Many of us are far away from being constitutional lawyers. Maybe that is a good thing, because the recent 5-4 decision of the Supreme Court doesn't seem to make a whole lot of sense, does it?
Corporations no longer have restrictions on spending to influence elections. These big companies have been criticized for years for sending lobbyists with big bucks into the halls of government to buy influence and votes.
We read about the money they give legislators to play golf, ski, hunt birds, travel, eat in the finest restaurants and drink the best wines. We hear about the parties, the women, and all the special gifts given to lawmakers to pass bills favorable to corporations, unions and special interests.
At one time, Congress took note and set limits on campaign spending. It was recognized there was a danger in too much corporate influence on elected officials. Now, the Supreme Court has reversed these laws, and corporations are free to spend as much as they wish to elect or defeat political candidates.
Is this a blow to the common man? How will it be possible for an ordinary individual, without corporate or lobbyist funds, to be able to win election to public office? Wealth and power are now more necessary than ever to help a candidate win and stay in office.
The court feels corporations are just like people and are entitled to First Amendment rights. People, however, are not given privileges or tax advantages of big companies. Ordinary Joes cannot do a whole lot of corrupting or influencing with their unemployment checks and inability to find good jobs.
Corporations, on the other hand, can now dig deeper into their treasuries and spend millions to ensure the election of candidates of choice. Big money will triumph, say some.
Media reports indicated legislators were truly trying to adopt rules limiting the power of lobbyists and big companies to influence legislation favorable to them at the expense of taxpayers. Now this new Supreme Court decision seems to fly in the face of past efforts seeking balance and ensuring clean and fair elections.
The voices of wealthy corporations, foreign and domestic, may overshadow those of the common man clearly unable to match special interest funds. Five-to-Four, fair elections, no more!
Jack Simpson is a former educator, veteran, author and a law enforcement officer. His column appears each Friday.