News / USA

    US Supreme Court Issues Major Ruling on Campaign Finance

    The high court ruling could open the money floodgates for corporations and unions, making it easier for them to run their own campaign ads on behalf of or against political candidates.

    Multimedia

    Audio

    The U.S. Supreme Court issued a long-awaited decision on campaign finance laws Thursday that opens the way for corporations and labor unions to have an even greater impact on the U.S. elections process. 

    A sharply divided Supreme Court, by a vote of five to four, struck down campaign finance laws going back decades that had imposed limits on political contributions from corporations.  The ruling is also expected to apply to labor unions and activist groups.

    The high court ruling could open the money floodgates for corporations and unions, making it easier for them to run their own campaign ads on behalf of or against political candidates.  In the 2008 election cycle alone, nearly six billion dollars was spent on all federal campaigns for president and Congress.

    The high court's five-member conservative majority equated limits on campaign contributions from corporations with constitutionally unacceptable limits on free speech.  Justice Anthony Kennedy said that limits on political speech were unjustified, and the majority struck down laws that had placed limits on the amount of money corporations and unions could spend on election campaigns.

    Conservative and libertarian groups welcomed the Supreme Court decision, including Steve Simpson with the Institute for Justice.  He spoke to reporters in front of the Supreme Court.
     
    "The Supreme Court recognized today that the purpose of the First Amendment is to allow individuals and Americans to speak out as loudly and as robustly as they please," he said. "That applies whether an individual chooses to speak out alone or whether he chooses to associate with others and speak out as a group."

    The court's liberal four-member minority opposed the change.  In his written dissent, Justice John Paul Stevens said the ruling threatens to undermine the integrity of elected institutions around the nation.

    A written statement from President Obama at the White House said the high court's decision opens the way to a stampede of special interest money in American politics.

    Among those speaking out in opposition was Democratic Senator Charles Schumer of New York.

    "Today's ruling, decided by the slimmest of majorities, guts our system of free and fair elections," he said. "The bottom line is this.  The Supreme Court has just predetermined the winners of next November's elections.  It won't be Republicans.  It won't be Democrats.  It will be corporate America."

    The high court ruling does not change a ban on direct contributions to candidates from corporations and labor unions that originated back in 1907.

    Government watchdog groups that monitor corruption and the influence of special interests said the Supreme Court ruling opens the way for corporations and labor unions to exert even more influence on the elections process.

    Bob Edgar is president of the monitoring group Common Cause: 

    "We need to recognize that money has influenced the debate here in Washington for too long," said Edgar.  "All you have to do is look at the housing crisis, the investment crisis, the banking crisis.  Even this health care debate was already tainted by how much money had flooded into the system.  The elected officials in the House and Senate are going to end up serving special interests even more than they do today and not the public's interest."

    The ruling will apply to this year's congressional midterm elections in November and could lead to a barrage of corporate and union sponsored television ads during the campaign that were previously restricted.

    The case stemmed from a conservative group's challenge of campaign finance laws as part of an effort to promote a movie critical of then-presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in 2008. 

    You May Like

    Mother of IS Supporter: Son Was Peaceful, 'Role Model'

    Somali-American Abdirizak Mohamed Warsame pleaded guilty Thursday to charges of conspiring to provide material support to Islamic State militants

    Factions Shift as Civilians Die in Syrian War

    Scenario likely only to further confuse military situation on ground and potentially worsen humanitarian crisis that already has grown to epic proportions

    Presidential Hopefuls Woo Minorities, Evangelicals

    Four GOP candidates to speak at forum at Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortagei
    X
    February 12, 2016 7:31 PM
    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortage

    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Gateway to Mecca: Historical Old Jeddah

    Local leader Sami Nawar's family has been in the Old City of Jeddah for hundreds of years and takes us on a tour of this ancient route to Mecca, also believed to be the final resting place of Adam's wife, Eve.
    Video

    Video New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Uganda

    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video Russia Bristles at NATO Expansion in E. Europe

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is meeting Friday with the head of NATO after the Western military alliance and the United States announced plans for the biggest military build-up in Europe since the Cold War. Russia has called NATO's moves a threat to stability in Europe. But NATO says the troop rotations and equipment are aimed at reassuring allies concerned about Russia as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.