To the editor:
In a Feb. 13 letter to the editor, the writer commits some common errors concerning the Supreme Court's 'Citizens United' case.
He apparently believes that the court decided that corporations have the same rights as individuals. Nowhere was such a preposterous idea propounded, for it is obvious that a corporation cannot marry, vote, or carry out any function that only a single human being can accomplish.
Rather, the court argued that a legally-constituted group of individuals possesses the right of free speech, and who can disagree? Certainly not the ACLU, whose former head (Ira Glasser) wrote an eloquent defense of the Citizens United decision for the Huffington Post.
The letter writer may not understand what the doctrine of 'corporate personhood' entails. It is a concept that dates from the Middle Ages and is found in countries all over the globe. When the U.S. Supreme Court ratified 'corporate personhood' in the 19th century, the decision was not controversial, and it goes unmentioned in 'A People's History of the Supreme Court.'
But doesn't the court's Citizens United (decision) allow monied interests to "buy" elections, as the letter writer implies? Not at all. Will he vote for a candidate because of the ads he sees on television? I doubt it, and I wish he would extend the same benefit of the doubt to his fellow citizens. The road to the White House (and to the governor's office in California) is littered with the political corpses of multi-millionaires, and studies have shown that self-financed campaigns by the ultra-rich are usually unsuccessful.
The Daily Mining Gazette welcomes letters to the editor from readers.
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We should not despair of the people's ability to sift fact from falsehood, and we should not limit free speech in our quest for fairness.