by Marion Nestle
Jan 22 2010

The Supreme Court and food politics

What is likely to be the effect of yesterday’s Supreme Court decision on food politics?  Nothing good.

The decision to overturn limits on corporate campaign contributions will affect every aspect of society, food included.  I have long argued that campaign contributions are one of two major sources of corruption in government (the other is the way Wall Street requires corporations to report growth every 90 days).

If we want our congressional representatives to make decisions in the public interest, their election campaigns must be publicly funded.  When corporations fund campaigns, representatives make decisions in the corporate interest.   It’s that simple.

Those of us who care about creating a good, clean, fair, and sustainable food system will have to work harder now.  But I can’t think of any more important work to do to protect our democratic institutions.

Addition: here’s my interview with Helena Bottemiller of Food Safety News on the topic.

  • DennisP

    There is no question in my mind that this decision – by Justices that have been bought by the corporate sector, or that believe wholeheartedly in the false Randian free-market ideology – will just allow more of our government to be bought by the highest bidders (lobbyists, grafters). Corporate funds will badly swing elections in favor of corporate-supported candidates and allow them to buy government agencies. We’ve seen that in Wisconsin in the last couple of Supreme Court elections; corporations and the right-wing supported candidates for the Court who lied and were tainted with misdeeds. If this decision is not corrected, I see our government becoming more and more dysfunctional and our country heading in the direction of a failed state. I fear for the world that my grandchildren will have to live in.

  • Bobby

    Money talks, we learned in civics class, and nothing has changed in the 40 years since.

  • Subvert

    Outside of the corruption this will breed, the sad thing is that this totally undermines people’s hope for any change and real reform in the future. Welcome to the age of Corporatism!

  • Really


    so none of you work with any organizations that one day might want to lobby the national government?

    The Current administration is bought and paid for by the Service Employees International Union (Guess which organization has visited with the president more than the leader of the house?)

    What exactly are you expecting in reform from this guy anyways? what in his first year has he done for middle class Americans? Nothing

  • Public financing of congressional

  • Jeanne

    If the current administration was bought and paid for by the Service Employees Union we would have card check passed….. so thats not true. If its bought by anyone its the Health Insurance Companies.(Corporations!) this decision will only make that worse, now it wil be bought by many corporations at once. Remember the Service Workers Union is not a corporation its a group of employees banded together to FIGHT for their rights Against the corporations. Wake up! we should all have such a group of workers in our workplace–the corporations don’t have our best interests at heart–only their bottom line…This is a slippery slope towards the working conditions of India.

  • Subvert

    The key now is getting the mass of unhappy and fed up people together to rally for the real good of citizens, (I wouldn’t call it ‘change’, as that word has been bastardized) rather than disbursing into fringe Tea-Party like groups out of desparation, thereby limiting power. There are a heck of a lot more of US than THEM…

  • thaaaaaanxxxx

  • Cassie

    I say we just go ahead and elect corporations. After all, that’s who really runs the U.S. anyway –why not just be honest about it?

  • Pingback: My Pure Diet. Health News & Supplements.()

  • Pingback: Winter Shiitake Stew with Polenta « Amy Cotler The Locavore Way()

  • GS

    This is pretty ridiculous. It seems obvious to me that if individuals have a right to free speech, so do collections of individuals. When you stand by principles such as free speech, you often get people saying things you do not like. However, the alternative is that speech is regulated, and if it is regulated, than who decides this? If you think the majority should decide by voting who gets to say what, that can lead down a very dangerous path. Most of the atrocities in the history of man have been done with the support of the majority.

    The problem with the comments on this page is that they are all based on tyranny – that the people should rise up and FORCE other people to do what they believe to be right. I’m guessing by what people are saying here that they have no problem in people rising up to make gay marriage illegal if enough people feel that way. Or do you commentators think you have the only correct worldview? Once again that tends to lead to attrocities.

    I think the best approach is to allow people to make their own choices.

  • Pingback: Here’s Why Coke is Stronger than the Government | Fooducate()

  • Pingback: Here’s Why Coke is Stronger than the Government |()