The Supreme Court’s decision regarding Citizen’s United v. Federal Elections Commission has served as an ominous reminder of our Representative Republic’s fragility and by extension the need for its vigilant preservation. Our founders sought to create a Republican form of government that would balance democracy with the individual rights of citizens. This framework that they provided guaranteed the equality of each and every citizen before the eyes of the law. Each and every individual would have the same legal rights, the same vote, and the same basic liberties we have enjoyed under our Bill of Rights for over 200 years. Central to the safeguarding of these god-given freedoms was the promise of elected representation. This system would reflect the democratic impulses of majority rule, while countering them with the measured refinement of deliberative republicanism.
In 2008 Citizen’s United, a conservative political action group sought to release a film highly critical of Senator Hillary Clinton in anticipation that she would be the presidential nominee of the Democratic Party. The release of the film would conflict with the McCain-Feingold Act, and the group filed suit to avoid pending legal trouble by arguing that provisions of that law were illegal and violated the First Amendment. Thus Citizen’s United claimed that as a corporation they were protected under Freedom of Speech. In a 5-4 decision the Robert’s Court found that the Bill of Rights protected the rights of “persons” not “citizens” and by extension guaranteed the same rights to corporations that are guaranteed to individuals. The United States is now unique in the world in it’s definition of free speech as being equal for non-commercial and business corporations as with individual citizens.
President Obama outlined the dire nature of this ruling in his statement, saying: ” With it’s ruling today, the Supreme Court has given a green light to a new stampede of special interest money into our politics. It is a major victory for big oil, Wall Street, health insurance companies and other powerful interests that marshal their power every day in Washington to drown out the voices of everyday Americans who make small contributions to support their preferred candidates.” He echoed the previous statement two days later in his State of The Union Address;” The Supreme Court reversed a century of Law to open the floodgates for special interests, including foreign companies- to spend without interests in our elections.”
At Perenich The Law Firm, We believe that all citizens deserve the protection of a Government that defends the common good, in concert with the will of the people; rather than a Legal System shamelessly rooted in powerful self interested factionalism. We will fight for the interests of hard working average citizens from all walks of life, against the corporate elites that would transform our great nation into one that puts profit over people.