Supreme Court Upholds Ban on Foreigner Spending in US Campaigns

High Court continues to pick and choose who has political speech rights.

The Supreme Court on Monday upheld a lower federal court decision that said foreigners legally living in the U.S. cannot spend money on U.S. elections.

The case was Bluman v. FECand involved a First Amendment challenge of a federal law barring foreigners living in the U.S., but not permanent residents, from spending in U.S. elections. The question of whether this ruling consistent with Citizens United has been bouncing around the blogosphere, because in that case the court held that corporations may not be barred from spending independently in campaigns--saying that form of political speech must not be impeded.

The Court gave no explanation because it issued a summary judgment. But it appears that there is a hierarchy for who has political speech rights under the Roberts Court. Corporations and individual citizens have them--and are at one level--but not so with legal residents who are not citizens. The Court did not explain this inconsistency, although it underscores that it finds 'speech' by certain sectors of society desirable and others not. 


AlterNet / By Steven Rosenfeld

Posted at January 9, 2012, 5:38am

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