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Supreme Court Decision In McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission

2014-04-03

I should not have to tell you that the Supreme Court, in the McCutcheon case, made a very unpopular decision, and arguably a poor one.

As to popularity, an opinion poll released the next day claimed that 80% of Americans favor restrictions on the amount of money that can be contributed to political candidates.

The quality of the decision could be assailed on the argument that common sense tells us that money influences politics to an undemocratic degree.

In making this decision, the Court asserted that there is no compelling government need for limitation of the First Amendment rights exercised by an individual in contributing large amounts of money to political campaigns.  This is a fundamental misunderstanding of the situations that arise when individuals make disproportionately large contributions to the election campaigns of political parties.  The extent to which a candidate for public office is beholden to a large contributor, regardless of the form in which the contribution is delivered, is far greater than the Court would have us believe.

The best words about this subject, however, were delivered by the great Thomas Jefferson, who wrote in 1816, “I hope that we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations, which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country.”   (thanks to Sally Kohn for this quote; she wrote an eloquent opinion piece on the Supreme Court decision that appeared on CNN:  http://www.cnn.com/2014/04/02/opinion/kohn-court-campaign-limits/index.html?hpt=hp_bn7  )

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