Supreme Court campaign finance ruling lifts corporate limits

Supreme Court campaign finance ruling

supreme court campaign finance

Image from Flickr.

Today, the Supreme Court’s campaign finance ruling lifted limits on how much corporations can spend to support political candidates. Supporters of Supreme Court’s campaign finance ruling say that The First Amendment protects the rights of private corporations, including payday loan companies, to donate as they see fit.

“The text and purpose of the First Amendment point in the same direction: Congress may not prohibit political speech, even if the speaker is a corporation or union.” – Chief Justice John Roberts

However, opponents say the Supreme Court’s campaign finance ruling will destroy the political landscape by allowing corporations to control elections.

“With its ruling today, the Supreme Court has given a green light to a new stampede of special interest money in our politics. It is a major victory for big oil, Wall Street banks, health insurance companies and the other powerful interests that marshal their power every day in Washington to drown out the voices of everyday Americans,” — President Barack Obama.

Voices of not-so-everyday Americans

The Supreme Court campaign finance ruling was by no means unanimous. Justice John Paul Stevens said the ruling “threatens to undermine the integrity of elected institutions.” But Theodore Olson of Citizens United said “the court’s decision vindicates the right of individuals to engage in core political speech.”

Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis., pointed out that the laws lifted in the Supreme Court’s campaign finance ruling have been in place since Theodore Roosevelt was president. John McCain said “I am disappointed by the decision of the Supreme Court and the lifting of the limits on corporate and union contributions.” But House Republican leader John Boehner called it a “big win.” Long story short, the nation’s leaders are pretty evenly divided on whether the  Supreme Court’s campaign finance ruling is a good thing.

It’s all about marketing

Private businesses with a lot of capital have always been able to financially support candidates who will protect their personal interests. For instance, health insurance companies donate campaign finance dollars to politicians who oppose universal health care or any other system that could cause the insurance companies to lose money. Opponents of the Supreme Court’s campaign finance ruling believe that huge donations from private corporations will allow candidates to develop unbeatable marketing campaigns because they can afford it. 

The variable factor here is the public’s ability to be manipulated. It all comes down to marketing. Marketing can make or break a product, and the same is true for politicians. Now that corporations are free to orchestrate campaigns for candidates though campaign finance dollars, it’s up to us, the voters, to find out who is pulling the strings when a candidate gets on stage.

Other recent posts by bryanh