Supreme Court Versus Democracy: One Year After The Corporate Fascist Coup

Today is a sad day for the vague hope of keeping democracy alive in the United States. A year ago, Friday, the US Supreme Court gave its controversial 5-4 ruling in the case known as Citizens United. The Supreme Court ruling opened the unlimited flood of corporate money into the US electoral system, by giving corporations (including national holding of transnational corporations) the freedom to spend as much as they want to support or attack candidates. The ruling made it official that in America’s “democracy”, we get the best candidates money can buy or at least rent.

This decision of treating corporations as people has already altered the dire landscape of money’s influence on politics. The Supreme Court, de facto, rewrote the US constitution by scraping the “We, the people” to replace it by “We, the corporations”. Thankfully, there is still some opposition to this constitutional coup exercised by the Supreme Court on behalf of their corporate friends. Today, opponents of Citizens United were on Capitol Hill to seek a constitutional amendment to put a cap on electoral corporate spending.

On Thursday, the watchdog group Common Cause accused Justice Scalia and Justice Thomas of having ties to conservative activist groups who benefited from the court ruling during the November 2010 elections. Common Cause President, Bob Edgar, says the Justice Department should investigate, and see if last year’s ruling of Scalia and Thomas on the case constitutes a conflict of interest.

“If the Justice Department finds a conflict on the part of either Justice, Common Cause asks that the solicitor general petition the court to vacate the Citizens United decision,” said Edgar.

Justices Scalia and Thomas both acknowledged that they attended functions organized and sponsored by Koch Industries, one of the biggest financial entities behind the success of the so called “grassroots” Tea Party movement. Further, Common Cause expressed concerns about Justice Thomas’ wife earnings from the conservative think tank Heritage Foundation, and a political action group called Liberty Central that she co-founded in 2009.

The public is entitled to more detail about the nature and extend of the Justices’ involvement with Koch Industries’ closed door strategy sessions. And there has been no response to the equally serious concern raised about Justice Thomas’ financial conflict of interest due to his wife’s role as CEO of Liberty Central, and its political activities in 2010,” said Edgar.

Last year, President Obama was highly critical of the Supreme Court’s decision, but he didn’t push any further to start a legal challenge. “Last week the Supreme Court reversed a century old law that I believe will open the flood gates for special interests,” said President Obama in last year State of the Union address. However, since then President Obama has changed his tune as he wants to project an ever more “business friendly” image for his re-election bid in 2012.


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