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Justice Thomas reveals elaborate reductio of “money = speech”

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[The quotations attributed below to Justice Thomas are genuine (though not the picture caption, obviously). Thanks to Alex Guerrero for the quip which inspired this post and became its title.]

"You thought I was serious, didn't you?"

“You thought I was serious, didn’t you?”

This week’s ruling in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission confirms what many have suspected since 2010’s Citizens United: Justice Clarence Thomas is engaged in an elaborate reductio of the idea that money is speech.

In Citizens United Justice Thomas argued that if political expenditures by corporations and unions are speech (as claimed by the Court), then existing disclosure requirements are unconstitutional. Such requirements, Thomas wrote, would violate the right to anonymous speech.

But Thomas’s position on the matter was too extreme even for Justices Roberts, Scalia, and Alito, leading some to suggest that Thomas had unknowingly produced a reductio ad absurdum of the idea that corporate political expenditures are speech. Others responded that Thomas was well aware of the reductio he had crafted, and the proper interpretation of his intentions remained controversial.

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Written by fauxphilnews

May 22, 2014 at 9:36 pm