Retired Justice John Paul Stevens received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Obama.
By Bill Mears, CNN Supreme Court Producer
updated 7:36 AM EDT, Thu May 31, 2012
Former Justice Stevens criticizes court over campaign spending rulings
Washington (CNN) -- Retired Justice John Paul Stevens had harsh words for his former conservative colleagues Wednesday, saying they have inconsistently applied the law two years after a sweeping ruling dealing with campaign finance reform.
That controversial decision, known as Citizens United, gave corporations -- individuals, unions, businesses and advocacy groups -- greater power to spend unlimited amounts of money to support or oppose federal election candidates. Stevens issued a bitter dissent in that case, months before stepping down from the high court after 35 years on the bench. He said Congress had long imposed reasonable limits on corporate spending as a way to curb the potentially corrupting influence by the wealthy, whose voices would be heard above those of others in the crowded political landscape.
Stevens, at an evening speech at the University of Arkansas, said the five conservatives who gave corporations greater power in the name of free speech may now be rethinking, even regretting, their decision, based on related cases since that 2010 decision.
In particular, he noted the Citizens United decision, which struck down the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform law, said the First Amendment "generally prohibits the suppression of political speech based on the speaker's identity."
The 92-year-old former justice said the court will soon have to confront the question of whether the ruling applies to the ability of foreign corporations, potentially even terror groups, to spend freely. He predicted the justices would decide it does not.
"The court must then explain its abandonment of, or at least qualify reliance upon, the proposition that the identity of the speaker is an impermissible basis for regulating campaign speech," he told the audience. "It will be necessary to explain why the First Amendment provides greater protection for some nonvoters than that of other nonvoters.
He said American corporations, unlike individuals, were in that broad category of nonvoters. Stevens predicted creating an exception for the foreign corporations "will create a crack in the foundation of the Citizens United majority" led by the conservatives under Chief Justice John Roberts.
President Obama, just days after the Citizens United opinion, said in his State of the Union address that it would "open the floodgates for special interests, including foreign corporations, to spend without limits in our elections."
Justice Samuel Alito, named to the court by President Bush in 2006, was in the audience at the time and famously mouthed the words "not true" to Obama's remarks. But Stevens said that while he has not talked with Alito about it, the mouthed words indicated "there will not be five votes" to sustain a majority if and when the court confronts the foreign spending question.
Stevens also noted time and logic has borne out the president's warnings.
The high court earlier this year upheld a lower court ruling preventing noncitizens from contributing to federal political candidates. That, said Stevens, showed the justices clearly believe "the identity of some speakers may provide a legally acceptable basis for restricting speech" in election contributions.
"I think it likely when the court begins to spell out which categories of nonvoters should receive the same protections" enjoyed by U.S. corporations, "It will not only exclude terrorist organizations and foreign agents, but also all corporations owned or controlled by noncitizens, and possibly even those in which noncitizens have a substantial ownership interest."
Stevens' pointed remarks come in the midst of a presidential campaign season that is already breaking records for spending by outside groups, many of them so-called super PACs now unencumbered by previous spending limits.
The justice on Tuesday received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Obama in a White House ceremony. The president praised Stevens for his independent, rigorous approach to the law, "favoring a pragmatic solution over an ideological one." Critics of Stevens said he had abandoned his earlier conservative leanings to become a liberal on the high court.
In his retirement, Stevens has been outspoken about his former colleagues, criticizing rulings issued before and after he left the court.
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Campaign Spending in Huge Sums....
Is Bribery & Coercion of the Poor
Conservatism - favoring the preservation of established customs, values, etc, and opposing innovation
Liberalism - relating to or having social and political views that favor progress and reform
Conservative or Liberal..., are the "Labels" that are placed on American Citizens, like some type of "brand", similar to what a animal may receive to be identified as belonging to a specific owner.
The Reality... Conservative or Liberal is, in fact, a "brand", and every American Citizen who claims to be either or, you are the cattle and your brand labels you as being "good or bad", pending which "brand" that you have, or which "brand" that you have been brain washed into taking ownership of.
Per the definition of Conservative & Liberal above, I would suggest to every American Citizen that...
"no American Citizen is either or".
Every American Citizen, as well as every human being.., have characteristics of both Conservatism & Liberalism, in that, everyone look forward to the changing and progress being made in all areas of modern technology, while at the same time, everyone enjoys the values of the past that have been passed down from generation to generation.
Supreme Court Justices Brain Washed
There was a time when the Supreme Court was actually a body that we could look up too..., to be a body that would not fall victim to political pandering or allow themselves to be used as political pawns in the gamesmanship of politicians.
But today, every American Citizen is a victim of political position of Supreme Court Justices, who were used as pawns, used to make decisions in favor of a political ideology, just like a branded cow being lead around by his owner.
5 Justices voted in favor of removing restrictions on how much money a entity can donate to a politician or a political party, and it's this ruling that allows any business or group to pour huge sums of money into any political campaign favoring a specific candidate, or a specific political party.
If you do not think that huge sums of money paid on the favor of a political party, well, may I suggest that the reason for the 5 votes for the removal of limits on political contributions were 5 justices selected by Presidents who favored unlimited contributions which primarily are Republican Presidents.
And just as President Obama warned, the flood gates have been opened and Billions will be spent in an effort to spew enough propaganda to sway the poor to vote for the candidate that the "rich" wants in office.
A Lie Repeated enough times will be accepted as the truth. This is called Propagnada.
The Republican Party is the party that has fought tooth and nail for the protection of the Bush Tax Cuts for the Rich to stay in place..., which are tax cuts that the poor actually pay for, and you'd never know what a rich person actually ever do with all their money...,
well now you know..., they pay off politicians, as being proven by the huge sums of money being poured into every election and specifically, into this election of 2012.
1% of the U.S. Population represent the number of Rich, yet, it will be that 1% who spends 90% of all money on the electing of any politician....
I call that smart investing by the rich, or I could call it "Bribery"!
ON the behalf of the poor who don't have huge sums of money to sway the minds of others, I call the abusive excessive spending by rich... an act of "coercion", in that, the poor are being coerced into to voting for a particular politician..., by the number of repeatedly ran commercials that fabricate facts and use misleading information to coerce a poor person into believing that one candidate is worse than another, based on the information being articulated in these adds via radio or t. v..
The Use of "repetition" is a psychological method of conscientious manipulation, thus, by paying for advertisement that mislead the poor, by using the technique of running a specific commercial "X" amount of times, will eventually convince the poor person to believe what the commercial is articulating... are facts.
This is called Propaganda... a political technique used by Hitler against the German citizens prior to WWII.
Facts About The New Unlimited Contributions
Since the Supreme Court ruling that allows this unlimited donations by businesses and secret entities, Chinese Companies have purchased several large companies in the past 2 years, with a recent example being "AMC Theaters". Now, Chinese Business Men will be able to pour huge sums of money into the U.S. political arena, and if we haven't learned how money can buy any politician, just sit back and wait.
200 Years of A Propaganda Branding Program
Conservative & Liberal is nothing more than a "brand", used to force the undeveloped mind to be manipulated to accept that he or she is one thing or another.
Conservative & Liberal are two words used in a "Propaganda Program" for the past 2 hundred years.., a Propaganda Program using the technique repeating the same two words over and over again, until a person accepts the use of the two words as being an accepted consciousness.
Yes it's true, even the smartest and richest ones out there have fallen victims of a the propaganda program of allowing themselves to accept the conscientious branding of believing that you are either a Conservative or Liberal, and pending on which one you have been manipulated to believe you are, you automatically hate the other branded person that accepts being branded the opposite brand.
YOU ARE NOT A CONSERVATIVE OR LIBERAL
YOUR A HUMAN BEING with thousands of character traits.
Voting in American... was originally intended for only a select few of the "upper class people" during the genesis of America. Today, there are huge numbers of people who believe that some American Citizens do not rate the right to vote.
The Two Party System was developed and designed by the original designers of American Society, a society that came from across the ocean, but wanted to maintain the "old ways of England".
3 Centuries Later..., the flawed Two Party System still exists, and with the changing of the demographics of the U.S....., it is now necessary to make the necessary adjustments to the U.S. Political structure to allow for the fair considerations of the current ratio of demographics within the U.S. Population.
Either a 3rd Political Party is required..., designed to represent the totality of all the different race and cultures that currently exist in these United States of America, or the current two parties should be, either, completely dissolved, or forced to allow the changing of the leadership to represent the direct ratio of the demographics that represent it's local constituency in each state.
I'd prefer the first choice, the establishing of a new political party, one which establishes its foundation as that of the current demographics of the American Population, allowing any and all Legal American Citizen to be recognized as part of the American Party, which refers to the exact instance of the freedom of all American Citizens, the right to vote as an individual.
In My Opinion
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