by Jim Nintzel
Congressman Raul Grijalva has responded to today's split decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to lift limits on corporate political spending:
In today’s case of Citizens United V. FEC, the Supreme Court went far beyond precedent, far beyond the original intent of the Constitution, and far beyond anything the Founders meant when they protected freedom of speech for individuals. James Madison never intended for the First Amendment to apply to corporations; he meant free speech to be for the people.
As it stood, the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act destroyed by the Supreme Court today did not take away access to political speech by corporations. A corporation could have spent unlimited sums of money to televise and broadcast its message at any time except immediately before primaries and general elections. This limited law was directed at keeping wealthy corporate interests from drowning out the voice of individuals just before a vote. The idea that corporations must be treated identically to human beings when it comes to political speech is a bad reading of history and an insult to the people of this country.
This outrageous ruling is a power grab by conservative judicial activists unnecessarily overturning more than a century of judicial precedent. Congress must address the incongruous and undemocratic outcome of this inflation of corporate power, starting with passage of the Fair Elections Now Act, in order to begin to return the electoral process back to the American people. Congress must move to make it clear that free speech is meant for individuals and not for corporations.