Is Chief Justice Roberts Wiser Than Ben (“It’s All About The Benjamins”) Franklin?

Chief Justice John Roberts, just the other day (McCutcheon v. FEC): “We have said that government regulation may not target the general gratitude a candidate may feel toward those who support him or his allies, or the political access such support may afford.  ‘Ingratiation and access…are not corruption’ [quoting the 2010 Citizens United opinion].”

Benjamin Franklin, Speech at the Constitutional Convention on the Subject of Salaries, June 2, 1787: “Sir, there are two Passions which have a powerful Influence in the Affairs of Men.  These are Ambition and Avarice; the Love of Power and the Love of Money.  Separately, each of these has great Force in prompting Men to Action; but when united in View of the same Object, they have in many Minds the most violent Effects.  Place before the Eyes of such Men a Post of Honour, that shall at the same time be a Place of Profit, and they will move Heaven and Earth to obtain it….And of what kind are the men that will strive for this profitable Preeminence, thro’ all the Bustle of Cabal, the Heat of Contention, the infinite mutual abuse of Parties, tearing to Pieces the best of Characters?  It will not be the wise and moderate, the Lovers of Peace and good Order… It will be the Bold and the Violent, the men of strong Passions and indefatigable Activity in their selfish Pursuits. These will thrust themselves into your Government, and be your Rulers.  And these, too, will be mistaken in the expected Happiness of their Situation; for their vanquish’d competitors, of the same Spirit, and from the same Motives, will perpetually be endeavouring to distress their Administration, thwart their Measures, and render them odious to the People.”

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