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Then again I guess it could get muddy if your[sic] thinking about organizations that are incorporated but exist for a mainly political purpose so yeah.
The majority overruled two cases: Austin in whole and McConnell in part. The cases both touched on the issue of campaign-related expenditures during the 30 or 60 (depending upon statutory factors) day window before an election, which the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (BCRA) explicitly prohibited ex. corporations, unions, and non-profit entities. I still need to read Stevens' dissent. That'll come on Sunday or Monday, as time permits. The majority opinion seems pretty ironclad, but it plays to my weak spot: liberal First Amendment jurisprudence. I haven't studied the history of the specific cases at issue well enough (or I may have, but have since forgotten -- I did write one of my two seminar papers for Brad Smith in Election Law, and I focused on Buckley v. Valeo and FECA, so I should have come across _some_ of these decisions, though some important ones were decided during/after that time, Wisconsin Right to Life among them), but it seems to me that creating an "antidistortion" exception to the 1A is dangerous. Further, the point that really stuck out to me was this single item among a litany of indictments by Kennedy: the BCRA banned expenditures during that window by all those incorporated groups, but it specifically exempted organizations that had ownership of a media outlet. If I read the opinion correctly: presuming a smelting business incorporated, then bought out a newspaper, it would be free as a media conglomerate to pump out expenditures during the restricted window. That's what Kennedy seemed to be saying. He kept highlighting the inequity of the statute toward the prohibited group, which he saw as one step beyond the egregiousness of dividing speech into multiple types. (What about the Slippery Slope argument from the division of speech into Obscene and Not Obscene? Where does the fear that "[w]ere the Court to uphold these restrictions, the Government could repress speech by silencing certain voices at any of the various points in the speech process" begin and end, and why? What makes all the other divisions of Speech (Kennedy himself uses the term "political speech" a blue million times during the opinion, by the way) benign and this one (corporate political speech) malignant?)I also found the following quote from the majority opinion to be highly disingenuous:Section 441b is a ban on corporate speech notwithstand-ing the fact that a PAC created by a corporation can stillspeak. See McConnell, 540 U. S., at 330–333 (opinion ofKENNEDY, J.). A PAC is a separate association from thecorporation. So the PAC exemption from §441b’s expendi-ture ban, §441b(b)(2), does not allow corporations to speak.It's the functional equivalent of saying, "Because I am mute, I have to hand write a note and have Susie read it aloud. That means she is speaking, not me." It's an abrupt shift in the definition of the word "speak" and its related forms; previously, speech was being used in the case in the way we now think of it legally (any form of communication made by an entity, whether film, audio, writing, etc.), but here Kennedy shifts to the technical definition of the term, essentially saying that because the Corporation is not producing from its corpus the actual messages (because Susie Pac has to read the notes for Corpie), the Corporation isn't actually speaking, nevermind that they funded the speech and no doubt designed it. It's as disingenuous as putting a Pepsi label on urine and attempting to sell it. "It's not urine; see, the attribution is to Pepsi." Bullshit. This is a bad argument.
What is the difference between how liberals view the constitution versus conservatives?
Of course, to set out one's positions on public matters is a right guaranteed by the First Amendment, and one which I do not think should be or could be specially curtailed in the instance of corporations. This is particularly true when one considers that corporations (and trade associations) are well situated to inform on a broad range of public issues. But a corporation's right to speak out should be no license for clandestine and distortive manipulations. The problem is especially acute because while a corporation can be sued for fraud and deception in the sale of goods, there are no effective legal constraints when it is "merely" bamboozling the public, not as their seller, but as their fellow citizen. What this means is that as corporations increasingly engage in opinion-framing activities, [...] just obeying the law simply isn't enough.