About the Elections

I have a mountain of objections to Obama’s second term as President of the country that is now my country, too. There is one argument in favor, though, and it’s a really huge one: the Supreme Court.

The next President will have a chance to seat one and maybe even two Supreme Justices (some people say three, but I don’t think that’s realistic). When I imagine that SCOTUS can get even more conservative than it is now, I get terrified.

So my suggestion is as follows: when you are about to vote, repeat to yourself 3 times “the Citizens United decision” and then decide how you want to cast your ballot.

13 thoughts on “About the Elections

  1. I found this article by my favorite legal pundit rather interesting. It looks at a constitutional amendment proposed to deal with the Citizens United precedent. It would go quite far and I suspect that few would be happy about it.

    Were the proposed amendment adopted, folks could enjoy a five ring circus, clowns and all, as the law of unintended consequences comes into play. If the Supreme Court were to rethink its decision in Citizens United, it should consider the implications with perhaps more care than it sometimes does.


  2. I think this really depends on who would retire. Nothing would change if liberal justices retire.

    Also, I’m liberal when it comes to gun ownership so I hope no rabidly anti-gun judge gets nominated.


      1. I was thinking in terms of Obama remaining in office.

        But for the record, I don’t think Romney would appoint an uber conservative. I don’t think Romney is even more conservative than Obama.


  3. A Mormon married to a perennial housewife? There is absolutely no chance that with this history he doesn’t hate women with a passion.

    I suspect that any of the five Abrahamic faiths could be substituted for ‘Mormon’ in this statement. Maybe the Bahá’í faith is an exception, but they are totally opposed to premarital sex and hence favor quick and early marriage, so maybe not.


      1. Why do you characterize Governor Romney as a “religious fanatic?” Due to his Mormon religion or for some other reason?

        As to being “a lot more conservative than we can even begin to imagine right now,” that would greatly please many conservatives who are far from convinced that he is much different from President Obama. In November, I wrote a satirical article arguing that we should vote for Governor Romney to preserve the status quo. That is, of course a principal reason why many conservatives do not like him.


        1. “In July 1966, Romney left for 30 months in France as a Mormon missionary.[16][30][31] Missionary work was a traditional rite of passage that his father and many other relatives had volunteered for.[nb 5] He arrived in Le Havre with ideas about how to change and promote the French Mission, while facing physical and economic deprivation in their cramped quarters.[31][10] Rules against drinking, smoking, and dating were strictly enforced.[10] Like most individual Mormon missionaries, he did not gain many converts, with the nominally Catholic but secular, wine-loving French people proving especially resistant to a religion that prohibits alcohol.[16][31][10][29] He became demoralized, and later recalled it as the only time when “most of what I was trying to do was rejected.”[31] In Nantes, Romney was bruised defending two female missionaries against a horde of local rugby players.[10] He continued to work hard; having grown up in Michigan rather than the more insular Utah world, Romney was better able to interact with the French.[22][10] He was promoted to zone leader in Bordeaux in early 1968, then in the spring of that year became assistant to the mission president in Paris, the highest position for a missionary.”

          – I’ve been approached by those missionary guys a few times. They were scary. Like robots.


  4. There is an interesting dichotomy here. I am an Agnostic and understand that Clarissa is a Christian. I find nothing fanatical about Governor Romney’s Mormon religion or following the dictates of his faith to serve forty-five years ago as a Mormon missionary in France.

    I too have been approached, not often, by Mormon missionaries. I simply tell them that I am an Agnostic and they go away. I did have a slightly longer conversation with one several years ago at a bus terminal in Colon, Panama. He said that he intended to work with the Indigenous people here, also referred to as Indians. I related one of my experiences with a Kuna while visiting an island the San Blas chain. He had let me read parts of his diary where he had written that the fear of missionaries (they were not Mormon) changing, for the worse, lives in Kuna villages had been realized. I told the Mormon missionary about that and expressed a hope that he and his fellows would not have a similar impact. He was rather non-committal, but I suspect that I would have received a similar non-response from a missionary for any other faith.


  5. Just curious, but what was so bad about the Citizens United decision? It just allows unlimited spending by businesses and unions in political campaigns in terms of advertising, but it doesn’t allow any entity to literally buy a politician (that was outlawed back in the very early 20th century). Citizens United was about freedom because it was determined that campaign finance laws were restricting freedom of speech ultimately.

    Also conservative justices aren’t a problem so long as they abide by the Constitution. Conservative justices who engage in activism would be bad. Personally, I would be afraid of the liberal justices whose philosophy calls for activism, as they believe it is okay to ignore the Constitution if they see it as being outdated or wrong, which can be highly dangerous.


    1. Where is the difference between the Citizens United and buying politicians? I mean the actual practical difference? And how is pouring millions into campaigns even remotely connected to freedom of SPEECH? Who is speaking in this situation?

      As for this canard of “Liberal judicial activism”, please refrain from rwpeating it on my blog. What are you, four? This is a meaningless expression beloved by Fox News idiots.


      1. Bit of a long response, but I just want to fully explain how I understand Citizen’s United:

        Citizen’s United does not allow the pouring of millions into campaigns, it allows unlimited spending regarding speech for a campaign that a corporate entity (which can be anything from a for-profit business to a charity to a civil rights group) or union may choose to support, but it does not allow the direct unlimited giving of money to any campaign.

        The issue was the campaign finance law McCain-Feingold, which was a federal campaign speech restriction law. It outlawed corporate and union speech during political campaigns. Here is part of Justice anthony Kennedy’s majority opinion regarding the ruling:

        “Thus, the following acts would all be felonies under section 441b:..the National Rife Association publishes a book urging the public to vote for the challenger because the incumbent U.S. senator supports a handgun ban; and the American Civil Liberties Union creates a website telling the public to vote for a presidential candidate in light of that candidate’s defense of free speech. These prohibitions are classic examples of censorship.”

        The NRA and almost all civil rights groups are organized as corporations. People think the ruling was about allowing business corporations the same rights as individuals. That’s nonsense. It’s about making sure that one of the ways people organize to be able to engage in free speech, such as forming civil rights groups that are legally structured as a corporation, cannot be censored during a political campaign. And the government basically made it where the people of said groups could get into legal trouble for publishing books, websites, etc…critical of political candidates (you can’t outlaw free speech from civil rights groups during a political campaign, as campaigns are precisely when you start criticizing!).

        Back in 1907, Congress enacted the Tillman Act, which made illegal for any corporation to contribute to a federal election campaign. This law remains on the books and was not overturned. Over previous decades however, various free-speech restrictions for corporate entities and unions have been passed. In particular, one entity the laws sought to restrain the speech of was the National Rifle Association. This was very hypocritical because a major law doing this that was passed in 2002, while banning independent political expenditures by corporations (i.e. NRA) and unions, it allowed a loophole for media organizations. So basically the likes of MSNBC, the New York Times, etc…could spend all the money they wanted speaking against guns while the NRA would be outlawed from defending the pro-gun viewpoint. The politicians who passed this essentially wanted to censor the NRA.

        The NRA fought back however. Its first case, McConnel v. Federal Election Commission. This case was lost 5-4, but it laid bare what the free speech restrictions were actually about, as it showed that the campaign finance laws were really about shutting down the ability of certain factions to criticize politicians. The Citizens United case came in 2008. It was about the fact that during the 2008 primary elections, the group Citizens United wanted to pay for the cable television airing of a documentary it had produced about then Senator Hillary Clinton. The FEC refused to allow the documentary (which was highly critical of Clinton) to air.

        At first, the issue was whether the showing of a movie via on-demand cable constituted “broadcasting” under the law. But then the Obama administration made the argument that under the law, the federal government had the authority to prohibit corporate or union pre-election speech in any media, including published books. And they were correct on this. The law did allow for essentially unlimited censorship. So in 2010, the Supreme Court ruled the law unconstitutional in a 5-4 decision. Corporations (which are not just for-profit businesses, but include charities and civil rights groups as well) and unions cannot be put under censorship during political campaigns. That is the unlimited spending in political campaigns Citizens United allows for.

        What is scary is that if John Kerry had won in 2004, he would likely have appointed left-leaning justices to the Court that probably would have turned Citizens United into a 6-3 win for censorship, as opposed to the 5-4 decision against it that it was.

        And judicial activism is not a meaningless expression. It refers to the repeated practice of justices ignoring what the Constitution actually says if they don’t like it. The Right-wing argue that this happens from the left-wing justices in particular, but one can argue it really happens from justices of both sides.


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