Supreme Court Buries American Democracy In McCutcheon v. FEC Ruling

Picture: "SCOTUS building as seen from the west side of 1st St NE.", Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 3.0) https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/
Picture: “SCOTUS building as seen from the west side of 1st St NE.”, Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 3.0) https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/

On April 2, 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down aggregate limits on campaign contributions (not the limit on how much individuals can donate to candidates or party committees). This ruling marks another step in the destruction of American democracy, its accelerating drift into a plutonomy.

After the 2010 Citizens United ruling, which erased campaign spending limits for corporations and labor unions, the McCutcheon ruling enables wealthy donors to influence political elections even more.

Here is the ultimate ‘least untruthful’ quote from RNC Chair Reince Priebus on the ruling:

It’s not like people are going to be able to write out million-dollar checks to the Republican Party or to an individual candidate.

According to Politico, a single donor can now donate up to $6 million to a candidate or election committee.

And here is more from Priebus:

Look, I don’t disagree with Citizens United, [. . .] I think it’s a good case. I think that we should all be free and exercise our First Amendment rights. But this is a victory today for people who want to see political parties and candidates on the same playing field or a little bit closer to the same playing field as the First Amendment was intended to allow us to be [emphasis mine].

This is an absolutely misleading statement. Average American voters are not on the same playing field as deep-pocketed corporations or individuals such as, for example, Sheldon Adelson or the Koch Brothers.

Update: Newt Gingrich would prefer, as a next step, the legalization of unlimited campaign donations to candidates, which he claims

would overnight equalize the middle class and the rich.

That is obviously one big lie. Why? Because the middle class does not have the money of the rich.

This is no longer government of the people, by the people, for the people. It is the best democracy money can buy.

Read more:

Die another day – The subtle awfulness of the McCutcheon v. FEC campaign finance decision: The John Roberts two-step.” (Richard L. Hasen, Slate, 2014/04/02)

McCutcheon Decision: Add Some More Zeroes to That Check.” (Bob Biersack, Open Secrets, 2014/02/02)

McCutcheon v. FEC: Supreme Court Strikes Down Overall Limits On Campaign Contributions.” (Huffington Post, 2014/04/02)

SCOTUS on money and politics: A reader’s guide.” (Kenneth P. Vogel, Politico, 2014/02/04) – Kenneth Vogel argues that the McCutcheon decision is not “Citizens United 2.0.”

Supreme Court decision on fundraising limits will affect state rules on political donations.” (Joshua Miller, Boston Globe, 2014/04/02)

The Supreme Court’s Ideology: More Money, Less Voting.” (Ari Berman, The Nation, 2014/04/02)

Supreme Court Upholds Health Care Reform

On June 28, 2012, the Supreme Court upheld President Obama’s health care reform, stating that the individual health care mandate was a legal form of taxation. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. enabled the 5 to 4 vote by joining the liberal side of the court.

Because the Constitution permits such a tax, it is not our role to forbid it, or to pass upon its wisdom or fairness.
– Chief Justice John Roberts

This article from Politico has a handy chart that shows how the health care law looks like after the ruling.

The cause of repealing ‘Obamacare’ had been a key mobilizing issue for the GOP and the Tea Party Movement since the law was enacted in 2010.

Here is an incomplete collection of news articles on the Supreme Court’s ruling:

NY Times here, Washington Post here, Huffington Post here, Wall St. Journal here, Politico here and here (key quotes from the ruling), SCOTUSblog here, Think Progress here, USA Today here, Daily Beast here.

Politico’s analysis of Justive Roberts’ motivations can be read here. In brief, some professional observers think that the conservative-leaning Roberts’ surprising decision has to do with creating his own legacy, a “Roberts Court,” and deflecting critics’ arguments about a Supreme Court characterized by conservative judicial activism.

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who had introduced an almost identical individual health care mandate in Massachusetts as Governor, continues to campaign on repealing ‘Obamacare’ despite the fact that he had earlier advocated for the Massachusetts health care reform to become a model for national health care reform.

The Obama administration highlights this inconvenient fact in their campaign ads against Romney.

One of Romney’s arguments is that “Obamacare adds trillions to our deficits and to our national debt.” The fact-checking website PolitiFact rates Romney’s statement as ‘false.’

At Politiwhoops, a website of the Sunlight Foundation, you can read all the tweets deleted by politicians who were against the health care reform. Some of them falsely tweeted that the Supreme Court had repealed the individual mandate.