"The very rich are different from you and me," a famous author once wrote, and a famous colleague replied, "Yes, they have more friends on the Supreme Court."
Having already issued one devious ruling to make the Koch brothers' lives easier, the Supreme Court is now preparing to give the well-heeled political fixers another leg up. (The Kochs have more legs up than centipedes. They finance a huge share of the right-wing political activity in this country.)
The Court is being asked to remove the limits on contributions by the biggest individual givers to political campaigns, thus allowing the wealthy even more control over the American political process. The plaintiff, a chronic Republican contributor from Alabama, says the present limit of $123,200 on the contributions he can make in a two-year election cycle is insufficient for the amount of good government he longs to provide. There are sound reasons to believe the Court will agree, one of them being that the plaintiff is, as we said, a big Republican contributor. These are judges who once yanked a presidential election away from the voters so they could award victory to a Republican candidate. Nonpartisanship is not their thing.
A couple of years ago, the Court ruled 5-4 that corporations, like the Kochs', could spend as much as they wanted on campaign advocacy as long as the expenditures were made independently of candidates and their campaigns. Shadowy donors now spend billions on television ads attacking candidates. Corporations are people, the Court said, and money is speech. Utter nonsense, of course, the sort that only really big money can buy. Saving American democracy will not be easy. Putting democracy in danger was inevitable when Ronald Reagan and other Republican presidents began selecting judges solely on grounds of ideology.