Sunday, June 11, 2006

EQUAL JUSTICE UNDER LAW: Lies over the door to the Supreme Court

Plessy v. Ferguson. What would your reaction to that phrase be if you didn't know the decision was a racist lie? If the pretext of the decision had been true, if it had maintained or established real equality would it be a stain across our history? It wouldn't come right after Dred Scott on the list of infamous Supreme Court injustices. Equality for black people in 1896 was a lie and the majority in Plessy knew it was a lie as they told it.

I second the nomination of Buckley v. Valeo to join that list of shame. That decision makes a pretext of upholding free speech rights while clearly endowing the rich with superior speech rights. It says that money equals speech.

If money equals speech then you can count it, you can figure out how much speech someone has. It only takes the simplest math. With p being a person and M being the money they have. p(M)= Speech owned by p. Or, more simply, 1xM=Speech. p is a person and always equals 1. M is a variable, it depends on the amount of money p owns. As M increases then the total speech owned by p increases. Buckley v. Valeo makes it possible for the first time in our history to calculate the amount of free speech someone has.

It might be lost on our brilliant Supreme Court and the scholars who support this monstrosity but if M=O the free speech owned by p is zero. Maybe they are so busy rearranging legal Platonisms that they don't know what happens when you multiply one by zero. Or maybe they do understand and the outcome doesn't bother them. And that wouldn't surprise me anymore than that it is a Buckley who has his name attached to it.

The law being an ass, it is possible for someone to support this awful decision on theoretical principle while ignoring its horrible results. At least one of our greatest Justices, Marshall, did support it. I wonder if he would have if he knew what it would lead to. But that any of the self-proclaimed "originalists" could support it is stinking hypocrisy. The founders held that all people have equal speech rights under the law. Yet the plain result of Buckley v. Valeo not only distributes the right of free speech unequally, it also theoretically blots it out for the dispossessed. I say theoretically but can anyone looking at our politics since this decision honestly deny that this hasn't been the clear result?

I don't have much M but I'll be damned and in the fires of hell before I'm going to be silent about this.

Very good. My thoughts exactly. A travesty of justice in the same vein as Fox Network and Nike being allowed to lie by court decisions. Truly an evil period in American history.
pseudolus, thank you. There are several Supreme Court decisions that need to be over turned. I'm going to be doing some research on some of those and writing about them in the coming weeks.
"Money = Speech" is right behind "Corporations are People" in my list of travesties infecting our political/legal system.

The right of free speech should accrue to individuals only, and it should not be based on how much money/access/other assets that person has or can accumulate.

Conversely, corporations are non-persons and are entitled to none of the rights guaranteed to individuals by our Bill of Rights.

Corporations exist only as convenient figments of our economic imaginations, and the sooner we stop treating them as entities independent of the individuals who comprise them, the better off we shall be.
arkades, a piece on corporations as persons is being worked on. We have to kill that monster and it's not going to be easy.
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