Citizens United

There have been a whole host of SCOTUS decisions that have been unfathomable, which over time have been either overturned by a later SCOTUS or the legislature has passed laws to overcome them.

Examples: From Wiki –

Loewe v. Lawler

Loewe v. Lawlor, 208 U.S. 274 (1908),[1] (also referred to as the Danbury Hatters’ Case) was a U.S. Supreme Court decision concerning the application of antitrust laws to labor unions. It was reversed by the Clayton Act of 1914.

Lochner v. New York
Lochner v. New York, 198 U.S. 45 (1905), was a landmark United States Supreme Court case that held a “liberty of contract” was implicit in the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The case involved a New York law that limited the number of hours that a baker could work each day to ten, and limited the number of hours that a baker could work each week to 60. By a 5-4 vote, the Supreme Court rejected the argument that the law was necessary to protect the health of bakers, deciding it was a labor law attempting to regulate the terms of employment, and calling it an “unreasonable, unnecessary and arbitrary interference with the right and liberty of the individual to contract.” Justice Rufus Peckham wrote for the majority, while Justices John Marshall Harlan and Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. filed dissents.

Lochner was one of the most controversial decisions in the Supreme Court’s history, starting what is now known as the Lochner era. In the Lochner era, the Supreme Court issued several controversial decisions invalidating progressive federal and state statutes that sought to regulate working conditions during the Progressive Era and the Great Depression. Justice Harlan’s dissent, joined by two other Justices, argued that the Court gave insufficient weight to the state’s argument that the law was a valid health measure. Justice Holmes’s famous lone dissent criticized the decision for discarding sound constitutional interpretation in favor of personal beliefs, writing: “[t]he Fourteenth Amendment does not enact Mr. Herbert Spencer’s Social Statics.” This was a reference to a book in which Spencer advocated a strict laissez faire philosophy.

And Plessy v Ferguson

Plessy v. Ferguson, 163 U.S. 537 (1896), is a landmark United States Supreme Court decision in the jurisprudence of the United States, upholding the constitutionality of state laws requiring racial segregation in private businesses (particularly railroads), under the doctrine of “separate but equal“.

The decision was handed down by a vote of 7 to 1 with the majority opinion written by Justice Henry Billings Brown and the dissent written by Justice John Marshall Harlan. Associate Justice David Josiah Brewer did not participate in the decision.[further explanation needed] “Separate but equal” remained standard doctrine in U.S. law until its repudiation in the 1954 Supreme Court decision Brown v. Board of Education.

And Civil Rights Cases 1883

The Civil Rights Cases, 109 U.S. 3 (1883)[1], were a group of five similar cases consolidated into one issue for the United States Supreme Court to review. The Court held that Congress lacked the constitutional authority under the enforcement provisions of the Fourteenth Amendment to outlaw racial discrimination by private individuals and organizations, rather than state and local governments.

More particularly, the Court held that the Civil Rights Act of 1875, which provided that “all persons within the jurisdiction of the United States shall be entitled to the full and equal enjoyment of the accommodations, advantages, facilities, and privileges of inns, public conveyances on land or water, theaters, and other places of public amusement; subject only to the conditions and limitations established by law, and applicable alike to citizens of every race and color, regardless of any previous condition of servitude” was unconstitutional.

But Citizens United has nothing to do with ‘prior restraint.’  This has everything to do with multi-billionaires and large corporations being able to donate and/or purchase ads in support of a Republican candidate and they can not be forced to reveal their name.  Large corporations do not have to face the buying public and explain why they funded the campaign of some ignorant, under education misogynist who will eliminate the Dept. of Education and make rape & incest victims bear the product of that heinous act.

Obviously, when the Constitution was written in 1787, there were a whole lot of things to come that the founding fathers could not anticipate or conceive of.  Corporations were one of those things.  The Constitution must stay relevant.  Must stay current.

The Roberts court may try to arrive at a narrow opinion by a selective reading of the Constitution, but previous SCOTUS have also considered how their decision will affect the daily lives of the citizens.  I do not think that that is an unrealistic approach.

Explore posts in the same categories: Politics, Supreme Court


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One Comment on “Citizens United”

  1. […] Liberty Street “Of all the various virtues, the most beloved is liberalism.” — Aristotle « Citizens United […]

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