This from Adam B at DKos. In the long run (hopefully not that long), the answer must be public campaign finance.
It’s anticipated that the Supreme Court of the United States will be handing down its long-awaited opinion in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission tomorrow morning.
D. But corporations aren’t people!
Sure, but the First Amendment’s freedom of speech clause isn’t limited to people, though the assembly and petition clauses are. (Other amendments are limited to “citizens,” for what it’s worth.) One need not recognize corporations as “people” to respect their speech as “speech” which the First Amendment forbids Congress from interdicting without a compelling state interest.
The AFL-CIO is a corporation. So’s the ACLU. Both support Citizens United in this litigation.
E. And is this the end of the world?
Not necessarily, but there will be a real potential for corporate-funded advocacy to distort the current market for political speech. And we’ll talk about that as well as ways to balance against it.
What’s not at issue, by the way, are direct corporate financial contributions to candidates for public office — currently illegal under federal law, but legal in a good number of states. That’s another potential battle years down the road.