Ad-hoc museums of a failing utopia: photos of Soviet shop-windows

Buckley v Valeo concerns direct donations to candidates and campaigns; we were talking about corporations using money for advocacy. It’s an ancillary issue, but what the hell.

Limiting the amount of money an individual can spend on a candidate limits that individual’s political expression, which, in my opinion, is an abridgment of the First Amendment.

Considering the recent decision in McCutcheon v FEC, I’d say the Supreme Court agrees:

There is no right in our democracy more basic than the right to participate in electing our political leaders.

And the quoted language addressed your questions about how money and paid speech could be interpreted as corruption, or the appearance of corruption. Yes, it is no longer a winning argument for the Supreme Court, but four judges in Citizens United found merit in the corruption argument.

Sure. And, like all rights, it is balanced against other rights. Felons may be deprived of the right to vote. And the right to unlimited aggregate contributions may be seen, by some, as no less legitimate a compromise between the speech/participation values articulated above and other, competing values like corruption.

Note that only the hugely-marginalized Thomas is willing to take as extreme a position on campaign finance as you are: clearly even the other judges comprising the majority in McCutcheon believe that some limits on campaign finances may be legitimate.

Yes, and like all “balancing acts” of this type, it’s usually an actual right being watered down for some euphemistic buzzword like “corruption” or “public safety” whose definition is shifting and arbitrary.

Depriving felons of the franchise is a perfect example. The right to vote is sacred, and shouldn’t be permanently stripped from someone who has served his or her time in jail. Many people who committed nonviolent crimes have been relegated to permanent second-class status due to the same sort of bogus “balancing act” you talk about.

I have faith they’ll see the light eventually. :wink:

Shifting and arbitrary. Not like the core and fundamental right for judicial persons (aka corporations) to spend as much money as they want on election ads under the guise of free speech. I mean, that’s a pretty dilute form of free speech you’re talking about.

Actually, those who engage in balancing are exceeding unlikely to approve of stripping the rights of felons to vote, and this sort of law has never been subject to a balancing test. The constitution gave states he right to determine voting requirements and restrictions, and basically for as long as the US Constitution has existed there have been felony disenfranchisement laws. Later, the fourteenth amendment explicitly condoned such laws. And even in the absence of the fourteenth amendment, the originalists and textualists who abhor balancing are likely to approve of these laws since these laws existed long before the US became a country (and were thus likely to have been condoned by the Framers, who not attempt to override them).

[quote=“goodpasture, post:123, topic:52790”]
I have faith they’ll see the light eventually.
[/quote]Yeah, because what everyone wants is a court full of Thomases. Oral arguments would be a lot less stressful.

1 Like

A fundamental right to engage in political advocacy seems pretty concrete to me.

Nah, plenty of originalists oppose felon disenfranchisment based on Article 4, Section 2 of the Constitution, which promises:

The Citizens of each State shall be entitled to all Privileges and Immunities of Citizens in the several States.


A fundamental right [for corporations] to engage in political advocacy [by spending unlimited amounts of money] may seem pretty concrete to you, and a fundamental right to marry [my dog in the church of my choosing] seems pretty concrete to me.

Well, to start with, that note refers to the Privileges or Immunities clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, and not the Privileges and Immunities clause of Article IV.

Secondly, a single note authored by a law student hardly shows that plenty of originalists oppose felon disenfranchisement.

1 Like

Seems to me he’s arguing that the Soviet system had at least some positive features, as opposed to the American narrative that life under the Soviets was an unending hell of starving, brutalized peasants from sea to sea, yearning to be saved by the noble hand of Capitalism. I can prefer the USA, for all our fuckups, and still agree that the USSR did some things right. (Especially compared to the notably grotesque sort of capitalism that Russia has adopted since then.)


The shoes and flowers display wouldn’t have looked out of place in an art gallery; quite lovely, though a bit sad… intimations of mortality and all that…

1 Like

Grody! But he’s your property, let your freak flag fly. :smile:

It refers to both; the clauses are intrinsically linked.

The guy is a lawyer for the Justice Department; I was demonstrating that originalist arguments against disenfranchising felons exist. And, yes, plenty of originalists make them.

I agree that’s his larger argument, but in the specific exchange you cited, he suggested people in the U.S. don’t exercise their liberties because of their workload (which, in my opinion, is ridiculous on its face), implying that a lighter workload without civil liberties is preferable.

Who’s claiming that? Nobody in this thread.

Modern Russia, with all its grotesqueries, is still less oppressive than the USSR.

Did you read any of the note? Can you show me where it references originalism in the context of Article IV? How does the note’s tenuous approach to originalism interact with the constitution (written when felon disenfranchisement was a growing movement), as opposed to the fourteenth amendment (written when states were starting to move away from it)?

So he’s now an AUSA, or federal prosecutor. It’s not like being an originalist is a qualification for that job or that he wasn’t a law student when he wrote that note.

Neither the Federalist Society nor the Cato links present an originalist argument for felon voting rights, even if the Federalist Society is broadly aligned with originalism.

Also, here’s a snippet from your Cato link:

From a policy perspective, I would restore voting rights to felons who have completed their prison terms. I see no compelling reason to deny such rights. Decreasing the number of Democratic voters is not a legitimate reason.

Ideally, states (not the feds) should enact such laws. Federal re-enfranchisement is constitutionally suspect.

Do you even read the things you link to?

Makes me remember my Russian colleague who still waxes poetic for her USSR waffle iron, as no other she can find in the markets of the USA or Western Europe is as simple and durable.
When I went to Cuba the airplane was soviet, of course, and very very old.

My first thought upon seeing the pictures was, ‘In capitalism you have to spend a lot more to get window displays like that.’

1 Like

There is socialist minimalism

and there is socialist baroque


It discusses it within the context of previous precedent, Corfield v Coryell, which explicitly lists “elective franchise” as among the privileges granted by Article 4.

But he’s not some bumblefuck off the street, either. And the requirements of his job don’t really have anything to do with the discussion.

The links were meant to rebut this assertion of yours:

…by showing plenty of originalists support felon voting rights, using a variety of arguments. The Cato scholar thinks it’s a state issue; the Vanderbilt Law Review article argues it’s a federal one.

I prefer osmosis.

It’s crapitalist baroque.

1 Like

Well, let’s include the entire quote: "elective franchise, as regulated and established by the laws or constitution of the state in which it is to be exercised.” Of course, at the time of Article IV the states tended to allow felon disenfranchisement. The author’s entire argument, from an originalist perspective, is that this was changing by the time the Fourteenth Amendment was written.

You’re right, the requirements of his job have nothing to do with the discussion. So why did you raise his job, again?

So, people who may have originalist perspectives (and this is not a given of Fed Soc members, much less Cato) support felon voting rights, just not through originalist principles. I mean, this is like saying originalists like chocolate milk: their originalism has nothing to do with their view on the matter.

1 Like

You dismissed the article as a “single note written by a law student,” and I pointed out that the author has some serious legal street cred.

You’re taking too narrow a view of “originalist perspective” and “originalist principles,” which aren’t simply about the text of the law, but encompasses the clashing arguments and philosophies that surrounded the law’s writing.

Unless you possibly meant strict textualists?

I don’t know if an AUSA has serious legal cred as a constitutional scholar. I do know that law reviews are notorious for accepting shoddy writing and being student edited (just ask Posner), with short and often fanciful student notes typically representing the low-water mark of what gets published.

Originalism is basically constitutional textualism, with the meaning of the constitution informed by how the words would have been understood at the time they were written. In the view of originalists, the constitution doesn’t change over time, but has one meaning: the meaning it originally had at the time it was promulgated.

You can’t make an originalist argument for felon voting rights under Article IV (even if you think voting was an unenumerated yet fundamental right) when everyone accepted that felons could be banned from voting at the time Article IV was written. You can’t make an originalist argument for felon voting rights at the same time as you say “[f]ederal re-enfranchisement is constitutionally suspect.”

There’s nothing wrong with crapitalism
There’s nothing wrong with free enterprise
Don’t try to make me feel guilty
I’m so tired of hearing you cry

There’s nothing wrong with making obscene profits
If you ask, I’ll say it’s just fine
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to live nice
So tired of hearing you whine

About the revolution, bringing down the rich
When was the last time you dug a ditch, baby

If it ain’t one thing, then it’s the other
Any cause that crosses your path
Your heart bleeds for anyone’s brother
I’ve got to tell you, you’re filled with butthurt



This topic was automatically closed after 5 days. New replies are no longer allowed.