Skip to comments.Antonin Scalia vs. John Paul Stevens
Posted on 01/23/2010 3:00:57 AM PST by free1977free
Counting the majority opinion and the various partial concurrences and dissents, todays landmark First Amendment decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission clocks in a hefty 183-pages. But one thing that jumped right out while reading the dissent (its also a concurrence, in parts) written by Justice John Paul Stevens and joined by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, and Sonia Sotomayor, is Stevens' angry tone. He calls the idea that the First Amendment forbids distinctions between individuals and individuals organized as a corporation a glittering generality with no foundation in the law, and later declares, Under the majority's view, I suppose it may be a First Amendment problem that corporations are not permitted to vote, given that voting is, among other things, a form of speech. Well!
But most significantly, Stevens accuses the majority of making only a perfunctory attempt to ground its analysis in the principles or understandings of those who drafted and ratified the Amendment. Stevens even cites the influential legal conservative Judge Robert Bork to impugn the majoritys originalist credentials. That's not something you see everyday.
Justice Antonin Scalia, however, isnt having it:
I write separately to address JUSTICE STEVENS discussion of Original Understandings... This section of [Stevens'] dissent purports to show that todays decision is not supported by the original understanding of the First Amendment. The dissent attempts this demonstration, however, in splendid isolation from the text of the First Amendment. It never shows why the freedom of speech that was the right of Englishmen did not include the freedom to speak in association with other individuals, including association in the corporate form. To be sure, in 1791 (as now) corporations could pursue only the objectives set forth in their charters; but the dissent provides no evidence that their speech in the pursuit of those objectives could be censored....
The [First] Amendment is written in terms of "speech," not speakers. Its text offers no foothold for excluding any category of speaker, from single individuals to partnerships of individuals, to unincorporated associations of individuals, to incorporated associations of individuals--and the dissent offers no evidence about the original meaning of the text to support any such exclusion. We are therefore simply left with the question whether the speech at issue in this case is "speech" covered by the First Amendment. No one says otherwise.
The dissent says that speech refers to oral communications of human beings, and since corporations are not human beings they cannot speak. Post, at 37, n. 55. This is sophistry. The authorized spokesman of a corporation is a human being, who speaks on behalf of the human beings who have formed that associationjust as the spokesman of an unincorporated association speaks on behalf of its members.
Like they used to say in Mad Magazine...Yecccch!
If the combat between Scalia and Stevens is judged by intellect, logic, clarity (and truth), Scalia is the tiger and Stevens is the meal. It is such a joy to read Scalia’s opinions.
Didn't Reagan nominate Scalia and Thomas? Since the ObamaMarxists, with Bush's help, have all but obliterated 20 years of Reagan's REAL economic recovery, at least Reagan lives on through the grace of having theses justices as the vanguard of upholding the Constitution against the traitors and tyrants in our midst.
John Paul Stevens....... another nightmare of an appointment from a Republican ....... considering the number of appointments that R. presidents made in the recent decades, too much of the output of the SCOTUS is an utter disgrace (until today!)
Love it when Scalia slices and dices liberal idiocies
Scalia is, as always, dead on.
The First Amendment says “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
It does not grant a right to free speech to individual persons, as the left has argued. It restricts congress from making any law prohibiting or abridging the freedom of speech. Period. The First Amendment is not about what people may or may not do. It is about what congress may or may not do.
Bush 41 nominated Thomas.
Reagan nominated O’Connor, Scalia, Bork, and Kennedy.
Bush Sr. nominated Thomas and Souter.
Professor Bork’s nomination, as you know, was not approved by the Senate.
“No law means no law.” - Hugo Black
Seems pretty simple if they could all just get their fingers off.
And the FCC should be confined to purely technical issues where signals cross state lines.
After Ted Kennedy “borked” Bork, potentially the one of the best SCOTUS Justices ever, wasn’t Justice Kennedy nominated in his place? If that’s true, it’s a substantial certainty that Roe v. Wade would have been overturned in the early 90’s, and millions of unborn saved from the on-going infanticide horror. Blood on the hands of Kennedy and his ilk, is how I see it.
I wish we had 9 Thomases. But I would settle for five Thomases with four Scalias on his left.
It's fun to read the opinions of those who have a grasp of the principles AND the law, and know how to express their position well.
We wouldn't be having this discussion without two of Bush's picks, and we can't give Reagan credit or blame for the economy until Bush showed up.
Yes. Yes. And yes.
I met Blackmun, the American Eichmann, once.
Unfortunately it was before I was fully politically engaged.
This is clearer thinking than four of our SCOTUS justices. I haven't yet read the majority opinion yet, but can't image it being put more succinctly than you have here.
wish that O’Connor, Kennedy, and Souter had never gotten on the court.....
not to mention Stevens and Blackmun earlier......
it was wonderful of GW to give us Roberts and Alito......
Don’t forget, though, GWB first tried to give us Harriet Miers.
We lead the fight against her here. And we won.
oh, yes, it was quite the near fiasco with Harriet Miers
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