Franken goes after direction of the Supreme Court

DFL Sen. Al Franken used a speech to the liberal leaning American Constitution Society to criticize the direction of the U.S. Supreme Court. Franken, who sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee, said the court is “pro-business”. In particular, Franken was highly critical of the court’s decision on the Citizen’s United case. The ruling allowed corporations to spend freely on political ads and campaign literature to influence elections:

“Most Americans are familiar with cases in which the Court has had to balance individual rights against some compelling state interest.

It’s easy to feel disconnected from these cases. Even though the government has awesome power – enough to take away your freedom, or even your life – the degree to which that power is deemed to supersede your individual rights doesn’t really enter into the daily lives of most Americans.

But there’s more than one kind of power.

If you have a credit card, if you watch TV, if you file insurance claims, if you work – in other words, if you participate in American daily life at all – then you interact with corporations that are more powerful than you are.

The degree to which those corporations’ rights are protected over yours, well, that’s extremely relevant to your life.

And in case after case after case, the Roberts Court has put not just a thumb, but a fist, on the scale in favor of those corporations.

A fist with brass knuckles. Which weigh a lot. Because they’re brass.

It’s important to recognize that, for some conservative legal activists, this is the whole point. Do they want to undercut abortion and immigration and Miranda rights? Sure. But those are just cherries on the sundae.

What conservative legal activists are really interested in is this question: What individual rights are so basic and so important that they should be protected above a corporation’s right to profit? And their preferred answer is: None of them. Zero.”

A spokeswoman for Franken said Franken used his speech to outline some of his thoughts as the hearings for President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan.

You can watch the speech here or listen to it here.

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