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Friday, January 29, 2010

Murray Hill - a Corporation for Congress

One of my favorite parts of the State of the Union address this week was when President Obama called out the five justices who ruled so broadly in the Citizens United v. FEC case that overthrew more that a century of clean elections laws. The ruling gave corporations the ability to pour unlimited amounts of money into political campaigns and relabels legalized bribery as "free speech."

"With all due deference to separation of powers, last week the Supreme Court reversed a century of law that I believe will open the floodgates for special interests -- including foreign corporations -- to spend without limit in our elections," the president said. "I don't think American elections should be bankrolled by America's most powerful interests, or worse, by foreign entities. They should be decided by the American people. And I'd urge Democrats and Republicans to pass a bill that helps to correct some of these problems."

At this point, at least one justice dropped the pretense that the highest court in the land was above politics. Samuel Alito shook his head and said, "Not true." Glenn Greenwald who, like the president himself, is a constitutional law expert, points out that this court has insinuated itself into the political arena more and more as time goes on -- citing the most obvious example; Bush v. Gore. As a result, Greenwald argues, the court's credibility in claiming to be nonpartisan "has -- justifiably -- declined substantially over the past decade."

"Justice Alito's flamboyantly insinuating himself into a pure political event, in a highly politicized manner, will only hasten that decline," Greenwald explains. "On a night when both tradition and the Court's role dictate that he sit silent and inexpressive, he instead turned himself into a partisan sideshow -- a conservative Republican judge departing from protocol to openly criticize a Democratic President -- with Republicans predictably defending him and Democrats doing the opposite. Alito is now a political (rather than judicial) hero to Republicans and a political enemy of Democrats, which is exactly the role a Supreme Court Justice should not occupy."

The fact that the opinion Alito joined is absurd doesn't help him any. Let me see if I can explain the reasoning behind the ruling for you. You see, this...

AIG building

Is supposedly identical to this...

Smiling baby

Nah, I'm just messing with you. That's not true at all. Skeezix here has fewer rights than AIG now, because he's a minor. Corporations are people -- presumably adult people -- which brings us to candidate for the US House of Representatives Murray Hill:

"Murray Hill Inc. plans on filing to run in the Republican primary in Maryland’s 8th Congressional District," the company says in a press release. "Campaign Manager William Klein promises an aggressive, historic campaign that 'puts people second' or even third."

According to Think Progress, Murray Hill Inc. is real; "The progressive PR firm Murray Hill Inc. has announced that it plans to satirically run for Congress in the Republican primary in Maryland’s 8th congressional district to protest the Supreme Court’s disastrous decision." And the run may be "satirical," but it's also very real.

"The campaign’s designated human, Eric Hensal, will help the corporation conform to antiquated 'human only' procedures and sign the necessary voter registration and candidacy paperwork," the company's statement reads. "Hensal is excited by this new opportunity. 'We want to get in on the ground floor of the democracy market before the whole store is bought by China.'"

So, unless I'm mistaken, Eric Hensal is going to run for congress as the representative face of Murray Hill Inc.

How legal is this? You got me. I guess we'll find out. And, in the process, we'll find out what absurd lengths supporters of the Supreme Courts' decision are willing to go to make it seem like it makes any damned sense at all.

I'm just hoping that corporations don't demand to exercise their second amendment rights now. One Blackwater is enough.


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