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State of the Debate
George Pyle
George Pyle has been a newspaper writer in Kansas, Utah, Upstate New York, and now Utah again, for more than 30 years - most of it as an editorial writer and columnist. Now on his second tour of duty on The Salt Lake Tribune Editorial Board, he has also done a stretch as a talk radio host, published a book on the ongoing flaws of U.S.agricultural policy and, in 1998, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Writing. His most active bookmarks are Andrew Sullivan, Christopher Hitchens and Tina Brown. And he still thinks the Internet can be used for intelligent conversation and uplifting ideas.

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Voters spoke. Money talks ...

- Primary lessons: Tea party ebbs; money flows - Salt Lake Tribune Editorial

It is no surprise that Orrin Hatch won the Republican Party’s nomination for a seventh term in the U.S. Senate. If you can’t win a primary election with 36 years of seniority and a $10 million war chest behind you, there’s something seriously amiss. In Hatch’s case, there was nothing amiss. Hatch has been a conservative stalwart his entire career and closely attuned to the views of his Utah constituents. The only ones who appeared to believe otherwise were his opponent, Dan Liljenquist, and the tea party. ...

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- Ballot boo-boo and other notes - Provo Daily Herald Editorial

- Corruption upheld: Court stands by Citizens United - Salt Lake Tribune Editorial

A past Supreme Court justice became famous for saying that he couldn’t define pornography. But he would know it when he saw it.

Five justices of today’s U.S. Supreme Court could probably define corruption. They just refuse to see it.

In only the last few months, voters across America — and those who voted, or were repulsed from voting, in yesterday’s Utah Republican primary — have seen a mushrooming of the "independent" expenditures allowed by the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United ruling. That’s the one that claimed that unlimited amounts of money spent by corporations and the 1 percent to influence elections, and to make candidates beholden to donors’ whims and desires, "do not give rise to corruption or the appearance of corruption."

Yet, when the high court was handed an opportunity to revise that absurd conclusion, with the help of some very relevant historical research provided by the members of the Montana Supreme Court, the Citizens United majority — Justices Antonin Scalia, Anthony Kennedy, Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas and Chief Justice John Roberts — effectively clapped their hands over their ears and started singing "Polly Wolly Doodle" loudly enough that they couldn’t hear the plain truth of the situation. ...

- Supreme Court's campaign finance decision argues for scrutiny - [Portland] Oregonian Editorial

... While this is regrettable to many, it's useful to remember that exercising the First Amendment protections at the heart of the decision has consequences as well as benefits. Want to set up a super PAC that will pay for relentless attack advertising aimed at a candidate you don't like? Prepare for your pet candidate to be characterized as a puppet of your top contributors. The more money you raise, the more nastily you spend it, the greater the potential backlash. And that's entirely fair. ...

- Court leaves spigot open: States can’t exempt themselves from Citizens United - Eugene (Ore.) Register-Guard Editorial

In 1912 the citizens of Montana rose up against the copper kings who controlled their state government. They approved an initiative measure that barred corporations from making "a contribution or an expenditure in connection with a candidate or a political committee that supports or opposes a candidate or a political party." One hundred years later, the U.S. Supreme Court substituted its judgment for that of Montanans. The court will abide no limits on political speech by corporations or unions. ...

So far, I've seen more editorial reaction to the Montana case from Oregon than I have from Montana. If anybody has a relevant link, please tell me in the comment section below.

- The Supreme Court was not about to reconsider Citizens United - Michael McGough, The Los Angeles Times

- Free speech and political reality - Chicago Tribune Editorial

- Supreme Court Majority United - Wall Street Journal Editorial

Believe it or not, the Supreme Court means what it says about the First Amendment. That was the short but sweet message from the Justices on Monday as they affirmed that their 2010 campaign-finance decision in Citizens United is the law of the land—and that goes for states too. ...

- The Supreme Court’s Cowardice - Bloomberg Views

... It’s possible to argue that the First Amendment trumps all other concerns, and that Montana must simply shoulder the threat of corruption in order to give primacy to free speech. But it is not possible to credibly argue, as the Citizens United opinion does, that huge corporate expenditures to aid select political candidates do not give rise to corruption or its appearance. ...



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