Welcome to my new blog.
Here are some possible ways to overturn the supreme court decision that corporations have the same free speech rights as people, as reported in this NY Times article:
NY Times: Campaign Finance Case Calls 24 States’ Laws Into Question: A Supreme Court decision does not overturn all relevant state laws, experts said, but the laws will face court challenges or will be repealed by legislatures.
This Supreme court decision could give large multinational corporations, including voting vendor corporations, practical control over US government policies due to their spending power.
The overturning of this SCOTUS decision has to come from Congress because Congress has the constitutional authority to suggest amendments to the constitution to states, and Congress can enact a law to change the size of the court or to change the type of cases heard by the court. It would be very inappropriate for President Obama to push for the changes I describe here because the only two actions that can overturn a supreme court of the US (SCOTUS) ruling are within the authority of Congress, not the President.
BTW, none of the ideas herein are my original ideas, I am only combining and relaying some ideas I’ve heard and unfortunately do not know who the originators are.
The Constitution gives Congress the right to enlarge, via enacting a law, the size of the Supreme Court, thus allowing the President, with the approval of the Senate, to appoint new members to the Supreme Court. Then another case could be brought to the SCOTUS that would overturn this decision that allows corporations, which are often more powerful than most countries’ governments, to control the US government. Retired Justice Warren Burger lobbied for increasing the size of the US Supreme Court after his retirement. Today SCOTUS can hear less than 1% of the cases appealed to it, which is not good for our justice system. So this remedy would simultaneously solve other problems.
The idea is that the Supreme Court would hear cases in smaller groups. For example if the court size were increased by 8 members for example, to 17 justices, then say groups of seven (7) justices, rather than 9, could hear each case. I do not know the mechanisms that have been proposed to select say 7 justices for each case, but I can imagine a mechanism that would include the preferences and expertise of justices and also ensure that is more justices want to hear a case than 7, that a random selection is made using an open source program that anyone can use to check the outcome with a humanly-generated key that requires only one honest person in the group to create. It may sound complex, but a simple system could be developed so that justices that might tend to align on both sides of an issue could be selected. The original SCOTUS I believe had only five (5) members (I need to look this up.)
SCOTUS now follows very precise and fair procedures to decide what cases to hear and who is assigned to write the opinion and write the dissent if any, so I’m sure the justices who have advocated for an expanded court have thought as to the method of assigning justices to cases. Congress must probably leave such rule-making up to the justices themselves. I am not certain if Congress or the Court would decide on the number of Justices hearing each case.
Another recommendation is that cases would be allowed to be appealed to the entire court after being decided by the smaller, say seven member, justice panel. I’m sure this would be a rare occurrence.
In addition, I would also suggest a bipartisan amendment to the constitution as discussed below if the Congress enlarges the size of the court, in answer to another objection and question raised by this solution of presidential “court-packing”.
Here is what I suggest:
1. Have Congress first enlarge the court by 8 justices that Obama can appoint with the approval of Congress, and also
2. Have Congress pass a constitutional amendment to permit states to ratify the amendment that changes the terms of SCOTUS justices to say eighteen (18) years of staggered terms (with some of Obama’s appointees only having shorter 3 year terms say – it’d have to be figured out) so that every US president will automatically has an opportunity to appoint say 3 justices. (This idea is also not mine originally, and the exact numbers could be worked out to allow every US president to replace part of the court each term, but not a large part.)
I suppose that the court enlargement could be done at the same time as the amendment wording so that Congressional members who might hesitate to vote for the court enlargement otherwise, would feel more comfortable voting for it, with the new amendment that assures every US president the right to replace a small part of the court.
The justice’s terms would be long and known in advance so that justices would still not be subjected to undue political pressures. The numbers I suggest herein are just for example.
Although our founding fathers brilliantly figured out a way for people to control their governments, no one has yet figured out how people can control large corporations. Figuring out how to control corporations is both urgent for the future survival of humanity (to preserve the environment upon which the long-term economy depends and to maintain sufficient equality of opportunity for the economy to be functional and to preserve the small businesses that are the engine of the economy) and figuring out a way to control corporations will take international effort and international cooperation that cannot happen if the US government is controlled by financial donations from huge corporations if this SCOTUS ruling were allowed to stand. The fact that John McCain and other Republicans see the need for control of campaign finance spending by corporations bodes well for bipartisan actions of Congress to overturn this SCOTUS ruling.
Please excuse any typing or grammatical errors.
Kathy Dopp, kathy.dopp at gmail.com
Colonie, NY 12304