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Obama's State of the Union address: Criticism of the Supreme Court campaign finance ruling

January 27, 2010 |  7:17 pm


With the black-robed justices of the Supreme Court sitting not far away, President Obama took aim at a recent court decision which said that corporations could spend as much as they wanted to sway voters in federal elections.

“Last week, the Supreme Court reversed a century of law to open the floodgates for special interests -- including foreign companies -- to spend without limit in our elections,” Obama said tonight. “Well, I don’t think American elections should be bankrolled by America’s most powerful interests, and worse, by foreign entities. They should be decided by the American people, and that’s why I’m urging Democrats and Republicans to pass a bill that helps to right this wrong.”

The court’s ruling overturned a century-old restriction. In a 5-4 decision led by the court’s conservative bloc, the justices said that corporations had the same right to free speech as individuals, and for that reason the government could not stop corporations from spending to help their favored candidates. Many analysts predict the ruling will benefit Republicans in next fall’s midterm elections.

-- Steve Padilla

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Photo: Members of the U.S. Supreme Court listen to U.S. President Barack Obama speak to both houses of Congress during his first State of the Union address at the U.S. Capitol on January 27, 2010 in Washington, DC. Pictured are: (L-R, Front) Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Anthony Kennedy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer; (L-R, Back) Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and Justices Samuel Alito and Sonia Sotomayor. Since taking office a little over a year ago, Obama's approval ratings have dropped significantly according to recent polls. Credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images