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Sunday, September 24, 2023


Obama right to confront court publicly

On Wednesday, President Barack Obama presented his first State of the Union address.

In a surprising move, Obama used a portion of his speech to publicly display his disagreement with the Supreme Court over its decision in the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission case.

The Jan. 21 6-4 decision effectively removed regulations banning corporations from committing finances to certain candidates of their choosing during elections.

There has been no precedent for a sitting president to voice his disagreement with the Supreme Court in the presence of its members.

To some, Obama’s decision to call out the justices who shared the majority opinion of the Court was a disrespectful mistake.

But to others it demonstrated that the president knows the law and is willing to speak up when he feels something is not right. This is precisely the type of leader Americans need, especially now.

Many of the debacles that slow our nation’s progress can be linked to corporate funding.

The Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission will not improve this situation and to make things more concrete, this decision cannot be easily undone.

Congress has enough trouble passing bills that actually help people, and, even when they do, it takes a miracle for both the House and Senate to agree.

Reversing a Supreme Court ruling such as this one would take a constitutional amendment but decades can pass before constitutional amendments become more than just cheap talk.

Not only would there be an uphill battle in a heavily partisan government, the Supreme Court decision would continue to create and support precedence.

In light of these factors, Obama was right to challenge the Supreme Court’s decision in his address.

The decision will change politics and the election process forever; where money is invested, favors and repayment are due.

In the end, the Court’s ruling does more to take First Amendment freedoms away from individuals than to guarantee them.

Free speech and the control of one’s own financial support of a candidate are rights that should be protected.

Allowing corporations to follow the same guidelines becomes detrimental to society and takes away from the power of citizens.

Americans should be hopeful that politicians will be held accountable for any deals they agree to, but with less regulation on corporations, this accountability will be harder to achieve.

When President Richard Nixon publicly blasted the Supreme Court for its decision to make him turn over the Watergate tapes, it was his lawyer — not Nixon — who read the statement condemning the decision.

President George W. Bush publicly blasted a 2008 Supreme Court decision dealing with the rights of prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay detention camp, but he did so at a news conference in Italy.

Obama was right to voice his distaste, and the manner in which he did so could not have come in a more authoritative fashion.

Andrew Taylor is an economics senior and may be reached at [email protected]

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