Supreme Court, Incorporated

The Constitution has been converted into a corporate super-lawyer.

For law students bemoaning meager job prospects, the U.S. Supreme CourtâÄôs decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission may bring hope, along with watershed lawsuits on behalf of corporations eager to test the limits of their rehabilitated personhood. If, as the majority ruled Thursday, the First AmendmentâÄôs free speech clause protects unlimited corporate funding of political broadcasts, then perhaps corporations should be granted the right to vote as well âÄî so mocked dissenting Justice John Paul Stevens, and with good reason: The implications of the CourtâÄôs ruling are stupefying. President Barack Obama warned Saturday that the âÄúruling opens the floodgates for an unlimited amount of special interest money into our democracy.âÄù Stevens and three other dissenters called the ruling, which overruled two previous Court decisions and deemed unconstitutional the bipartisan McCain-Feingold act, a âÄúradical change in the law.âÄù Corporate personhood is not a new legal concept. It dates back to an ethically dubious Supreme Court footnote from the 1886 Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad, but this decision enthrones it, allowing already massively powerful, borderless corporations to pump as much corrupting influence into American electoral politics as their bottom lines can afford. This court, bereft of any semblance of sense or good will, sees nothing wrong with corporations spending on behalf of politicians and nothing wrong with bastardizing the government of the people of the United States into an interface of corporate fancy. When those we have entrusted to preserve our God-given human rights decide instead to grant them to manufactured artifice, it must be time for renaissance.