Citizens United (again?)

Marc R Poirier Marc.Poirier at
Mon Sep 27 09:50:30 PDT 2010

To me there is a huge difference between a wealthy individual (which is what the Founders would have understood to be implicated by ownership) and a wealthy corporation. Part of my point is that individuals have a life cycle – including children (potentially) and death (certainly); part that human beings have emotions and potentially are subject to compassion (cf. Hannah Arendt), in a way different than corporations run by groups of human beings and subject to various constraints; part that these days many large corporations are fundamentally transnational or anational, whereas I suspect the wealthy individual in the Founders’ time would have had a country and neighbors and often a sense of allegiance.  Abstract universal rights rhetoric and abstract property rhetoric, both, obscure the question of the nature of those who hold the rights or own the property.

Marc R. Poirier
Professor of Law and Martha Traylor Research Scholar
Seton  Hall University School of Law
One Newark Center
Newark, NJ 07102
973-642-8478 (work)
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Selected articles and drafts available at

Somebody has to plant the seed so that sanity can happen on this earth. -- Chogyam Trungpa, Rinpoche

From: conlawprof-bounces at [mailto:conlawprof-bounces at] On Behalf Of Steven Jamar
Sent: Monday, September 27, 2010 12:31 PM
To: Raymond Kessler
Cc: <conlawprof at>
Subject: Re: Citizens United (again?)

Maybe both care about getting ideas out to the public fairly and broadly and about individual freedoms including speech. But they disagree about means and about what is fair and what other countervailing interests or rights are at stake--like elections by people, not corporations or dollars.

But election year rhethoric is not the way to judge motives of masses!

Sent from Steve Jamar's iPhone

On Sep 27, 2010, at 12:19 PM, "Raymond Kessler" <rkessler at<mailto:rkessler at>> wrote:
If it isn’t already obvious, it should be by now why The Dems and Left are against the U.S. Supreme Court's First Amendment decision in Citizens United, (and voted for the bill which was partly struck down by the Supreme Court). They are for the First Amendment only when they benefit.

"I want you to understand right now all over this country special interests are planning and running millions of dollars of attack ads against Democratic candidates," Obama said at a Democratic fundraiser in New York on Wednesday. "Because of last year's Supreme Court decision in Citizens United, they are now allowed to spend as much as they want, unlimited amounts of money, and they don't have to reveal who is paying for these ads." Source: LINK<>
Conversely, it should be obvious why Repubs and the Right are happy with it.  Neither side really cares about First Amendment values.
IMHO anyone who thinks most American’s politicians have any sincere concern about broad-based First Amendment principles beyond self-interest are terribly naïve.  Part of the problem in this country is that too many politicians, academics  and citizens have no broad-based commitment to the Bill of Rights.  They pick and chose what they like and try to interfere with those who want to exercise rights they don’t like or use those rights for objectives they don’t like.  Think critically: Who Benefits either way?

Dr. Ray Kessler
Prof. of Criminal Justice

P.S.  Please feel free to check out my blog at

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