Presidents and the Supreme Court

  • Thursday, November 1, 2012 11:41am
  • News

Most Libertarians, Democrats, Tea Party activists and some Republicans agree that the rich should not be able to buy elections. For the first time, nonprofits, corporations and unions are legally spending billions for political ads. The “Citizens United” Supreme Court decision, 2010, eviscerated campaign reform laws and earlier United States Supreme Court decisions by stating that corporations, nonprofits and unions have the same free-speech rights as people.
As a person, I have free speech.  After Citizens United, if I were rich, I could give unlimited amounts of money to organizations which can hide my identity.
In his minority opinion, Justice John Paul Stevens wrote, “A democracy cannot function effectively when its constituent members believe laws are being bought and sold.” Before voting Nov. 6, 2012, I want to know whether President Obama or Gov. Romney would more likely appoint justices who believe people have greater free speech rights than corporations.
This chart shows which Supreme Court justices voted for the main part of the Citizens United Decision and which voted against it. The chart reports which president appointed each justice (R = Republican; D = Democrat).
Justices for Citizens United    President       Party    Date
Anthony Kennedy     Ronald Reagan     R    1988              
John Roberts, Chief     George W Bush    R    2005
Clarence Thomas    George HW Bush    R    1991              
Antonin Scalia    Ronald Reagan    R    1986              
Samuel Alito    George W Bush    R    2006  
­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­
Justices against Citizens United
John Paul Stevens    Gerald Ford    R    1975
Ruth Bader Ginsburg    Bill Clinton     D    1993
Stephen Breyer    Bill Clinton     D    1994
Sonia Sotomayor    Barack Obama    D    2009

The chart indicates that Barack Obama is more likely than Mitt Romney to appoint justices who believe that people have broader rights to free speech than corporations.                        
Amy Bollenbac

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