With Respect, I Desent

The result, as I said at the outset, is a decision that substitutes judges’ understandings of how the political process works for the understanding of Congress; that fails to recognize the difference between influence resting upon public opinion and influence bought by money alone; that overturns key precedent; that creates huge loopholes in the law; and that undermines, perhaps devastates, what remains of campaign finance reform.

With respect, I dissent.

Justice Breyer, McCutcheon v. Federal Elections Commissiion (30).

This is an amazing document and worth reading despite the tangles of legal language. It ought to be known as “Right Wing Ideologue v. Common Sense” or “Right Wing Ideologue v. Democracy.” In presidential elections progressive people have often found themselves in a dilemma. We’d prefer to vote for a third party– Nader, or the Greens– if only to make a point or to help a third party build up a national voice. If you do, the story goes, you risk creating a Supreme Court that will undermine reform for a generation.

The lesser of two evils argument works for a lot of people but some find it specious. Yet electing Bush twice seems to have made the dire predictions come true. Ironically, Chief Justice Roberts’ arguments, as Justice Breyer notes, amount to exactly the sort of “judicial activism” so often decried by right-wing critics. Justice Roberts’ arguments are perfectly Orwellian, contending that too much democracy– limits on money in politics set by Congress– is not enough democracy, that is, a limit on freedom of speech.

About Ray Watkins

I was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, at Our Lady of the Lake Hospital. I grew up in Houston, as a part of what we only half-jokingly call the Cajun Diaspora. At a certain point during the Regan administration, I had to leave, so I served in the Peace Corps, Philippines, from 1987-89. I didn't want to return to the United States just yet, so I moved to Paris, France, where I lived for three years or so. I then moved back to Austin, Texas, where I had received my Masters Degree, and (eventually) began a Ph.D., which I completed in 1999. I spent a year at Temple University and then accepted a position at Eastern Illinois University where I worked until May of 2006. I now work exclusively on line (although that may change) for Johns Hopkins, the Art Institute Online, and Smarthinking.com. I can be reached most easily via email: raywatkins [that 'at' symbol] writinginthewild.com

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