Requiem for American Democracy?

A lot of people have been asking me why we are so despondent about the Citizen’s United decision by SCOTUS. After all, they say, Liberal contributors such as Unions can now contribute as much as Republicans. Let me try to explain why Citizen’s United is such a threat to American Democracy.

The Citizen’s United decision is dangerous from a legal perspective insofar as it reverses over 100 years of legal precedents by other Courts. It elevated the rights of corporations from being an assembly of citizens to being a citizen itself. This is one of the most extreme cases of judicial activism ever seen – you would be hard pressed to find ANY decision by a Supreme Court reversing such a long history of legal precedent. It is disturbing to see a Court so willing to ignore the law to create an essentially political outcome.

Secondly, the elevation of the status of corporations is dangerous because it allows for foreign interference in domestic elections. Many Corporations are owned in part by foreign investors, including foreign governments. The CEO and Boards of many corporations are appointed with the approval of these foreign investors. These same people then make the decisions on how to “invest” in which candidate they feel will serve their will.

Citizen’s United is also dangerous because unlimited funds to underwrite speech necessarily will limit the speech of others. There is only so much commercial time, billboards, etc. and he who can pay the most can dominate the opportunity for speech. Union memberships has been steadily decreasing, and the second column of the right wing assault on democracy is the attempt to break public sector unions, the only unions with steady membership. Once they are gone there will be no one left to represent the interests of the middle class.

Finally, Citizen’s United will have the most devastating effect on a local level. Corporations can contribute thousands of dollars to elect their choices to every office from The Board of Education, to City Council to State Legislatures affecting a whole spectrum of issues form zoning to environmental regulation to taxes. That money will overwhelm ordinary citizens and determine the outcome.       

5 Responses to Requiem for American Democracy?

  1. Frank Cusumano says:

    Interesting, and true. I always wondered how the textualists on the SCOTUS (and the Michigan Supreme Court) can justify their reversal(s) of established statutory interpretation of the law. Finally, I realized that it is the rawest exercise of politcal power. The “conservatives” are just as aggressive and creative as any “liberal.” Those labels are just buzz words, and have no meaning when it comes to politics, or stated otherwise, the grab for the pie. The Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA) prohibits any foreign national from contributing, donating or spending funds in connection with any federal, state, or local election in the United States, either directly or indirectly. As Fieger points out, Citizens United undermines that policy. Elected officials, prosecutors, and “rule of law” Judges willfully turn a blind eye when the dollars come rolling in. That is all the matters is power.

    The government will raid Fieger’s office and prosecute for so-called “conduit contributions,” but will allow multinational and transnational corporations (subsidiaries incorporated in the US of course) to make contributions. The “safeguards” are easily avoided as long as the foreign nationals and their corporate entities don’t list themselves on the paperwork. 11 CFR 110.20(i). Now Goldman Sachs is brokering the sale of US roads, bridges and infrastructures to these same foreign corporations. And the citizens, well, they have to start paying tolls to use these roads, bridges and thoroughfares.

    Fieger is, to my knowledge, the only one who is calling this to the citizenry’s attention.

  2. Nancy Fox says:

    Can you please tell me how to contact your offices by email?

  3. If you have a potential case, please visit our website We have a case submission form that you can fill out with your details.

  4. Patricia Lumpkin says:

    My dad a union member for about 50 years and usually so frugal, was in a different type of union! As union stewards, local, presidents, and local courts break the law and allow for the law to be broken! Corporations just thump them away like a pesky fly, they see that the same dirt is happening on both sides of the fence, so who is a union steward for USW at BP, Texas City Refinery or his boss who continues the crime and, is the president locally of USW and AFL-CIO!

    What company would be afraid to stop crime with all this crime in a liberal representative group! Some could be the blatant racism in our little area , where the first black female mayor of La Marque, Texas, won and had to run 2 additional times until voted out the third time! During this time while trying to get city work done, she was unable to get basic items like the budget from her subordinates and the Texas Attorney general, even dragged his feet in making this happen! During the season when BP was still saying that oil their showing you on tv that appears to be flowing at a large rate where we are trying to retrieve our diamond head cutter! Well, it was our lying eyes and, the lying fail proof equipment THEY are testing with!

    If you allow the small crimes, step on little people, and the big people aren’t buying unless tax is minimum to free and at a discount! That doesn’t leave people to profit or gouge! We have already established that crime is ok, when the little crimes are being committed, and rubber stamped ok! Of course crimes are just getting bigger and bigger!

    I found it very entertaining that M. Romney won’t release tax forms but, FOR THE LAST 10 YEARS HE’S ONLY PAID ABOUT 13% IN TAXES! WAS THE LAST TIME THE MIDDLE CLASS IF ANY ARE LEFT PAID 13% IN TAXES?

  5. Who was it that said,

    “When you have no basis for an argument, abuse the plaintiff,”?

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