CITIZENS UNITED v. FEDERAL ELECTION COMMISION ( No. 08-205 )

Author: Buddamoose ,

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  • Buddamoose
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    In Citizens United v FEC[1] the Supreme Court in essence ruled that not only do individuals have rights to free speech/expression, but associations of individuals, and corporations being one of such association, also have rights to free speech and expression. 


    Do you agree that associations of individuals have free speech rights, even if indirectly inherited? 

    Are corporations an association of individuals, or should they be held in distinction? Why? 

    Furthermore, an underlying, less talked about issue at play here fmpov is the question of spending and/or donating money as a form of speech. 

    Do you hold the activities as a form of speech? If not? Why? 

    What is the dividing line in between expression that counts as speech(such as artistic) and expression that does not? 


  • Buddamoose
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    Should I say, individuals have free speech rights, associations of individuals thusly have free speech rights in turn.

    In regards to freedom of expression, "Freedom of Speech" has been ruled to apply to certain forms of expression:

    "In Tinker v. Des Moines, the Court recognized the right of public school students to wear black armbands in protest of the Vietnam War. In 1989 (Texas v. Johnson) and again in 1990 (U.S. v. Eichman), the Court struck down government bans on "flag desecration." Other examples of protected symbolic speech include works of art, T-shirt slogans, political buttons, music lyrics and theatrical performances."[1]
  • Buddamoose
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    ^^^^^^[1]https://www.aclu.org/other/freedom-expression
  • Smithereens
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    whats the worst that can happen?
  • Buddamoose
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    --> @Smithereens
    Idk lol, I more wanted to examine the ruling itself. Planning on doing my next debate on this, so figured some prep my making a forum post would be smart 🤔
  • TheDredPriateRoberts
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    --> @Buddamoose
    this is a tough one.  My initial thought is do the same laws apply to individuals as they do a corporation.  Can a corporation commit libel or slander?  I don't see how.  What's probably more applicable is can the members of a corporation or any group really appoint a person or persons to speak for them collectively, I don't see why not, that sounds like free speech to me.
  • Buddamoose
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    My initial thought is do the same laws apply to individuals as they do a corporation.  Can a corporation commit libel or slander?  I don't see how. 

    Corporations can sue others for libel/slander. Cant find anything about them being able to be sued. But fmpov it would make sense that they could be 🤔
    Same rationale really. If individuals can be sued for libel so too can associations of individuals.

    can the members of a corporation or any group really appoint a person or persons to speak for them collectively, i don't see why not

    Mhhm, Corporations themselves are protected under the peacable assembly clause in the 1A. This case is a bit hard to pick apart tbh. Simple, but it's solid rationale lol. Might be a bit too lopsided to have a level debate on 🤔

  • TheDredPriateRoberts
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    --> @Buddamoose
    you can't put an association/corporation in jail or hold them criminally liable I don't think.  While an association or corporation might have a collective opinion or stance, ultimately it is a person who espouses them for that collective and is therefore individually responsible, or should be anyway.  Anyway things can't have rights, only people.  When you reduce an association or corporation down the the lowest common denominator there is a decision maker that is and should be help responsible, even if they are only carrying out the majority will of the group.
  • Buddamoose
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    --> @TheDredPriateRoberts
    you can't put an association/corporation in jail or hold them criminally liable I don't think.
    But you can, below is a PDF that details the process:


    There are certain crimes that can't be charged as a "group" or be used to apply to associated individuals like sure. But for example, a whole group can be criminally charged with "domestic terrorism" and any associated individuals therein held to be "in conspiracy" to the detailed crimes of the entire group. 

    On a smaller scale, lets say criminal homicide. 3 individuals *conspire* to commit murder. One does the killing, one does the transport after picking up from a designated location, One buries the body after it is dropped off at the designated burial location. 

    Persons 2 and 3 did not actually *commit homicide* but would be held, at least, guilty of *conspiracy* to (insert crime). A crime that oft comes with similar punishment to the original crime if Persons 2 and 3 were found to be crucial to the premeditation of the crime 🤔



  • Buddamoose
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    Certain crimes can't be charged to a "group" though, you are correct. There are workarounds though 🙃
  • TheDredPriateRoberts
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    --> @Buddamoose
    ic, it's a bit complex, though I'm not certain why it should be.  I mean someone(s) speaks for the group so how could they not have free speech, seems rather nit picking of them trying to deny that fact.  Seems a huge waste of court time, but that's government for ya.
  • Buddamoose
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    --> @TheDredPriateRoberts
    Well the nitpicking would be in the realm of campaign finance, and advertisement. There are limits in place for the former, there are no limits to the latter. Holding "corporations" as having a right to political advocacy in spending via advertising is oft viewed as corrupt. (ex. NSSF, NRA-ILA) 🤔
  • Buddamoose
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    neither of which are "corporations" in a legal sense but "muh gun manufacturers" for the NSSF 🙃
  • Greyparrot
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    --> @Buddamoose
    If the government is going to treat corporations as actionable parties, then they should have all the rights of a party aggrieved.
  • TheDredPriateRoberts
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    --> @Greyparrot
    in many ways they do, one of the easiest ways to buy a machine gun or silencer is creating a corporation or trust that 'buys" it.
    But if individuals register these firearms to a legal trust or corporation, there is no background check or required approval from local law enforcement officials. 
  • Buddamoose
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    --> @TheDredPriateRoberts
    Somebody in that corporation needs clearance to purchase anyways though. And local law enforcement isnt the one who clears that... Its federally illegal to purchase a fully automatic or a silencer. To get em you need federal approval primarily 🤔

  • Buddamoose
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    Why would local law enforcement even have jurisdiction over a federal regulation. State and local can enact further restrictions, but restrictions imposed Federally are exclusively the purview of Federal Government 🤔
  • TheDredPriateRoberts
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    --> @Buddamoose
    the approval is the background check which apparently isn't needed for a corporation or trust, which is the actual owner of the firearm or silencer.  The article isn't unique in it's information.  You don't need 'approval" even as a private citizen, you just need to fill out the requisite paperwork and pay your money.  it's different that getting an ffl licence were there's an interview, that's more about creating a business anyway.
    I'm not seeing the "somebody" requirement in this process, other than to create the trust or corporation.
  • Buddamoose
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    --> @TheDredPriateRoberts
    This is where straw purchasing laws likely would be carried over and applied 🤔

  • Buddamoose
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    Cause the process you described sounds like a straw purchase in essence, using a corporation as the party that performs the purchase 🤔
  • TheDredPriateRoberts
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    --> @Buddamoose
    I'll try to investigate why it's not considered a straw purchase.  I've read it before but it was a while ago and I want to be as accurate as possible.  But istr the ownership is with the trust/corporation but the members have use of the property.  Much like a company car or equipment.  Now if the trust/corporation purchased the item then transferred ownership to someone that would be a straw purchase.  If the trust/corporation is dissolved or whatever then whatever class 3 items they posses would have to be disposed of, transferred according to law.  while you can sell firearms that you own to someone else w/o a background check in many states, I don't think that is true with class 3 stuff as that requires a licence.
  • Buddamoose
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    --> @TheDredPriateRoberts
    Well I dont see why thats inherently an issue then. If anyone given that use by the llc. commits a crime with that weapon, the llc become financially liable, individual who ceded possession, and the individual who used the weapon in the crime, also criminally culpable. 

    I would need to research how automatic weapons are handled beyond that, but I think other restrictions are placed upon transfers of possession 🤔. 

    Also, as a corporation(llc.) to sell those weapons again, would I think require an FFL at that point. Thus a background check via NICS would be required.
  • Buddamoose
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    >Corporate Campaign Finance and Advertising(Advocacy)
    >Guns

    Damnit, ive derailed my own thread 🙊

  • TheDredPriateRoberts
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    --> @Buddamoose
    Also, as a corporation(llc.) to sell those weapons again, would I think require an FFL at that point. Thus a background check via NICS would be required.
    I believe that to be true.


    >Corporate Campaign Finance and Advertising(Advocacy)>GunsDamnit, ive derailed my own thread 🙊

    maybe a little, but the larger point is what a corporation is and is not allowed to do and if it's consistent.  I'm not sure you can say they have a right to x but not other rights, or limit them inconsistently.