Thursday, January 30, 2014

"Citizens United" Liberates Unions, Too.

Criticism based on faulty understanding of the Citizens United v. FEC Supreme Court decision that struck down limits on corporate and union spending on political campaigns surfaces time and again. For example, a NJ Star-Ledger letter (The Democrats' blame) bemoaned "'Citizens United,' the ruling that equates corporations with people."

Does the writer believe that corporations can exist where there are no people—for example, on Mars? Your guess is as good as mine.

I left this reply:

[Susan J.] Waldman obviously doesn't understand that Citizens United holds that individuals don't lose their free speech rights when they organize under corporations—a form of freedom of association—or that the same decision also liberated unions to spend without restrictions on their political causes. Apparently she has bought into the dangerous nonsense that the free flow of political dialogue in election campaigns is somehow a threat. The restrictions on corporate and union election and issue advocacy spending [that Citizens United] overturned insulated incumbent politicians from criticism from the people they allegedly serve. It was the right decision for making politicians more accountable to the people and a critical victory for the First Amendment.

Related Reading:

"Corporatists" Are Individuals, Too

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