to maintaining the rule of law, how can we expect the public to respect the process?" -- the Honorable Edith Jones to Harvard's Federalist Club "American Legal System Is Corrupt Beyond Recognition, Judge Tells Harvard Law School" 2/28/03

  9. When the First Amendment was adopted, no one imagined that freedom of speech applied to anything other than individuals. At that time, and for long afterwards, corporations were rare, specially creations of Legislatures and had only enumerated powers -- any thing beyond that was "untra vires", and a corporate act which was "ultra vires" was void.

    To call Citizens United "originalist" is perverted. It would be funny if its affects on the country were not so awful. -- Just stray from the "mute" button and have to listen to the utter nonsense being pounded at us by PACs with more money than sense. Just look at what money has given us as choices: people empty of ideas who have no plans, no sense of reality, and expect us to allow them to work the fantasy governments and technologies of Johnathan Swift's Laputa seem almost reasonable.

    If we want to preserve a democratic representative republic, we need to amend our Constitution to make it clear that constitutional rights such as free speech apply only to individuals.

  10. If appointment to the Supreme Court was based solely on a judges resume and experience, that would be fine with me. How they are appointed now days is purely political. It is currently in the GOP's favor on the court. Starting with the 2000 election, ("decided" by pure political bias), through the Citizens United fiasco, equating money with free speech (another purely political "decision"). Those who back Obama know, or should know, that one or perhaps two justices will be replaced during a second term Obama presidency. There should be age limits on SCOTUS justices. Anyone over 80 shouldn't be making decisions that effect the entire country (my opinion). In an article in the current Businessweek, a journalist somehow accessed a private meeting starring Karl Rove and his uber rich GOP bag men. What did they discuss? Taking over the Senate. 300 million will be pumped into a carpet bombing of Democratic candidates for the house and senate as well as more cash for Mittens, but the main goal of Rove is to see GOP control of the Senate. What's my point? What Rove and the GOP cannot hope to accomplish by actually running a campaign of issues, will be accomplished by bulldozing the opposition with cash. I hope that most informed voters can see what is happening to them: their vote made irrelevant by bags 'o cash.

  11. Public funding of elections is the worst option there is. It is basically a total denial of free speech. We have very little, if any, say over how our tax money is spent other than by electing (so-called) representatives to decide for us.

    Public funding would remove completely our ability to support only those candidates who we feel will best represent us. Instead, each taxpayer (a small majority of voters, at best today) would be forced to support all candidates equally.

    That is not an equitable situation, nor is it in line with individual liberty and personal responsibility.

  12. Jim,

    I understand your arguments and they are valid, in a vacuum.

    Facts are that big and powerful contributors with lobbyists use our representatives need for money to be elected and re-elected as a lever to get legislation they want. The people in Congress DO NOT REPRESENT US, Jim. They represent the people with the money and the lobbyists and that is killing our country.

    Provide me another workable solution and I'll evaluate it. I suspect there is not 'perfect' solution and we may have to give up something we'd rather not to stop this corruption.

    If we don't change how Congress operates, we can elect the 2nd coming of Abraham Lincoln and we are still going down the tubes.

    Michael

  13. "The Greeks had a couple words they used to describe such a system....they called such a system a plutocracy or an oligarchy."

    Greece is bankrupt several times over in the last few recent years and no hope for solvency in sight without another EU bailout. US is headed down the same path, thanks to big spender Obama.

    CarmineD

  14. Talk about chutzpah! The left wraps itself in the Bill of Rights when it comes to funding political agendas but does everything to suppress the rights of those it disagrees with on most every other issue. Boycotts! Riots! Violence! Shouting down speakers! You name it; it's a leftist ploy to stop others from exercising their Constitutional rights. And, where there is no right, they make one up if it fits their hedonistic and perverted agenda. As for Edgley: I learned long ago that "Money talks; BS Walks." His right to spend as much money as he wants supporting his candidates was also upheld. If the rights of the "rich" can be limited, so, too, can his. Apparently, in his zeal to throttle those he is envious of, he missed that part of the equation.

  15. "His post has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with what I said about the Greeks and their description of a government controlled by the rich; the elite; and the few...."

    It most certainly does. You just can't, won't and/or don't recognize/understand why.

    Same with Reagan and BRAC. After all the times I posted to you about BRAC, you still don't, won't and/or can't get it.

    CarmineD

  16. This thread, as most threads eventually do, is unraveling into one-upmanship. There are many opinions made having merit, yet lack legal jurist prudence. I'm not saying that we all need to get along; it's just that we need to allow one another latitude of opinions of judiciousness so folks can freely post ideas without fear of ridicule.

    The USSCJ is correct in that the constitution is not a living document meant to be applied broadly at the will of indulgent sitting judges; rather, a Perpetual Union was created with ways to change it, if the people felt democratically inclined. Notwithstanding, the mere fact that the Articles of Confederation evolved into our Constitution today leads one to consider it analogous to our life, therefore living.

    Concerning the presidential race there is already a process by which candidates are given equal funds to campaign. While this fund may hinder some deep pocket candidates it can assist others who otherwise would not be able to broadcast their being in the race. I recall a discussion in the last election by the two major parties if they would use those funds along with the limitations attached. Both parties declined the sole use of those funds so they could spend much more money/speech campaigning; Hence the correlation that money equals speech.

    The idea that only a certain amount of money should be made available to candidates makes more sense than folks give it credit. Such is the case in cart racing, ensuring all have the same vehicle and only the ability of the driver is left to determine the outcome. How novel is that, all candidates limited to equal amounts of money to campaign for office, President = XXXXX, Senate = XXXX, House = XXX, Governor = XX, All Local Offices = X. With unlimited amounts being able to be donated, any excess would be forwarded to the Fed to be used as outlays.

  17. "You have me confused with some one else but what's new? "

    No, I just have you confused period.

    CarmineD

  18. Leric is apparently going to try and snow everyone again with his misrepresentation of history.

    At the time the US Constitution and the First Amendment were written, corporations (called "public companies" back then) were most certainly *NOT* rare and had been considered to have the rights and liabilities of "persons" for almost 200 years.

    For example, you could start your education with the legal status, standing, rights, and liabilities of the East India Company under the charters of 1600, 1609, and 1657. You will see that "The Company" had "the rights and privileges" of a subject to the crown including "petition to the crown". In other words....a person.

    Sorry, but all Citizens United did was reaffirm the accepted legal standing and precedent in place for well over 400 years.

  19. All BS aside- those of you trying to defend "Corporations are same as human" know you are telling a GREAT untruth. If a corporation is closed/shutdown/killed would anyone be put on trial for murder? I don't think so. I understand why one would agree with Scalia- this is a weapon that can be stocked with money from a number of sources, even foreign money (China) and is in the hands of the Republican party, therefore it is being used to the maximum. It is a known fact, No one gives up a superior weapon, although they know it is a crime against morality. They feel "the ends justified the mean". Corrupting of America is okay if it's serves their purpose. It fits right in with the current political climate. For example, Romney refusing to explain his hiding of monies in overseas accounts, and refusing to show us his tax returns.

  20. Roger, "All BS aside- those of you trying to defend "Corporations are same as human" know you are telling a GREAT untruth."

    Sorry, roger but that is completely false.

    But hey, let's try a world where your reality works. Let's imagine a world where corporations and "public companies" were *NOT* embodied with the same rights and liabilities as people.

    1. It would be constitutional to limit the speech of that corporation. Congress could limit campaign spending and political advocacy.

    but

    2. You would no longer have the right to sue a corporation for damages in court. You would have to now sue each individual director or shareholder separately....but each would be able to use the defense that someone else in the company made that decision.

    Sorry, but corporations being treated as "people" under the law has been a legal precedent for centuries. As a matter of fact the "liability" issue I pointed out in #2 above is the reason that "public companies" were first chartered. Under English Common law only a person could be sued in court for redress of grievances, therefore as businesses beyond the size of single owner or sole proprietorships because more common, a mechanism had to be created to jointly hold liable the directors of the company. The mechanism used was to embody the "corporate legal fiction" with the rights and liabilities of a person.

    Go study some history roger....then come back and try again.

  21. Wender-- please leave the condescending remarks for another day they only serve to highlight ignorance
    You failed to address the germaine question-CAN ANYONE BE ARRESTED AND TRIED FOR THE MURDER OF A CORPORATION? This 400 yr old swill of rights and liabilties of a corporation is a
    'red herring".
    Corporations are man made entities structured to serve the needs of a particular society. Are The
    functionality the same in Europe, Japan, America etc;? They maybe similiar in name, but each country needs are differ therefore it stands to reason they fulfill different missions. I await enlighted comments from a person that is secure in his self proclaimed mental superiority.

  22. Comment removed by moderator. Personal Attack