Posted: January 21, 2010 in Justice

THIS ARTICLE reports the monumental Supreme Court decision handed down today allowing corporations to spend their own money to support political candidates. The vote was strictly along ideological lines with the five conservatives trumping the four liberals. There are so many ugly ways to talk about this that I won’t even start.

Justice Kennedy said this for the majority: “The 1st Amendment does not permit Congress to make these categorical distinctions based on the corporate identity of the speaker and the content of the political speech.”

Justice Stevens said this for the dissent: “Under today’s decision, multinational corporations controlled by foreign governments would have the same rights as Americans to spend money to tilt U.S. elections. Corporations are not human beings. They can’t vote and can’t run for office.”

Justice Kennedy will be here at Pepperdine in a couple of weeks, and I look forward to hearing him defend this decision.

Still, I was encouraged today. Michael Hershman, a leading ethicist and a bicycling buddy of Dean Ken Starr, spoke to a large crowd at the law school during our lunch hour. A student asked him about the Supreme Court decision handed down today, and he not only expressed his disfavor toward the decision, but also toward politics in general. Even though he lives and works and breathes D.C., he said that he is now to the point where he doesn’t even want to hear about politics anymore.

I know the feeling.

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