Don’t let the Supreme Court destroy our democracy

I just learned from an article by Doug Kendall for Huffington Post, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/doug-kendall/why-courts-matter-a-2010_b_418461.html that the Supreme Court may rule on Citizens United vs. FEC as soon as tomorrow.  If they allow corporations unlimited money on elections, they will give them too much power for citizens to ever again overcome.

Kendal Writes:

To see the significance of this, consider that in his historic run to the presidency, Barack Obama broke every political fundraising record, raising nearly $750 million from more than a million contributors in 2007 and 2008. This sounds impressive until you consider that during 2008 alone, ExxonMobil Corporation generated profits of $45 billion. With a diversion of even 2 percent of these profits to the political process, Exxon could have far outspent the Obama campaign and fundamentally changed the dynamic of the 2008 election, perhaps even the result.

If the Supreme Court decides on behalf of corporations, our American democracy is over.  To my understanding, if they decide that treasonous route, President Obama has only one way to fight back; create two new Supreme Court positions, and then fill them with moderates who will uphold corporate bans on election donations.

Surely, the Republicans will claim that Obama is “packing the courts” like FDR threatened in the 1930s, however, after the Supreme Court stole the election for George W. Bush in 2000, Americans will completely understand, and side with, Obama’s decision.

I urge you to appeal to President Obama, and ask him to threaten the Supreme Court that if they choose to hand our democracy to rich corporations he will take whatever steps he needs to in order to stop them, including increasing the number of Supreme Court justices from the current nine to eleven.

The time to act on this is now.  Please side with the American People against a corporate takover of our democracy by urging President Obama to immediately throw down the gauntlet against our treasonous Supreme Court.

 

Tags: Supreme Court, campaign finance, FEC, Citizens vs. FEC (all tags)

Comments

12 Comments

no way

A couple of things:

Rahm Emanual will be having the big money over for lunch

FDR at least waited 5 years before making such a huge gamble (he lost)

I don't think this decision is the end of the issue

by Jerome Armstrong 2010-01-11 02:18PM | 0 recs
Where's the gamble?

Democrats either fight back to the point of overturning it or almost certainly we will lose 2012 and every future presidential election to corporate-backed Republicans. 

We have no choice but to defeat it in whatever way our Constitution allows.

 

by Georgeo57 2010-01-11 03:46PM | 0 recs
Three (3) branches of government

I have been saying for some time that progressives have been picking the wrong battles, and that the root of all evil in this country is money in politics, on which any political party must depend for survival.

As much as I feel the ends justify the means, I too am very reluctant to suggest appointing additional Supreme Court Justices. It sets a terrible precedent that can just as easily be followed by Republican Presidents, and it is blatant executive overreaching and abuse of power using a loophole in the Constitution. Not only has restoring the balance of power been a hallmark of the Obama Administration, but any nominee must pass the Senate and survive a fillibuster. So in short, the odds of this happening are zero.

The best thing Obama can do is explain how devastating a decision is, and reiterate that elections have consequences.

by NoFortunateSon 2010-01-11 05:02PM | 0 recs
What would you suggest?

If SCOTUS sides with corporations on this one, there will be four branches of government, with the newly formed corporate one far out-influencing the others.

Very seriously, what other option do we have than to pack the court?  When Feingold and McCain attempted major campaign finance reform, SCOTUS stepped in to stop them.  What makes you think it wouldn't stop any Congressional attempts to undo their decision by subsequent legislation?  And what would be your solution to all of this aside that doesn't amount to our lying down to die quietly?

 

by Georgeo57 2010-01-11 05:18PM | 0 recs
Constitutional Amendment

Money =/= Free Speech

Change: The way the founding fathers intended it!

Two wrongs don't make a right here. I think that if you pack the court in an attempt to save the Republic, you're only going to doom the Republic down the road.

by NoFortunateSon 2010-01-11 06:03PM | 0 recs
Who says its wrong for the Executive to balance the Judicial?

The Constitution grants the Supreme Court the power to over-rule Executive and Legislative branches actions through rulings.

The same Constitution grants the Executive and Legislative branches the power to over-rule an ultra-partisan Supreme Court (as in stealing the 2000 elections and usurping democracy in favor of corporations though various actions INCLUDING THE APPOINTMENT OF NEW JUSTICES TO THE SUPREME COURT.

It will be wrong if the Conservative Supreme Court justices rule against the FEC.  It will be right if President Obama and the Democrats do not allow them to get away with it.

 

by Georgeo57 2010-01-11 08:21PM | 0 recs
I was waiting for this to be all Obama's fault

So now if Obama doesn't subvert the Constitution, it's his fault for a Supreme Court Ruling that has yet to happen, from 9 justices of which only one he appointed?

First, how do you suppose the nominees would get approved by the Senate?

Second, why stop at 2 more nominees? Why not appoint 100, so the next Republican President could appoint 1000? It's kind of hard to justify appointing two additional nominees and then proposing a constitutional amendment to limit the number of judicial nominees to 11.

Third, if the nominees can gain 60 votes to break a Senate fillibuster, and they won't, can't we just get 7 more for a Constitutional Amendment? You know, do things on the the up and up?

Finally, look at the map of state legislatures and tell me a constitutional amendment is impossible:

Republicans only control both houses in 14 of the 50  legislatures. An amendment would only need to pass 33 (or 34?) legislatures.

And finally, FDR was at the zenith of populairty with far more democrats to work with when he tried to pack the court, and he was firmly rebuked.

So will you phone bank for Martha Coakley?

by NoFortunateSon 2010-01-11 10:08PM | 0 recs
I don't subscribe to the curious notion...

that we human beings have a free will, so I don't either credit or blame Obama, or anyone, for anything (but I don't think you want to go there, at least in this thread). 

We're debating a moral question, and I think that creating two new justice seats would be the appropriate response to SCOTUS handing over our democracy to rich corporations.

If SCOTUS votes for the corporations on this, we'll get the 60 Senate seats because every Democratic and Independent senator will understand both the stakes and the options.

Why stop at just two new seats?  First, because two is all we need to overturn the decision.  Second, because FDR failed to pack the court in 1937 because he went for five, which must have seemed a bit much.

Who brought up a Constitutional amendment to keep the court at eleven?  I didn't.  But, hey, if we can RAISE it to eleven with a Constitutional amendment, that would be even better than having Obama and Congress do it.

I will not phone bank for Martha.  Not because I don't want to, but because I have a cold and I'm afraid I'd be more likely to discourage voters.  But thanks for asking, and she'd better win or heads will roll!

 

 

by Georgeo57 2010-01-11 11:17PM | 0 recs
I agree...

that this would be a horrible blow to We The People and true democracy. It would take us down the facist path even further.

I am not so sure about packing the Supreme Court. When we think like this, we must always remember that the repugs may once again hold power... and with most of the media being controlled by corporate/right wing America, this could happen sooner than we think.

We do need to pound on the White House and Congress to Stop fighting for the corporations and fight for We The People

by kevin22262 2010-01-11 02:32PM | 0 recs
The Republicans are NOT coming back to power, unless we let them...

Here are some excerpts as to why from a paper I'm working on.

Based on an analysis of demographic, geographic and public opinion trends during the last several decades, John B. Judis and Ruy Teixeira concluded in their 2002 book The Emerging Demographic Majority that the Conservative era that began in 1980 with Ronald Reagan would before 2010 be replaced by a new Progressive era that the authors predicted would last several decades. 

In 2002, Judis and Teixeira observed strong and growing demographic, geographic and public opinion trends that during the next several decades seem destined to result in larger local, state and national Democratic Party gains, and corresponding gains in Progressive ideals, policies, and programs.  The strong demographic shift toward progressives they observed includes almost all of the major demographic groups that are growing fastestThese groups include professionals, women, minorities, and the white working class.  Seven years later, in 2009, Teixeira updated his earlier results in a 51-page report for the Center for American Progress titled  “New Progressive America; Twenty Years of Demographic, Geographic, and Attitudinal Changes Across the Country Herald a New Progressive Majority.”  This new analysis reaffirmed Judis and Teixeira’s 2002 conclusions, and provided additional data describing an increased pace in America’s shift toward progressive ideology.   His paper also added young voters as perhaps the most telling and influential demographic group presaging a new Democratic era.

During the 1950s college educated highly skilled professionals such as doctors, lawyers and teachers were the most dependable demographic group for the Republican Party.  This group, which in the fifties comprised only 7 percent of the workforce, has by 2009 grown to 17 percent.[1]  They have the highest turnout rate of any group, and by 2000 they comprised about 21 percent of voters nationwide.[2]   The problem for Republicans is that while this group overwhelmingly supported Eisenhower and Nixon, and strongly supported Ford and Reagan, they supported Gore over Bush in 2000 by 52 percent to 44 percent, Kerry over Bush in 2004 by 55 to 44 percent, and Obama over McCain in 2008 by 58 to 40 percent.[3] 

Decades ago women also overwhelmingly supported Republicans over Democrats.  For example in 1956, women voted for Eisenhower by 63-37 percent (while men supported him by 56-43 percent).[4]  By the 1980s that trend had reversed, and in 2008, women voted for Obama by 56 to 43 percent (while men supported him by 49 to 48 percent).[5]  Moreover, while in 1970, single women comprised only 38 percent of all women, they now make up 47 percent of all adult women,[6] and their growth rate is double that of married women.[7]  The problem for Republicans is that in 2008 single women voted for Obama over McCain by 70 to 29 percent.

Minorities will also present a growing problem for the Republican Party.  While in 1960 almost one third of Blacks voted for Nixon, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the National Voting Rights Act of 1965 represented major transformative events, and by 1964 fully 94 percent of Blacks voted for Johnson.[8]  The level of Democratic support among Blacks has remained very high with 95 percent voting for Obama in 2008.[9]  This trend is further amplified by the growth of Blacks as a percentage of all voters.  In 1960, Blacks comprised fewer than 6 percent of the electorate.[10]  By 2008, their numbers had more than doubled to 13 percent.[11]  A similar and even stronger trend is seen with Hispanic voters.  While as many as 47 percent of Hispanics voted for Reagan in 1984,[12] in 2008, 67 percent of Hispanics voted for Obama.[13]  Moreover, while in 1992, Hispanics comprised only 3.7 percent of the voting electorate,[14] in 2008 that number had risen to 9 percent. 

The strong and growing minority trend toward Democrats, and the huge problem it creates for the Republican party, is most clearly seen by contrasting the past and current African-American, Hispanic and Asian voting populations with population projections for the coming decades.  In 1988, minorities comprised 15 percent of the national electorate.[15]  By 2008, that number had grown to 26 percent.[16]  As the minority share of the total population grows from roughly one third in 2008[17] to a projected 54 percent in 2050[18] we can expect much greater minority influence within the national electorate during the next several decades.

The white working class, or those without a college degree, comprise a relatively large demographic group representing about 39 percent of the total electorate in 2008.[19]  Between the years of F.D.R.’s New Deal in 1932 and the Civil Rights Act of 1964, this group voted heavily Democratic.  In the 1960s, they shifted dramatically toward the Republicans, and only began returning to the Democrats during the 1990s.  Nonetheless, they are still predominantly Republican, and voted for McCain over Obama in 2008 by an 18 point margin.[20]  The good news for Democrats is that this group is steadily becoming a smaller segment of the overall electorate.  Since 1988, it has been declining at a rate of about three quarters of a percentage point each year, and is down 15 points over the last twenty years.[21]  The decline in white working class voters is expected to continue as the current upgrading in education progresses, and the group will likely lose an additional six points by 2020.

As noted, Judis and Teixeira’s 2002 analysis neglected to include the influence of young voters, however, Teixeira’s 2009 update found this group to be trending strongly Democratic and an increasingly decisive influence in future elections.  Born between 1978 and 2000, and referred to by Teixeira as the “Millennial Generation,” this demographic group gave Kerry only a 9-point advantage in 2004.  Four years later, however, the group voted for Obama by 66 to 32, or a margin of 34 points.[22] 

Equally importantly, while Millennials comprised only 20 percent of the total electorate in 2008, their turnout between 2004 and 2008 increased by over four percentage points; a turnout increase rate four times the national average.  More bad news for Republicans is that the voting age members of this Millennial group is increasing by about 4.5 million each year, and by 2020, voting age Millennials will make up almost 40 percent of the electorate.[23]   And this 40 percent Democratic Millinnial electorate will be further amplified by the attrition of older voters who tended to vote Republican as strongly as Millennials now vote Democrat. 

The strong and growing trend of Millennials toward the Democratic Party most clearly describes the end of the Reagan Conservative Republican Era because whereas there is substantial overlap in similar trends of the other demographic groups, Millennials are comprised of all non-age-related demographic groups combined.  That Millennials who in 2008 voted for Obama over McCain by a two-to-one margin will comprise 40 percent of the electorate by 2020 singularly bodes disaster for the Republican Party.  When we, as we will in subsequent sections, factor in that of all groups Millennials will be most effected by the threat of climate change and very strongly effected by whatever Progressive remedies to the 2008 global recession are required, we see even more clearly why today’s Republican Party is truly on its last legs. 

[1] Ruy Teixeira, "New Progressive America: Twenty Years of Demographic, Geographic, and Attitudinal Changes Across the Country Herald a New Progressive Majority," Paper prepared for the Progressive Studies Program at the Center for American Progress, March 2009.  p. 11

http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/2009/03/pdf/progressive_america.pdf

[2] John B. Judis and Ruy Teixeira, The Emerging Democratic Majority. (Scribner Book Company, 2002).  p. 39

[3] Teixeira, 2009.  p. 11

[4] Judis and Teixeira, 2002.  p. 49

[5] Teixeira, 2009.  p. 11

[6] Ibid.  p. 12 

[7] Ibid  p. 12 footnote 16:  See Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research, “A New America: Unmarrieds Drive Political and Social Change,” October 31, 2007

[8] Judis and Teixeira, 2002.  p. 56 footnote 46:  See Gallup and NES data.

[9] Teixeira, 2009.  p. 4

[10] Judis and Teixeira, 2002.  p. 56 footnote 50:  See Teixeira, The Disappearing American Voter, author’s analysis of exit-poll and Current Population Survey data.

[11] Teixeira, 2009.  p. 4

[12] Judis and Teixeira, 2002.  p. 58 footnote 52:  See ABC News/ Washington Post poll.

[13] Teixeira, 2009.  p. 4

[14] Judis and Teixeira, 2002.  p. 59

[15] Teixeira, 2009.  p. 4 

[16] Teixeira, 2009.  p. 4

[17] http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/releases/archives/population/012496.html

[18] Teixeira, 2009.  p. 6

[19] http://www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2008/results/polls/#USP00p1

[20] Teixeira, 2009.  p. 8

[21] Ibid.  p. 9

[22] Ibid.  p. 12

[23] Teixeira, 2009.  p. 13 footnote 24:  Based on author’s analysis of 2008 Census National Population Projections by single years of age, the 2008 NEP exit poll sample composition, and 2004 Census Voter Supplement data by single years of age.

 

by Georgeo57 2010-01-11 03:53PM | 0 recs
Somehow, I thought that we were already at the point of having lost our democracy to lobbyist interests.

K Street is still with us, the major lobby groups intact, guns and oil and so forth, and the military-industrial complex alive and well.

by MainStreet 2010-01-11 04:11PM | 1 recs
We're not completely there yet...

but if we keep rolling over, over and over again, by playing holier than thou, and refusing to kill or be killed (figuratively in this case), we will be.

Eventually, climate change mitigation and adaptation needs will provide more than the requisite motivation to end the disproportionate and dangerous power of both rich individuals and corporations, (who seem to more often than not have less of a working conscience than the average Joe), but by the time that happens our children and grandchildren will not have much of a planet to enjoy.  There's a fully justified pre-emption doctrine for you. 

by Georgeo57 2010-01-11 11:32PM | 0 recs

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