Tuesday :: Jun 28, 2011

Corruption: 1, Democracy: 0

by Mary

Today, the Supreme Court ruled the number of dollars spent trumps the votes of the citizens.

This case arose because Arizonans wanted their government to work on behalf of all the State’s people. On the heels of a political scandal involving the near-routine purchase of legislators’ votes, Arizonans passed a law de-signed to sever political candidates’ dependence on large contributors. They wished, as many of their fellow Americans wish, to stop corrupt dealing—to ensure that their representatives serve the public, and not just the wealthy donors who helped put them in office. The legislation that Arizona’s voters enacted was the product of deep thought and care. It put into effect a public financing system that attracted large numbers of candidates at a sustainable cost to the State’s taxpayers. The system discriminated against no ideas and prevented no speech. Indeed, by increasing electoral competition and enabling a wide range of candidates to express their views, the system “further[ed] … First Amendment values.” Buckley , 424 U. S., at 93 (citing New York Times , 376 U. S., at 270). Less corruption, more speech. Robust campaigns leading to the election of representatives not beholden to the few, but accountable to the many. The people of Arizona might have expected a decent respect for those objectives.

Democracy wept.

Mary :: 12:00 AM :: Comments (1) :: Digg It!