Is Citizens United Hurting American Democracy?

Readers share their thoughts.

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Michael Waldman of NYU’s Brennan Center for Justice argued against the Supreme Court ruling because it warps policymaking; John Samples of the Cato Institute said it upholds freedom of speech. Your feedback:

The partisan Supreme Court decision on Citizens United clearly favors big business, which has much more money to contribute to political campaigns than any group or citizens on the left. The ploy that the many TV ads we endure are “speech,” rather than aid to campaigns, is just silly. And, unfortunately, we all know that way too many in this country are influenced by anything shouted loud enough and often enough, so it can be expected that the big money will win elections for candidates favoring big business.

[Check out our editorial cartoons on the 2010 campaigns.]

TOM KARASEK Longview, Wash.

The Supreme Court decided correctly. Any group or organization—left, right, or center—has the right of free speech. Period.

RICHARD SCHAEFER Marina del Rey, Calif.

Mr. Samples has just unloaded the biggest crock of gobbledygook I have heard in my 70 years. Since when is a corporation an individual? What about those corporations that are multinationals? Do we want other countries having a vote in our elections? This decision is really not about free speech. It is about corporations being allowed to contribute unimpeded, with no disclosure, to those bought-and-paid-for candidates who will vote the way they would like them to. Why don’t we just hand over our government to the corporations and be done with it?

MARILYN MUELLER Alpharetta, Ga.

As to the wording of the First Amendment, it should be noted that corporations as we know them today did not exist at the time the Constitution was framed. Ergo, it is understandable why our Founding Fathers omitted the word “person” from the First Amendment—there was simply no need to differentiate. Now, let’s take your interpretation of the omission of the word “citizen” to another “logical” conclusion. The amendment also says that “Congress shall make no law . . . abridging . . . the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” What this says to me is that we, the people, have a right to petition the government, and, by omission, that the corporation is not granted a right to lobby the government. The Supreme Court justices leave out intent because few of them have ever felt the pulse of the American Revolution, and few remember the blood, sweat, and tears of the framers and early supporters of our Constitution. They are as inhuman as the corporations they defend.

ANGELO JIMENEZ North Bergen, N.J.

Corruption is never good for democracy. If we allow corporations to spend money on campaigns, then what do you think will happen when these politicians get elected? Our tax money won’t be spent on schools or roads, it will be put back into these corporations. This is a democracy. We the people of the United States should have a voice here. This country is supposed to be run for us, not for greedy politicians and big corporations.

RACHAEL MARLIN Manchester, Tenn.

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