by Ana McKenzie
It's been said that a president is a glorified spokesman, navigating the country's discussion in his favor while trying hard to hide his faults.
But today proved how relevant the presidential powers can be when the five Reagan, Bush and Bush Jr. Supreme Court nominees "reversed a decision of the Montana Supreme Court that had refused to allow the Citizens United decision," according to The New York Times. The 2010 landmark decision prohibited limiting independent political spending by corporations and unions. The Times wrote:
Citizens United is the Supreme Court's most controversial decision since Bush v. Gore in 2000. It has been criticized for contributing to a political landscape awash in money, and its critics welcomed the possibility that the justices might revisit the decision. But experts in election law said there was little reason to think any of the justices in the majority had changed their minds.
Justice Stephen G. Breyer wrote in today's decision's dissent:
"Even if I were to accept Citizens United, this court's legal conclusion should not bar the Montana Supreme Court's finding, made on the record before it, that independent expenditures by corporations did in fact lead to corruption or the appearance of corruption in Montana. Given the history and political landscape in Montana, that court concluded that the state had a compelling interest in limiting independent expenditures by corporations."
The Supreme Court did, however, earn back some of its dignity when it struck down three of the four main provisions of SB1070, Arizona's anti-immigrant legislation, and in effect struck down parts of copy-cat legislation in Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, South Carolina and Utah. Among the provisions it negated were warrentless arrests of "deportable immigrants," deeming an immigrant a criminal if they fail to carry federal registration papers and outlawing immigrants who seek or accept work without authorization. It upheld the right of police to demand papers from someone who they suspect is undocumented, but only in Alabama and Arizona.
So it's OK to be a bigot in Alabama and Arizona but nowhere else? What a confusing day to be an American.