In what has been called by some the worst Supreme Court decision since Dred Scott, last week the Court ruled that corporations can spend unlimited amounts of money to elect and defeat candidates.

Writing the majority opinion, Justice Anthony Kennedy described existing campaign finance laws as a form of censorship that have had a “substantial, nationwide chilling effect” on political speech.

In the dissenting opinion, Justice John Paul Stevens described the decision as a radical departure in the law. Stevens wrote, quote, “The Court’s ruling threatens to undermine the integrity of elected institutions across the nation.” Stevens went on to write,  “It will undoubtedly cripple the ability of ordinary citizens, Congress, and the States to adopt even limited measures to protect against corporate domination of the electoral process.”

But corporate contributions have been part of the political process in this country for over a century — also a result of a series of Supreme Court decisions that gave corporations the same legal entitlements as “natural persons,” including protections under the 1st and 14th amendments.

This most recent ruling further codifies corporate personhood and opens the floodgates for their spending on political campaigns.

This week on Radio Provocateur we’ll talk about the troublesome history of corporate personhood and the implications of this landmark Supreme Court decision.

>>Listen to 1/26/10: The Corporate Citizen

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