Justice Thomas defended the recent decision to allow corporate influence in US elections.
He added that the history of Congressional regulation of corporate involvement in politics had a dark side, pointing to the Tillman Act, which banned corporate contributions to federal candidates in 1907.
“Go back and read why Tillman introduced that legislation,” Justice Thomas said, referring to Senator Benjamin Tillman. “Tillman was from South Carolina, and as I hear the story he was concerned that the corporations, Republican corporations, were favorable toward blacks and he felt that there was a need to regulate them.”
Now, I’m quite sure that Obama had no intention to support a law that was attacking blacks, and I’m sure he’s raised the minimum wage which was also originally intended to target blacks. (7th paragraph on the link)
It is thus a mistake, the justice said, to applaud the regulation of corporate speech as “some sort of beatific action.”
Justice Thomas said the First Amendment’s protections applied regardless of how people chose to assemble to participate in the political process.
“If 10 of you got together and decided to speak, just as a group, you’d say you have First Amendment rights to speak and the First Amendment right of association,” he said. “If you all then formed a partnership to speak, you’d say we still have that First Amendment right to speak and of association.”
“But what if you put yourself in a corporate form?” Justice Thomas asked, suggesting that the answer must be the same.
Asked about his attitude toward the two decisions overruled in Citizens United, he said, “If it’s wrong, the ultimate precedent is the Constitution.”
A good point.
The EFA here tried to limit private campaigns, but ended up missing the very Exclusive Brethren style campaigns it was intended to stop. That’s because any rich individual can mount their own campaign. If a group of average Joes want to mount a campaign want to do so, they have to join together.
HT: Gateway Pundit
So striking down these laws can be, in that sense, a win for the little guy!