Some Voices Are More Equal Than Others

Wednesday, 27 January 2010 10:04 By Severo M Ornstein, t r u t h o u t | Op-Ed | name.

By assigning the same rights to corporations as to individuals, the Supreme Court, on the pretext of honoring the First Amendment, has instead done precisely the opposite: contravened its intent.

What can possibly be the purpose of the First Amendment other than to allow all voices to be heard in the marketplace of ideas? No one can argue that large corporations, with their vast resources, will have the same voice in influencing public debate that an individual has. Dominating that marketplace with the loudest voice can effectively silence opposing voices, which is precisely what the First Amendment was designed to foil and the recent Supreme Court decision will now permit. The inevitable conclusion is that the court's decision is a violation rather than an affirmation of the US Constitution and is ideologically rather than rationally based.

Our system of government provides no recourse from decisions by an ideologically driven court. The court's members are presumed to embody the wisdom of Solomon, but instead all too often manifest human frailty in revealing ideological biases. This is the worst decision the court has rendered in my 80 years on the planet. Even Bush v. Gore pales by comparison.

Shakespeare observed, "The evil that men do, lives after them." One can argue that the horror of the Iraq war along with the other travesties of the last decade can be laid at the feet of the court's Bush v. Gore decision. What fatal policies will now emerge from allowing corporations to dominate public discourse remains to be seen, but surely this decision is a major step away from the democracy that the country's founders envisioned.

Severo M Ornstein

Severo M. Ornstein is a retired computer scientist.

Last modified on Wednesday, 27 January 2010 10:37