Some extremely minor news that you should probably ignore, because it’s a “distraction”

Don’t tread on them:

Twenty-two states and the District of Columbia are backing Montana in its fight to prevent the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision from being used to strike down state laws restricting corporate campaign spending.
The Supreme Court is being asked to reverse a state court’s decision to uphold the Montana law. Virginia-based American Tradition Partnership is asking the nation’s high court to rule without a hearing because the group says the state law conflicts directly with the Citizens United decision that removed the federal ban on corporate campaign spending.

This is American Tradition Partnership:

American Tradition Partnership (ATP) is a no-compromise grassroots organization dedicated to fighting the radical environmentalist agenda. We support responsible development of natural resources and rational land use and management policies. Only together can we protect access, private property rights, and affordable energy for all Americans!

So, a front group for energy interests. Energy interests, of course, like poor defenseless private equity, have no influence in Congress and no voice in elite opinion (if you don’t count a majority in the US Senate) so can’t be expected to abide by any laws regulating corporate campaign spending, anywhere.

The Supreme Court has blocked the Montana law until it can look at the case.
The Montana case has prompted critics to hope the court will reverse itself on the controversial Citizens United ruling. The 22 states and D.C. say the Montana law is sharply different from the federal issues in the Citizens United case, so the ruling shouldn’t apply to Montana’s or other state laws regulating corporate campaign spending. But the states also said they would support a Supreme Court decision to reconsider portions of the Citizens United ruling either in a future case or in the Montana case, if the justices decide to take it on.
Legal observers say don’t count on the Supreme Court reconsidering its decision.”It is highly unlikely that the Court would reverse its decision in Citizens United,” said law professor Richard L. Hasen of the University of California-Irvine. At best, the court would listen to arguments and might agree a clarification is needed to allow the Montana law to stand. But even that is a long shot, Hasen said.

It’s a great story. Rugged individualist Montana tries to get out from under (to quote a respected conservative leader) these “black-robed tyrants and their radical agenda”:

It’s a legal long shot, but Montana’s attorney general is mounting a brave defense against the 2010 U.S. Supreme Court decision that unleashed super PACs on American democracy.
To their credit, 22 other state attorneys general – including Washington’s Rob McKenna – are backing Steve Bullock’s attempt to protect Montana from the Citizens United ruling.
Montana was once a poster boy for money-corrupted politics; its history shows how vulnerable states are to the unlimited corporate spending the Supreme Court allowed when it overturned key federal campaign finance restrictions in 2010.
More than 100 years ago, Montana politicians were bought, sold and openly traded by mine-owners known as the Copper Kings. The bribery and other corruption were more or less inevitable, given the ease with which a handful of plutocrats could have their way with an agrarian state.
Montana lawmakers finally reined in the power of Anaconda Copper and other corporate barons by enacting the Corrupt Practices Act of 1912, which sharply curtailed how much they could spend electing friendly officeholders.

The history behind the Corrupt Practices Act flatly refutes Citizens United. Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing the majority decision in that case, proclaimed that “independent expenditures, including those made by corporations, do not give rise to corruption or the appearance of corruption.”

Okey-doke. Might be time to occasionally leave that building and take a stroll out among us, Justice Kennedy.

You’ll recall we’ve had years of exhaustive coverage of the opposition to President Obama’s health care law (although, oddly, very little practical information on the provisions of the law) and here’s real opposition to the Citizens decision as applied to the states and it’s ignored. Of course, the Citizens decision is favored by libertarians, conservatives, and the millionaires who carry water for billionaires (but I repeat myself) and the health care law is not, so maybe that explains the disparity in coverage here.

Here’s the states’ brief:

the sovereign States have for over a century been enacting and enforcing laws regulating corporations’ expenditures in state and local political campaigns. Although the States’ laws governing corporate campaign expenditures vary in important respects, they all seek to ensure that such expenditures do not undermine principles of accountability and integrity in state and local elections, while protecting residents’ rights to participate in the electoral process.

Petitioners’ challenge to Montana’s election laws asks this Court to address the permissible limits of state regulation of independent corporate expenditures in state and local candidate elections under the First Amendment. Any decision by this Court here will have consequences for state laws across the country. The amici States therefore have a strong interest in the outcome of this case, and a particularly strong interest in opposing petitioners’ request that the Court summarily reverse the decision of Montana’s Supreme Court, based on the Court’s decision two years ago in Citizens United v. FEC.

And here are the states backing Montana:

New York, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia and the District of Columbia.

Update: It occurs to me, reading the list of states, that this is bipartisan opposition!

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58 replies
  1. 1
    WereBear says:

    Yay New York!

  2. 2
    El Cid says:

    States rights! Tenth amendment! Federalism! But not for this issue! Just when we want!

  3. 3
    Kristine says:

    Glad to see Illinois on the list.

  4. 4
    redshirt says:

    Whom do you appeal a SC decision to? The Super Supreme Court?

  5. 5
    eric says:

    @redshirt: If recent events are any indication, it appears you appeal to the Catholic Church.

  6. 6
    Suffern ACE says:

    @redshirt: Judge Dredd had not heard the case. His word is usually quite final.

  7. 7
    Forum Transmitted Disease says:

    The Montana case has prompted critics to hope the court will reverse itself on the controversial Citizens United ruling.

    Oh my. I laughed until I cried when I read this. Wishful thinking taken to new heights.

  8. 8
    Warren Terra says:

    Rob McKenna is an ethically bankrupt Republican (but I repeat myself) currently running for Governor of Washington, with higher ambitions. Getting on the right and the populist side of this issue is a slick move – and an empty one; this effort will be crushed by the Roberts Court, and McKenna’s corporate backers know this and won’t be terribly offended by his backing Montana here.

  9. 9
    flukebucket says:

    @eric: LOL!!

  10. 10
    feebog says:

    Don’t forget that corporations are people too, my friends. This law is going to be struck down. Remember that the Citizens United case was initially a very narrow question; can a PAC be restricted in campaign spending within 30 days of an election. Roberts and his merry band or pirates expanded the issue, reheard arguments, and presto/chango, unlimited, undisclosable corprate spending.

  11. 11
    redshirt says:

    @Suffern ACE: Hmm. Doesn’t he tend to always rule one way? GUILTY!

  12. 12

    Whatever else it was, as for using this or that stream of precedent to justify Citizens United, the final leap of logic in the wingnut SCOTUS mind, was pure unadulterated political opportunism, for their like minded souls in the pol arena to carry the wingnut banner.

    That final lead of (il) logic, equating the essence of money with free speech protection via the constitution, was a craven political act, made for the sole purpose of electoral advantage for those with the most cash, ie republicans. As well as a balancing role for money to play against increasing loss of white wingnut voting power, considering coming demographic changes.

    There is no more than zero chance the right wing justices will change their minds, not today, not 6 months from now, or a year. Embalming fluid might make it possible, if we don’t have a right wing prez and senate at the time.

    The other way, and likely only sure way to stamp out the coming plague of pay to play on steroids at the national level, is what the independent strain of conservatism is doing in the great state of Montana.

    And they are not the only red state with dark history of corporate shenanigans concerning elections and big bidness. Such as Texas, and it’s strict laws banning corporate monies from their elections. If there is to be a final fix of CU via a constitutional amendment, we will need to get states like MT and TX on board.

    But for now, we just have to endure the onslaught to our senses, the coming shit storm of CU powered campaigning, as well as increased corrupt governing after those elections.

  13. 13

    That’s actually an interesting mix of states: The usual “State’s Rights!” Southern states, siding with the more regulation-oriented blue states like NY and MA (who presumably don’t want their politics swamped by out-of-state moguls), with a bit of the libertarian West thrown in for good measure.

  14. 14
    Odie Hugh Manatee says:

    @Warren Terra:

    “ethically bankrupt Republican”

    Too repetitive, just say “Republican”. It’s easier. I grew up in Spokane and know that Rob is a legend in his own mind. Good luck keeping him out of Olympia (Governor’s Office).

  15. 15
    Dungheap says:

    Regarding the “bipartisan” thing, only three Republican attorneys general support Montana here, the AGs of Washington, Utah and Idaho. The rest are Democrats. Yes, that’s “bipartisan,” but 3 out of 23 ain’t much.

  16. 16
    Kay says:

    @Judas Escargot, Your Postmodern Neighbor:

    That’s actually an interesting mix of states: The usual “State’s Rights!” Southern states, siding with the more regulation-oriented blue states like NY and MA (who presumably don’t want their politics swamped by out-of-state moguls), with a bit of the libertarian West thrown in for good measure.

    I think so, too. I notice who is missing. The Mitch Daniels-led crew of corporate stooges: Indiana, Wisconsin, Ohio and Michigan.

  17. 17
    Kay says:

    @Dungheap:

    only three Republican attorneys general support Montana here,

    I know, but we love bipartisan. Well, I don’t, but “we” supposedly yearn for comity, or so I am told. We agree on this! That’s fabulous.

  18. 18
    kindness says:

    Doesn’t matter. Being Republican (and/or a conservative Supreme Court Justice) means never having to say you are sorry for poor judicial decisions or admit to unbelievable hypocrisy .

  19. 19
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Okey-doke. Might be time to occasionally leave that building and take a stroll out among us, Justice Kennedy.

    Kennedy is apparently an idiot savant. Because his imaginary world where corporate money is never corrupting is one that James Madison would have laughed at.

  20. 20
    themann1086 says:

    @Kay: You forgot Pennsylvania and New Jersey, sadly. I hate our state government.

    Also, bipartisanship only counts if it’s in favor of corporate interests. Everything else is “populist anger” or some such bullshit.

  21. 21
    Ash Can says:

    Obviously, these states are fucked. I just hope they scream bloody murder when the GOP majority on the SC inevitably kicks them in the teeth, because that might get the issue some much-needed publicity (even though nothing can actually be done about it until SCOTUS loses at least one of its GOP activists and an honest justice replaces him).

  22. 22
    Todd says:

    I’ve always thought that the best way to go about this is through express legal recognition that the corporation is purely a creature of government, and is hence subject to regulation as to expenditures.

  23. 23
    Kay says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    They did the same thing with voter ID. They made these ridiculous conclusive pronouncements that have no connection, at all, to reality. In that case I thought the liberal lawyers did a bad job, but that was back in 2005, and everyone I read said that. Now I’m beginning to wonder.

    Either liberals have incredibly crappy lawyers, all of them suck, always, or something else is going on here.

  24. 24
    catclub says:

    Did anyone else notice the unanimous decision against a woman who sued social security for survivors benefits for a child
    conceived after the death of the father?

    The ruling primarily backed the decisionmaking power of SS.

  25. 25
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @themann1086:

    Also, bipartisanship only counts if it’s in favor of corporate interests. Everything else is “populist anger” or some such bullshit.

    Class warfare.

    Which I’m becoming more and more convinced is necessary to make things right.

  26. 26
    Cacti says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    Kennedy is apparently an idiot savant. Because his imaginary world where corporate money is never corrupting is one that James Madison would have laughed at.

    It would have been quite befuddling to the Sons of Liberty also. Their famed “Boston Tea Party” was an attack on the monopolist British East India, Company.

  27. 27

    @Todd:

    I’ve always thought that the best way to go about this is through express legal recognition that the corporation is purely a creature of government, and is hence subject to regulation as to expenditures.

    This.

    A corporation has to be a legal person, because it needs to be able to engage in contracts and agreements, and to show up in court when needed. The RW has managed to pollute and obscure this concept to a ridiculous extent.

    We’re now supposed to believe that corporate personhood is an innate, gods-given right, when it is in fact just a useful legal fiction that should only be recognized to the extent that its beneficial to the public interest.

  28. 28
    Jeff Spender says:

    Either liberals have incredibly crappy lawyers, all of them suck, always, or something else is going on here.

    I know one of these liberal lawyers. I won’t name-drop, but he works for Public Citizen Litigation Group. This dude is as smart as a whip and a genuinely good guy. I like him. He does good work with establishing first amendment case law in the federal courts to be applied to the internet (such as a right to post anonymously).

    They’re not all idiots. Something is going on here. But of course, you know this.

  29. 29
    smedley says:

    It would be a small step, but some mainstream WaPo columnist should start referring to Roberts and/or Kennedy as the latter-day Roger Taney. A hundred years from now, the CU decision will be viewed in the same way the Dred Scott ruling is viewed today. I use WaPo because it is likely the only mainstream news source the conservatives on the Court read.

  30. 30
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Judas Escargot, Your Postmodern Neighbor:

    We’re now supposed to believe that corporate personhood is an innate, gods-given right, when it is in fact just a useful legal fiction that should only be recognized to the extent that its beneficial to the public interest.

    Amazingly, this is pretty much how the Founders viewed the corporation.

    As Cacti notes above, they had run ins with the corporate assholes of the day, the “Honorable East India Company”, which so fucked things up in India that the British Government eventually had to step in and take over the whole magilla.

  31. 31
    Cacti says:

    @Judas Escargot, Your Postmodern Neighbor:

    A corporation has to be a legal person, because it needs to be able to engage in contracts and agreements, and to show up in court when needed. The RW has managed to pollute and obscure this concept to a ridiculous extent.

    Even arch-conservative Rehnquist accused proponents of corporations = flesh and blood people as conflating metaphor with reality.

    Corporate personhood is a legal fiction. Corporations are not people, my friend. They are not endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights. They are not found in nature and are not subject to Locke’s principles of natural law.

  32. 32

    Here is an amusing timeline of some national events, since the founding, concerning tales of corporate money in politics. I especially liked this one from TR.

    Accused of fundraising improprieties, President Theodore Roosevelt calls for a ban on all corporate contributions “for any political purpose,” leading to passage of the Tillman Act (named after white supremacist Sen. “Pitchfork Ben” Tillman).

    “Pitchfork Ben”. How cool is that. Nothing cool about the ‘white supremacist’ though

  33. 33
    David Hunt says:

    @redshirt:

    Whom do you appeal a SC decision to? The Super Supreme Court?

    To answer that question seriously, there are two potential ways (that I’m aware of) to reverse a SCOTUS ruling and/or render it moot. The one that is most obvious is to work through the political process to change the law that the ruling was based on (e.g. Lily Ledbetter Pair Pay Act) or even amend the Constitution.

    The less obvious is that SCOTUS is effectively its own court of appeal. If you can get the court to hear your case, they might reverse their ruling. This is the basis behind the Republican dream of getting enough conservative judges on the Court to overturn Roe v. Wade. SCOTUS can simply overturn a prior SC ruling.

  34. 34
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Cacti:

    Their famed “Boston Tea Party” was an attack on the monopolist British East India, Company.

    The teabagger movement is named after an incident where a bunch of men disguised as native Americans attacked the private property of a huge multinational corporation.

    Or, as Fark showed hilariously a few years back, an incident that Faux Noise would have covered as a terrorist attack against the Crown.

  35. 35
    Kay says:

    @Jeff Spender:

    I know one of these liberal lawyers.

    Oh, I love them very much. It must be thankless work at this point. I know a lot of them are smart as a whip, and I’m actually immediately knee-jerk sympathetic to the lawyer who is getting hammered for a loss, because I think it’s probably not the fault of the advocate :)

    The 2005 loss for voting rights was depicted as “the liberal lawyers brought the case too soon” because (supposedly) they hadn’t allowed enough time for a factual pattern on voter ID to develop. That’s what I was referring to there.

  36. 36
    Chris says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    The teabagger movement is named after an incident where a bunch of men disguised as native Americans attacked the private property of a huge multinational corporation.

    The irony is never lost on me when I listen to them whine about how that one guy who shit on a cop car was shrill and uncivil and anarchistic.

  37. 37

    @Stuck in the Funhouse:

    And with a little more research, it seems that Justice Thomas, in some high wire act of irony, uses The Tillman Act to justify allowing unlimited corporate cash into elections. Using the laws ugly racist past origins, to justify also ugly current corporate whoring which is CU/

  38. 38
    burnspbesq says:

    @catclub:

    That’s a highly misleading description of the holding in Astrue v. Caputo.

    What the Supremes actually said is that children conceived after the death of a parent are entitled to survivor benefits if, under applicable state law of intestate succession, they could inherit from that deceased parent.

    http://www.scotusblog.com/2012.....ore-145171

    There’s no reason why Congress can’t enact a uniform Federal rule if it chooses to. So far, it hasn’t chosen to. Under those circumstances, looking to state law seems quite unobjectionable.

    If you think otherwise, feel free to explain your views.

  39. 39
    gex says:

    STATES RIGHTS BITCHES!!!! Wait what? That can only be used to oppress people? That’s kind of what I suspected.

  40. 40
    burnspbesq says:

    @Cacti:

    Except that there is just enough ambiguity in the language of Section 1 of the Fourteenth Amendment, and enough conflicting indications in the legislative history, so that things are not nearly as clear as you suggest.

    If the drafters of the Fourteenth Amendment had meant to reach the result you like, it would have been easy for them to make that clear. They would simply have had to write, “nor shall any State deprive any citizen of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any citizen within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” Instead, they used the word “person” in lieu of the word “citizen.” And that word choice must be presumed to have been deliberate.

  41. 41
    Cacti says:

    @burnspbesq:

    Except that there is just enough ambiguity in the language of Section 1 of the Fourteenth Amendment, and enough conflicting indications in the legislative history, so that things are not nearly as clear as you suggest.

    Fap, fap, fap, fap.

  42. 42

    @Cacti:

    Corporate personhood is a legal fiction. Corporations are not people, my friend. They are not endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights. They are not found in nature and are not subject to Locke’s principles of natural law

    Here, here, Bravo!!

  43. 43
    rikyrah says:

    yeah for the 22 states. proud my state is among them.

  44. 44

    I hereby call for the equal right to marry a corporation, if I happen to fall in love with one.

  45. 45
    burnspbesq says:

    @Cacti:

    Fap, fap, fap, fap.

    Presumably that’s all you’ve got. Impressive!

  46. 46
    burnspbesq says:

    @Stuck in the Funhouse:

    I hereby call for the equal right to marry a corporation, if I happen to fall in love with one

    Would you be the bride or the groom?

  47. 47
    catclub says:

    @burnspbesq: As I heard it, SS decided to follow intestate succession as a basis for its rulemaking. SCOTUS decided SS could use that basis for the rule they made.

    The fact that many states are not clear on intestate succession just makes it all more fun for more lawyers.

  48. 48
    middlewest says:

    @burnspbesq: I’d say you’re slipping into self-parody, but I’m not sure you ever left.

  49. 49

    @burnspbesq:

    doesn’t matter, long as I got plenty of deposit slips handy.

    You can be my divorce lawyer when conjugation proves impossible, and we’ll both git rich.

  50. 50
    Cacti says:

    @burnspbesq:

    Would you be the bride or the groom?

    Well, based on the ambiguity of the gender identity of the poster, and the minutes of the 1787 Philadelphia Convention, given the lack of mention of “marriage,” “bride,” or “groom” in the text of the document, there is just enough ambiguity to argue that the founders quite clearly intended for anyone to be able to marry anyone else, and be the bride, groom, or the corporation.

    I think I’ll go suck my own d*ck now for being so bloody brilliant.

  51. 51
    catclub says:

    @burnspbesq: “We conclude that the SSA’s reading is better attuned to the statute’s text and its design to benefit primarily those supported by the deceased wage earner in his or her life­time,” Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote for the court. “And even if the SSA’s longstanding interpretation is not the only reasonable one, it is at least a permissible construction that garners the court’s respect under [precedent].”

    Thus my conclusion that SS rulemaking was supported.

  52. 52

    @burnspbesq:
    Back in the 1860s, when the 14th was written, only some Native Americans were considered legal citizens (automatic citizenship-by-birth for them wasn’t universally recognized until the 1920s). They were still considered ‘persons’, though (at least on paper).

    I have neither a law degree nor a time machine, but I’m pretty sure that a judge making the person/citizen distinction back in the 1860s would be more likely to have Indian Law on his mind than he would the future Mitt Romney or Bain Capital.

  53. 53
    Mnemosyne says:

    @burnspbesq:

    They would simply have had to write, “nor shall any State deprive any citizen of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any citizen within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” Instead, they used the word “person” in lieu of the word “citizen.” And that word choice must be presumed to have been deliberate.

    Given how the US was settled and the immigration patterns prior to the Civil War, that wording couldn’t possibly have been meant to protect non-citizen US residents from government intrusion. Nope, they must have meant corporations, not actual persons, because corporations are persons, but people aren’t persons. Good one!

    (ETA to correct which war was which, though the point still stands even if Burnsy was referring to the Bill of Rights and not the 14th Amendment.)

  54. 54
    Origuy says:

    @Cacti:

    the founders quite clearly intended for anyone to be able to marry anyone else, and be the bride, groom, or the corporation.

    I’m waiting for two corporations to apply for a marriage license in order to get around anti-trust restrictions. Or would consanguinity be a consideration?

  55. 55
    RobinDC says:

    I think that person is clearly unlikely to have been meant to incorporate corporations into its meaning from the perspective of the writers of the 14th amendment. They use the language “all persons born or naturalized in the United States,” implying an organic character to such entities. Basically person almost certainly meant human being and only human being when the 14th amendment was drafter.

  56. 56
    twiffer says:

    @burnspbesq: nice selective c&p there. i believe what you meant to post was:

    Section 1.
    All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

    now see, i (naively) believed this section not only clarified citizenship, but also extended protection of the law to non-citizens who were within the jurisdiction of the US. so, you know, using “person” instead of “citizen”, when you are clarifying that you can’t just imprison foreigners cause you feel like it, makes a good deal of sense. but, obviously it means that corporations should be treated as actual, instead of fictional, persons. silly me, using context like that.

  57. 57
    lless says:

    You’d better take DC off that list because I am pretty sure that their Republican masters don’t approve.

  58. 58
    El Cid says:

    If I recall correctly, it didn’t used to be too rare for individuals to be declared by the sovereign as no longer a citizen of the realm, and thus uncovered by the legal protections ostensibly held by citizens. It was typically called “banishing” or “banishment” in English, and it was used whenever the ruler had whatever beef with an individual or set of individuals, i.e., they had the wrong religious beliefs.

    The Founders were well aware of such a cheap manipulation of the recognition of citizen status. We used to actually be England (Great Britain), you know.

    As Hobbes stated it so succinctly in Leviathan (though for a somewhat different emphasis than here), “If the sovereign banish his subject, during the banishment he is not subject.”

    (Yet the sovereign likewise gained from the other side of citizenship as the decision of the ruler: English common law viewed anyone born into the realm as subject to a lifelong, involuntary obligation to the State, “perpetual allegiance”.)

    Here recently the matter has been discussed as proposals to enable the systematic use of a power of “expatriation” of citizens argued to pose risks. I.e., the “Enemy Expatriation Act,” particularly language by Senator Droopy McIndyWhine, Joe Lieberman.

    Earl Warren thought it less a matter of state prerogative:

    In Perez v. Brownell, supra, I expressed the principles that I believe govern the constitutional status of United [p92] States citizenship. It is my conviction that citizenship is not subject to the general powers of the National Government, and therefore cannot be divested in the exercise of those powers. The right may be voluntarily relinquished or abandoned either by express language or by language and conduct that show a renunciation of citizenship.
    __
    Citizenship is not a license that expires upon misbehavior. The duties of citizenship are numerous, and the discharge of many of these obligations is essential to the security and wellbeing of the Nation. The citizen who fails to pay his taxes or to abide by the laws safeguarding the integrity of elections deals a dangerous blow to his country. But could a citizen be deprived of his nationality for evading these basic responsibilities of citizenship? In time of war, the citizen’s duties include not only the military defense of the Nation, but also full participation in the manifold activities of the civilian ranks. Failure to perform any of these obligations may cause the Nation serious injury, and, in appropriate circumstances, the punishing power is available to deal with derelictions of duty. But citizenship is not lost every time a duty of citizenship is shirked.
    __
    And the deprivation of citizenship [p93] is not a weapon that the Government may use to express its displeasure at a citizen’s conduct, however reprehensible that conduct may be.
    __
    As long as a person does not voluntarily renounce or abandon his citizenship, and this petitioner has done neither, I believe his fundamental right of citizenship is secure. On this ground alone, the judgment in this case should be reversed.

    And this in a case of a Native American found guilty by military command of wartime desertion.

    There are some very serious vulnerabilities made possible by an exclusive reliance upon a legal designation of a human as “citizen” to determine whether basic rights and powers are or are not due to a person.

    It would be a very, very different thing to suggest that a non-citizen be denied the ability to vote than to suggest that a non-citizen should be denied the right to a fair trial, and so forth. Our police and judicial authorities do not suddenly become more noble, correct, honest, accurate, and just simply because the person detained is a non-citizen. And remember that fair trials aren’t viewed so sacrosant because we all see them as simply a “gift” to the person or persons held and/or charged, but as a basic and moral obligation applying to authorities, judges, juries, and so forth, at all times.

    Who could justify to themselves convicting someone of a crime for which they were innocent whether the person charged was a citizen or not? How noble would you see the discharge of your duties if you didn’t have to feel sure that your evidence was fair and justly obtained and rightly available to the defendent and his or her representation? What sort of monster would you become if you allowed your standards to become as lax as circumstances permitted? What sort of monster would our entire justice system become even in its root conception?

    And this is clearly the goal of those seeking to (a) interpret basic rights, protections, and powers as exclusively applying to “citizens” while simultaneously seeking to (b) return citizenship to the status of a title awarded at the pleasure of the government in office.

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