Campaign Finance

Presidential race may leave lasting imprint on Supreme Court

Future appointments by Obama or Romney could be pivotal on issues of gay rights, gun laws, abortion and money in politics.

The Supreme Court is not on the ballot in November, but its future direction on issues such as abortion, gay rights, gun rights, voting laws and the role of money in politics depends on who is elected president for the next four years.

Clint Bolick, a lawyer for the Goldwater Institute in Phoenix, is not rooting for an Obama victory, but he agrees the election could have a lasting effect on a closely split court. “The average justice remains in office nearly 25 years — more than six presidential terms. Supreme Court nominations are one of most enduring legacies a president has,” he said.

Obama’s two appointees — Justices Sonia Sotomayor, 58, and Elena Kagan, 52 — have generally liberal voting records. Sotomayor was in the minority in the 5-4 decision in the Citizens United case, which freed corporations and unions to independently spend unlimited sums on campaign ads, and Kagan opposed the move when she served as solicitor general.

Given one more liberal vote, the court would likely switch directions on campaign money and uphold laws that limit election spending and require the full disclosure of donors. With an extra conservative vote, however, the justices on the right are likely to go further and free big donors — including corporations — to give money directly to candidates and parties.

The law on abortion could also switch with a change of one justice. With an extra vote on the right, the six Republican appointees would likely uphold strict regulation of abortion, and possibly a criminal ban. With an extra vote on the left, however, the liberal bloc could strike down state or federal regulations that limit abortions or restrict abortion doctors.

To read this incisive report by David Savage in the L.A. Times please click here.

And if you are thinking of not voting or making a symbolic futile vote, just think of what another activist conservative Federalist Supreme Court Justice can do to influence the next 25 years,

One Percenters Buying Themselves an Aristocracy

The U.S. Constitution guarantees separation of church and state. What this nation needs now is separation of wealth and state.

Without such a protection, Americans stand to lose their democracy. They’ll be ruled instead by an aristocracy of 1 percenters.

That’s the 1 percenters’ plan. To them, it was no more than a perk when the U.S. Supreme Court enabled politicians to open their wallets for unlimited, anonymous campaign contributions. That’s because way before the 2010 Citizens United ruling, 1 percenters were working on a takeover. If the 99 percent don’t stop them soon, don’t establish some sort of separation of wealth and state, then the nation will lose its founding precepts — that all men are created equal and that governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed. Aristocracies can ignore the governed.

Already the 1 percenters have been extraordinarily successful. The rich really do enjoy advantages. They’ve succeeded in stuffing Congress with their peers. In America, fewer than 1 percent of all people are millionaires. In Congress, 47 percent are. The median net worth of a U.S. senator in 2010 was $2.56 million.

To read this incisive article by Leo W. Gerard, President of the United Steelworkers, please click here

For-Profit Charter Chains Pour Money into Florida State Senate Races

This past spring, the state senate deadlocked on a 20-20 vote and did not pass a parent trigger law supported by right-wingers Jeb Bush and Michelle Rhee.

Even some Republican senators turned against the proposal when not a single Florida parent group supported it.

Every Florida parent group opposed it. They warned that the parent trigger was a transparent attempt by the charter operators to trick parents into handing their public school over to the charter chains.

By funding opposition to the senators who oppose the parent trigger, the for-profit charter chains are demonstrating that the parent groups were right.

To read more of this article, please click here

Supreme Court strengthens Citizens United decision with Montana ruling

The Supreme Court on Monday reaffirmed the right of corporations to make independent political expenditures, summarily overturning a 100-year-old Montana state law that barred corporations from such political activity…

The court issued a summary reversal without waiting to hear oral arguments in the case

…In a dissent, Justice Stephen Breyer wrote that “Montana’s experience, like considerable experience elsewhere since the Court’s decision in Citizens United, casts grave doubts on the Court’s supposition that independent expenditures do not corrupt or appear to do so.” But he acknowledged that the court was not likely to reconsider the ruling.

To read more about this political decision by the activist Supreme Court, please click here

Koch Brothers, Chamber of Commerce Face Possible Campaign Donation Disclosure After Ruling

as posted to VLTP by Donna Brusoski

WASHINGTON — On Friday evening, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia issued a ruling that could begin the process of revealing the identities of secret donors to groups connected to Karl Rove and the Koch brothers.

The court ruled in Van Hollen v. Federal Election Commission that the FEC rules that restricted campaign donor disclosure are not valid and must be changed to provide for disclosure.

David Koch is major funder of independent groups, like Americans for Prosperity, that would be forced to disclose their donors for “electioneering communications” under the District Court’s ruling in Van Hollen v. Federal Election Commission (FEC).

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