Good for speech, bad for democracy?

My heart is telling me one thing and my head another following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to remove political-speech restrictions on corporations and, by implication, labor unions.

On the one hand, I had been looking forward to this. I am close to being a First Amendment absolutist, and I gag instinctively at the idea that any form of political speech should be restricted, theories about corporate personhood aside.

On the other hand, we know what’s going to happen, don’t we? It’s bad enough that Congress can’t get health care right thanks to the doleful effects of corporate lobbying. And I do wonder why the Court had to overturn restrictions on corporations that extended back a century.

For the time being, I’m going to punt, and link to an article I wrote for the Boston Phoenix in 2003 on a corporate-speech case involving Nike.

Let the games begin

President Obama will reportedly nominate Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court. Although none of the candidates on his short list has a reputation for being a liberal fire-breather, Sotomayor is probably the most provocative given her ruling in a high-profile affirmative action case in New Haven.

A ruling Sotomayor made in 1995 ended the eight-month-long major-league baseball strike. So she sounds like a fine choice to me.