|Despite the paranoia of my fellow liberals, the sky is not falling because of the Citizens United decision.|
|Sheldon Adelson, conservative|
|George Soros, liberal|
I am not the only liberal who believes the Citizens United decision was correct. So does the ACLU, the most important defender of civil liberties in the country, and an organization vilified in some quarters as too liberal. The AFL-CIO, no friend of conservative causes, also submitted a brief to the Supreme Court that supported its final decision in the case. Michael Kinsley is just one liberal columnist to come out in support of the decision. I agree with the ACLU, the AFL-CIO, and Kinsley: Citizens United was properly decided. Post-Citizens United, democracy is still safe and as thriving as ever.
|Romney (above) and Obama (below) ended up spending about the same amount of money in the campaign.|
|If Citizens United had been decided otherwise, both Stephen Colbert (top) |
and Jon Stewart (below) might have had to cancel their shows as the election approached.
Myth #4: Citizens United was about giving corporations more power and treating them like actual people. At no point in its decision did the Supreme Court say that corporations were people. It simply said that a corporation, like any other group of people, had the same free-speech rights as flesh-and-blood individuals or groups. The decision did not recognize that only corporations like General Electric and the oil companies have free-speech rights. It also recognized that nonprofit groups like Planned Parenthood, the ACLU, the Sierra Club, and, yes, Citizens United have such rights. And that unions like the AFL-CIO have such rights. And that you and I, if we wish to pool our money into a PAC to support a candidate, have such rights. If Citizens United had been decided the other way, environmental groups, book publishers, newspaper publishers, magazine publishers, tv shows (like Jon Stewart’s and Steven Colbert’s), and movie makers could have been prevented from publishing or airing anything that might be construed as politician advocacy in the 60 days before an election. That’s right: books, movies, and newspapers with political advocacy content could have been banned; Comedy Central, Jon Stewart and Steven Colbert could well have found themselves prosecuted for promoting certain candidates; groups like Planned Parenthood, the ACLU, the Nature Conservancy, and Move On could have been prohibited from airing ads that might be construed as supporting one candidate over another. Most of Michael Moore’s movies would have had to be taken off the screen. MSNBC and Fox News (both parts of corporations and both with clear advocacy content) would, to be consistent, have to go black. Does anyone believe that such censorship would have been good for democracy? Citizens United was not about corporations alone. It was about every group or organization in the country. It was also about allowing you and me to pool our money to support our candidate.