Category Archives: Citizens United

The President v The Supreme Court

The Supreme Court is supposed to be above politics. The President is not. The Executive, Legislative, and Judiciary braches of the United States Government are supposed to check and balance each other. Refer to the Constitution for details (here).

In his State of the Union address, President Obama criticized the Supreme Court and asked Congress for a law that will reverse the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v Federal Election Commission. Obama didn’t criticize the Supreme Court in a classroom, on partisan political ground, or in a closed session with Democrats. He criticized the Court in a non-partisan forum, in a televised joint session of Congress, in front of 6 members of the Supreme Court.

The way we can judge the substance of Obama’s criticism is to look at the matter, “Citizens United versus Federal Election Commission, the decision, the majority opinion and the minority opinion. (Supreme Court Wiki here , SEC Analysis here, Independent analysis: here.) The Court, in a 5 to 4 decision that appears to be along ideological lines (Alito, Kennedy, Roberts, Scalia, & Thomas, v Breyer, Ginsburg, Sotomayor & Stephens) in Obama’s words “reversed a century of law to open the floodgates for special interests — including foreign corporations — to spend without limit in our elections.” Obama went on to say, “I don’t think American elections should be bankrolled by America’s most powerful interests, or worse, by foreign entities. They should be decided by the American people, and that’s why I’m urging Democrats and Republicans to pass a bill that helps to right this wrong.”

I am not a lawyer, but I think the Supreme Court said “Corporations have the right to free speech, even if they make political advertising that is not factual.”

We will see what happens next.

Will the House and Senate enact legislation that reverses the Supreme Court decision or curtails the right to free and misleading speech by corporations?
Will this legislation be challenged in Court?
Will the Court that hears the challege agree with the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v Federal Election Commission or support the new law?

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Filed under Citizens United, Constitution, President Obama, Supreme Court v President