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November 16, 2012


Inis Magrath

At the State of the Union address when President Obama noted that Citizens United would enable money from foreign nations to be injected into American politics, Alito famously mouthed, "That's not true."

Well, one presidential election later and we now know one thing with certainty: it is not possible to know whether foreign money was included in the vast SuperPAC coffers that flooded the campaign. The unavoidable conclusion is this: If you can't unequivocally rule it out, then it is completely possible that SuperPAC moneys included money from foreign nations.

I would have liked it if Alito had been asked about his glaring wrongness on that point.

Terry Gou

I am a Chinese billionaire quite willing to use my money to install in office whomever I want. Howard Hughes did it when he deposed the Senator. With Alito's help, now I can do it too


Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

We place various limits on freedom of speech and our other First Amendment freedoms. The well-founded fear of unlimited corporate and union spending corrupting our elected officials and system of democracy seems like a very good reason to limit speech to most folks, whereas government limits on what newspapers and other media corporations can publish or broadcast do not, no matter what naughty words Nicole Richie says on TV.

Steven Sweat

I agree wholeheartedly with the comments of Alliance for Justice. This seems both improper and unethical for a sitting Supreme Court justice to be making "pithy" comments to a partisan crowd for fundraising purposes. The presidential race was vindication for the "little guy" despite the billions spent, Mr. Alito!


Mr. Loggins:
Justice Alito didn't say that NYT v. Sullivan was the Pentagon Papers case; that's the reporter's mistake. Justice Alito mentioned both as examples of historic cases that assumed that corporations had First Amendment rights.


Another non-lawyer opinion. If a Supreme Court justice honestly does not know that freedom of the press is specifically guaranteed in the Constitution and therefore different than the Koch brothers or Sheldon Adelson dumping millions of dollars into the election through various "fronts" we are truly in deep deep bleeped!

RD Legal Funding

An interesting perspective no doubt being that this decision has caused issues on both sides of the argument and has basically launched an arms race over what will happen to U.S. elections and the makeup of the Supreme Court.

d bussey

Anderson's post and Martin Jerisat's response point out for the need for an agreed upon satire font or marker.


His Honor is correct in one respect. We need as a country to decide whether corporations - creatures created by the state - should have rights separate and apart from those granted by their creator. I say they shouldn't. They aren't human. They have no soul or conscience. In fact, generally they have no reason to respect the rights of an individual.


The fact that a Justice Alito believes it is appropriate conduct to publically defend a decision of the Court while still serving AND permit his personna to be used to raise money for a partisan, controversial enterprise speaks volumes for the disgraceful radicalization of the Supreme Court by his cohorts leading to the undermining of trust so essential to our democratic institutions.
How can he justify his actions in light of the next United-type case which is already on its way to the Court asking for blessings on unlimited corporate contributions directly to candidates? Any bets on his recusal?


If cash is speech, and we and corporations are equal in our rights of free speech, then isn't compelled cash equivalent to compelled speech? Freedom in, after all, has been equated to freedom from in the freedom of religion clause.

I wish when government attempted to speak in principles, they would define those principles as elective, selective, or merely platitude when convenient. What they shouldn't do is attempt to rationalize or moralize a capitulation to big money.

Kirk Loggins

I'm not a lawyer, just a retired newspaper reporter in Nashville, Tenn. But I must tell you that Sullivan v. New York Times has nothing to do with the Pentagon papers. It came out of the civil rights movement in Birmingham, Ala., around 1961, when a city official there felt he had been mistreated by the Times.

Joe Citizen

"Alito said the real issue is whether free speech rights “should be limited to certain preferred corporations, namely those media organizations.”"

Here is a solution, Sam. Speech rights go to individuals. "Freedom of the press" goes to media corporations.

Martin Jerisat

Why do these judges have life tenure? They should be limited to two terms.


Anderson clearly does not have a clue as to the makeup of the Federalist Society. Alito would never find a LESS hostile crowd to crow his positions in. "Brave, brave, man???" His comments about his con. law professor are a coward's approach he could only get away with in a crowd such as the Federalist Society.

Richard Winger

I wish Justice Alito would show a similar concern for the First Amendment rights of voters who wish to vote for minor party or independent candidates. The U.S. Supreme Court has rejected all 52 cert petitions filed by independent and minor party candidates and voters over the last 20 years (of course, Justice Alito hasn't been on the Court that long, I realize). But during the same 20 years, seven times states have asked the Court to hear their election law cases that were lost in the lower court, and in 4 instances, the court accepted the case and reversed all 4 times. Now we have a system in which Oklahoma voters, for example, were forbidden from voting for any presidential candidate earlier this month except for Obama and Romney (write-ins are banned and no other candidates were on the ballot). We have a system in which independent voters in Connecticut can't get public funding without a petition signed by 20% of the voters, whereas Republican and Democratic candidates need no petition.

Alliance for Justice

Regardless of what one thinks of what Justice Alito said (and we don't think much of it) the real problem is having a Supreme Court Justice headline a fundraising dinner. If a judge in any other federal court did it, it would be a violation of the Code of Conduct for federal judges. But the code doesn't apply to Supreme Court justices. See our full statement, with Common Cause, here:


What a brave, brave man to confront such a hostile audience over a controversial decision.

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