Wednesday, September 28, 2005I know I should play nice. The ACLU does a lot of good work. Civil libertarians are frequently, maybe usually, on the same side. But when the Supreme Court considers revisiting one of the worst decisions in the last century, Buckley vs. Valeo, and the ACLU wants it upheld - well all I can say is screw them.
For those of you who aren't following, in the Buckley vs. Valeo decision the Supreme Court ruled that spending money on political campaigns is a protected form of free speech. This means that people can raise and spend all the money they like, and all laws saying otherwise are unconstitutional. The practical effect of this decision has been to grossly magnify the importance of wealth and celebrity in our political system. Only a very select group of people are capable of raising the vast sums needed to run for political office, so we have in effect instituted a wealth test for office.
I'm praying that the Court realizes this and strikes down (or at least extensively modifies) Buckley. From a legal perspective, they can do so on the grounds of the one man one vote and equal protection standards. I don't have a lot of faith in the Supreme Court, but on occasion this crew does do the right thing.
Which is why I have such special loathing for the ACLU. I expect incumbent politicians, Republicans, corporations, and well-financed special interest groups to want Buckley upheld. But the ACLU is supposed to be there to defend the legal rights of people who have no voice. Perhaps they can explain to me how creating an electoral oligarchy serves that purpose.