On January 22, 2010, the Supreme Court of the United States granted unlimited corporate spending on elections. The justices overturn a century of U.S. electoral law by a 5-4 vote. Millions of extra dollars are expected to start flowing from big business to Republican candidates.
Overturning a century-old restriction, the Supreme Court ruled Thursday that corporations may spend as much as they want to sway voters in federal elections.
In a landmark 5-4 decision, the court’s conservative bloc said that corporations have the same right to free speech as individuals and, for that reason, the government may not stop corporations from spending to help their favored candidates.
The ruling — which will presumably apply as well to labor unions and other organizations — is likely to have an impact on this year’s congressional elections. Many political analysts and election-law experts predict that millions of extra dollars will flood into this fall’s contests, much of it benefiting Republican candidates.
President Obama called the ruling “a major victory for Big Oil, Wall Street banks, health-insurance companies and other powerful interests that marshal their power every day in Washington to drown out the voices of everyday Americans.” He promised to seek “a forceful response to this decision” from Congress. Some Democrats talked about seeking legislation that would require corporations to get approval from their shareholders before spending money on politics.
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