The geniuses on the Supreme Court, giddy with conservative majority fever, have been busy recently.
In particular, 3 cases involving the First Amendment were decided by the court this week:
5 Votes 4 Humorlessness
This case involved some students suspended for unfurling a banner at an Olympic torch-passing event that read “Bong hits 4 Jesus.” The event was not on school property, and was not even a school event. Basically, the students were suspended because their principal, who happened to be in the same place at the same time as they, did not think their shit was funny. The court decided that the students’ message was a serious one, and because the school has, according to the court, an interest in preventing drug use, suspending the students was not an infringement on their free speech rights. Why? Because they said so.
The Separation of Church and State – Ta Da!
This case was brought by people who objected to BushCo’s White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives using taxpayer money to provide social services through religious groups. In practice, those on the receiving end of those programs must attend religious services or otherwise subscribe to or support religious activity in order to receive funds or assistance. Although the establishment of this program would seem to be a clear violation of the 1st amendment’s prohibition against “respecting an establishment of religion,” because the WHOFBCI was established via executive order, and not by the Congress, the Supreme Court ruled that it was NOT unconstitutional. Yes, I said NOT unconstitutional. Because, even though the funds are public, and the funds are appropriated by Congress, the Congress did not tell the president to specifically spend the funds for the WHOFBCI, therefore, the Congress is not violating the separation, therefore, no violation.
Yes, it’s an impressive piece of redirection, isn’t it? It’s like the Supreme Court is some kind of magician who waves his hands and flourishes his cape and yells “Behold, look over there!” And then when we look, he throws shit on our shoes.
Freedom of Speech, Inc.
The last case was brought because of the McCain-Feingold law that attempted to curb the influence of corporations over public policy through their contributions to the politicians that they carry in their pockets. M-F outlawed corporations from, for instance, airing commercials that, while not explicitly telling voters whom to vote for, do attack the opponent of their pocket pol explicitly and by name. You’ve seen these. Like on the night before Election Day, you’ll see an ad that says “ask Hilary Clinton why she voted to fund the beating of puppies with sharp sticks,” – that kind of thing.
The court, in its infinite wisdom, decided that M-F violated the 1st amendment rights of corporations.
The WHAT, you say?
Ah, yes, corporations have 1st amendment rights. Why? Because legally, they are people.
Legally, in the
For more on that fucked-up state of affairs, check out this great little doc.
For more on the fucked-up decisions of the SCOTUS, go here.
For protection of your 1st amendment rights, I have no choice but to recommend that you incorporate yourself. Hard.