Monday, May 30, 2011

U.S. Courts: buying elections is okay--dancing, not so much

There's no other conclusion we can take from a series of recent court decisions other than to recognize that the United States' federal judiciary has taken on a distinct rightward slant. Basically far-right wing interests can do anything, say anything they want but if left-leaning groups attempt anything resembling free speech then they are to be clubbed into silence. Consider the following cases . . .

In Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, 558 U.S. 08-205 (2010), the United States Supreme Court held that corporate funding of independent political broadcasts in candidate elections cannot be limited because of the First Amendment. Now in United States v. Danielczyk, a federal judge in Virginia has stricken down any limit on corporate donations to political campaigns.

Corporations can do anything, pay anything for any reason, buy anyone. Now compare these cases . . .

In Oberwetter v. Hilliard a woman was arrested for dancing silently to music on her iPod at the Jefferson Memorial. She was disturbing no one. That was in 2008. When a group of people protested that decision this past Saturday by dancing--again, silently--at the Jefferson Memorial, the U.S. Park Police crushed the protest, arresting five people.

But then you have to consider this decision . . .

In Snyder v. Phelps the U.S Supreme Court ruled that it was okey-dokey fine for far-right homophobic protesters to protest at the funerals of U.S. Servicemen and women. Perfectly legal to disrupt the funeral and deliberately inflict emotional pain on the families of our nation's fallen warriors. But silently dancing at the Jefferson Memorial is a no-no.

The right wing can now do or say anything it likes, buy any election it wishes, while the rest of us are now second-class citizens without so much as the right to dance silently at a public monument. So much for freedom.

No comments: