A blog about research, awareness, prevention, treatment and survivorship of Breast Cancer and all cancers, including targeted scientific research and a grassroots approach to increase screening for cancer, especially in the low income and under-insured population of El Paso, Texas, with a view to expand this new health care model to many other 'minority' populations across the United States and beyond
Sunday, December 30, 2012
IT IS ALL POLITICS, AN INTERESTING READING BUT THE SUPREME COURT WON'T BUY
Republican strategist Karl Rove, shown at the
Republican National Convention in August, is arguing for continued
secrecy for the new class of million-dollar political donors.
Here's a question: What do Republican uber-strategist Karl Rove and civil rights icon Rosa Parks have in common?
The answer: A landmark Supreme Court ruling from 1958 protecting the First Amendment rights of dissident groups.
case is rooted in the Montgomery bus boycott initiated by Parks in
1955. And it's likely to loom large in 2013 as Rove and other
conservatives demand continued secrecy for the new class of
million-dollar political donors. A Wave Of Secret Money
election year, secret money played a bigger role than in any other
presidential campaign since Richard Nixon's. The nonpartisan Sunlight
Foundation says that secretly funded groups spent well over $200 million. And four-fifths of it helped Republicans.
it's not surprising that conservatives want to keep donors' identities
secret. They say it's essential to safeguard donors from harassment and
Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell once favored sweeping transparency for political money. Not anymore.
a major speech this year, he brought up the plight of a million-dollar
donor to a superPAC supporting Republican presidential candidate Mitt
"People were digging through his divorce records, cable
television hosts were going after him on the air, and bloggers were
harassing his kids," McConnell said. 'Intimidation And Harassment'
Rove's group Crossroads GPS was a leader in the secret fundraising. He says that the disclosure advocates have a hidden agenda.
"They want to intimidate people into not giving to ... these conservative efforts," he said on Fox News.
And here is where Rove and Parks cross paths: In defending secret money, Rove invokes that Supreme Court case, NAACP v. Alabama.
He lines up Crossroads GPS on the same side as Parks and the NAACP, and
he says the transparency advocates make the same argument as the
"I think it's shameful," Rove said. "I think
it's a sign of their fear of democracy. And it's interesting that they
have antecedents, and the antecedents are a bunch of segregationist
attorney generals trying to shut down the NAACP."
To elaborate on this argument, aides to Rove recommended Heritage Foundation legal fellow Hans von Spakovsky.
look at the kind of intimidation and harassment that has occurred in
the past year or two towards conservative political donors, and it makes
you realize that the Supreme Court got it right," von Spakovsky says. A 'False Symmetry'?
But the question is whether the two situations are similar.
few months after the bus boycott began, Parks told Pacifica Radio how
she had refused to give up her seat on the bus: "The time had just come
when I had been pushed as far as I could stand to be pushed, I suppose,"
she said. "They placed me under arrest."
That was just the
beginning. Montgomery law enforcement brought charges against Martin
Luther King Jr. and other leaders. Arsonists firebombed their homes and
churches. Across the state, rioters blocked an NAACP bid to desegregate
the University of Alabama. A mob chased the one African-American
student, chanting "Let's kill her."
The university acted. It suspended the black student — and then expelled her.
state Attorney General John Patterson subpoenaed the NAACP's membership
records. "The NAACP is the biggest enemy that the people of this state
have," he said.
When the case finally reached the Supreme
Court, the justices ruled in favor of the NAACP. They said the group
faced attacks — both from government officials and from law-breakers —
and that revealing its members would endanger their First Amendment
"One of the reasons why the NAACP required special
protections at that time [is] they were a minority group that law
enforcement couldn't or wouldn't protect," says Dale Ho, a lawyer at the
NAACP Legal Defense Fund.
He says conservatives are creating a
"false symmetry" between those civil rights activists and today's
millionaire donors. "In none of these recent cases that I'm aware of in
the past five years has anyone ever alleged that law enforcement
couldn't protect them adequately," Ho says. A Right To Secrecy?
the University of Chicago Law School, constitutional scholar Geoffrey
Stone scoffs at the conservative argument, calling its proponents "a
bunch of overly sensitive, thin-skinned billionaires who want to be able
to have profound influence on the political process without being in
any way accountable."
In the years since the NAACP v. Alabama decision, courts have never extended it to cover donors in the usual conservative-liberal, Republican-Democratic debates.
related case did go to the Supreme Court in 2010. Challenging a state
disclosure law, it sought to withhold the names of people who had
petitioned against gay marriage.
The court said they had no
right to secrecy. Justice Antonin Scalia was scathing: "Running a
democracy takes a certain amount of civic courage. And the First
Amendment does not protect you from criticism, or even nasty phone
But von Spakovsky says that politically generous
billionaires today need protection, just like civil rights workers 60
"I don't think that a constitutional right like freedom of association should depend on how much money you have," he says.
an argument that seems sure to stir passionate debate this coming year
as the disclosure battles take shape in Congress and the courts.