Like many people in this country I have always thought the “Citizens United” Supreme Court decision was problematic, but I couldn’t put my finger on exactly why. Then today, for some unknown reason, it came to me.
As I understand it this controversial decision, the Supreme Court stated that corporations have exactly the same legal status people; even when it comes to political contributions, which it stated was equivalent to free speech.
I see two problems with this.
- Almost without exception corporations are owned by a group of people–shareholders. If these people are American citizens they have the right to vote and to say what ever they want, politically. The corporations themselves do NOT have the right to vote and so should not have the right to free political speech. They are a business entity–created for the sole purpose of conducting business. The Citizens United decision allows not only the individual shareholders to participate in the political process as individuals, but collectively as well. It seems like a violation of the “one person, one vote” rule to me.
- Additionally, people who are NOT American citizens can own stock in American corporations. That means that people in other countries can influence American elections. I am sure everyone can agree we don’t want that.
Get rid of Citizens United, what ever it takes.