Word Count: 1530
Friday 1st, 2013
The issue of whether corporate spending on elections is equivalent to that of free speech is brought to light in Chapter 6. Citizens United is a conservative advocacy group dedicated to restoring “traditional values” and the free market in American society. The group appealed the decision of the FEC to restrict ads of Hillary. In 2010, the Supreme Court announced its decision to overturn the BCRA act of 2002, and declared that profit and nonprofits could spend unlimited funds to elect or defeat candidates for public office. Reactions from the conservative court varied significantly from the liberals in society and the President of the United States of America, Barack Obama.
Justice Anthony Kennedy provides the majority opinion by saying it is unconstitutional to allow the government to make a distinction between different types of speakers – regulating some, but not others. The Tillman Act of 1907 protected free speech by individuals but made a distinction between corporations, which were not allowed to donate to the electoral process. The BCRA act of 2002 aimed to fill the widening gap between corporations working around this issue by donating “soft” money instead of “hard” money to elect officials, however Kennedy goes as far as to say that the PACs designed by the BCRA were almost impossible to create and hence left corporations without the freedom of speech.
Justice John Paul Stevens provides the counterargument for the dissenting opinion by saying that throughout history Congress has sought to limit the role of big contributors in elections because it could lead to collusion and antitrust decisions within the electoral process. The larger role that corporations played in American politics would lead to “cynicism” by the American people and hence jeopardize their faith to influence public policy, which would eventually lead to a decrease in the participation of...