Putting aside the truism that the contemporary Democratic Party and President Obama rival the Republican Party in feeding at the trough of Big Business, the GOP-composed opinion in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (08-205) is revealed as an exercise in hypocrisy and partisan favoritism by examining another landmark election law case animated by First Amendment claims used in the fight against colossal wealth dominating the political process, Timmons v. Twin Cities Area New Party (95-1608) (1997).
In Timmons, a political party, the now-defunct New Party, sought to fuse its nominated candidates with other political parties' nominated candidates [that is nominating the same people] in an effort to expand the New Party under the protection of the First Amendment's guarantees of free expression and association.
For instance, progressive Democratic Party nominees like Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wisconsin), Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-Madison) and Rep Gwen Moore (D-Milwaukee) might also be the nominees of the New Party under the political strategy of electoral fusion.
The goal ultimately was to remove the domination huge money has over the political process and specifically the two major political parties, a la the Gilded Age in the late 19th century when concentrated wealth led to the domination by hyper-concentrated money over the political system, also known as the time of the robber barons.
The New Party lost the Timmons case and its claim of First Amendment rights was rejected in the 6-3 opinion written by the late Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist (R) who wrote that the legislatures' right to regulate elections and insure "stability" outweighed First Amendment guarantees of free expression and association. [Let's put a R or D by Supreme Court Justices and dispense with the absurd notion that our Justices are neutral umpires applying the law and U.S. Constitution.]
Rehnquist was joined in his opinion by fellow Republicans sitting on the Court today, Justices Antonin Scalia, Anthony M. Kennedy, and Clarence Thomas.
Justices Scalia, Kennedy, and Thomas worte/joined the GOP opinion in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (08-205), along with two Bush-nominated justices, Alito and Roberts. [The corporate Democrat Justice Stephen G. Breyer agreed with the result in Timmons but dissented in Citizens United.]
What is both amusing and repulsive in reading Kennedy's Citizens United opinion is the Court's claim to be championing the liberty interests of the First Amendment interpreted expansively, the opinion's author would have us believe. Writes Kennedy, "If the First Amendment has any force, it prohibits Congress from fining or jailing citizens, or associations of citizens, for simply engaging in political speech."
Never mind that Kennedy misstates the issue in the Citizens United case concerning how citizens can engage in political speech in the electoral process, where is this libertarian fervor of Scalia, Kennedy, and Thomas in the Timmons case? It is absent. Justices Scalia, Kennedy, and Thomas joined Justice Rehnquist (infamously hostile to the liberties in the Bill of Rights) in Timmons in which Rehnquist writes: ''Ballots serve primarily to elect candidates, not as fora for political expression.''
But now these Republican jurists are the champions of free expression and free association, asserting the unmentioned imperative by Citizens United's litigants that for-profit corporations must be protected vehicles of free speech and the hell with precedent and law, much less the stability of the electoral system.
- via mal contends