Obama: SCOTUS ‘Ruling Strikes at Our Democracy Itself’

January 23, 2010

(ChattahBox)— President Obama’s weekly radio address on Saturday, targeted the damaging effects of special interests on our country’s political structure. Obama pointed out the many reforms he has implemented, since his first year in office, to push back against special interests, including a curb on the “revolving door between lobbying firms and the government,” and the unprecedented public disclosure of “lobbyists and non-lobbyists alike whom visit the White House every day. But in the wake of the Supreme Court’s recent 5-4 radical decision in the the case, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, which overturned more than 100-years of legal precedents, to award corporations the unfettered right to directly influence federal elections, president Obama rightly fears for the future of our Democracy. And he spoke of the steps his administration plans to take to remedy the radical assault on our Democracy.

Obama began his weekly address returning to the populist themes of his presidential campaign:

“One of the reasons I ran for President was because I believed so strongly that the voices of everyday Americans, hardworking folks doing everything they can to stay afloat, just weren’t being heard over the powerful voices of the special interests in Washington.”

The President then turned towards the Supreme Court’s startling decision, to allow corporations, special interests and even foreign corporations, to unleash the power of their immense profits to run ads for or against candidates in the closing weeks of a federal campaign:

“We’ve been making steady progress. But this week, the United States Supreme Court handed a huge victory to the special interests and their lobbyists – and a powerful blow to our efforts to rein in corporate influence. This ruling strikes at our democracy itself. By a 5-4 vote, the Court overturned more than a century of law – including a bipartisan campaign finance law written by Senators John McCain and Russ Feingold that had barred corporations from using their financial clout to directly interfere with elections by running advertisements for or against candidates in the crucial closing weeks.

This ruling opens the floodgates for an unlimited amount of special interest money into our democracy. It gives the special interest lobbyists new leverage to spend millions on advertising to persuade elected officials to vote their way – or to punish those who don’t. That means that any public servant who has the courage to stand up to the special interests and stand up for the American people can find himself or herself under assault come election time. Even foreign corporations may now get into the act.”

Obama says that he plans to work together with Congress to push back against the for sale sign appearing on our Democracy:

“When this ruling came down, I instructed my administration to get to work immediately with Members of Congress willing to fight for the American people to develop a forceful, bipartisan response to this decision. We have begun that work, and it will be a priority for us until we repair the damage that has been done.”

Obama ended his address echoing the words of Teddy Roosevelt:

“And as long as I’m your President, I’ll never stop fighting to make sure that the most powerful voice in Washington belongs to you.”

The full transcript and video can be found here.


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