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Friday, July 15, 2011

The Hatch act, in light of the Citizens United decision, is overdue for review by the SCOTUS. Surely if a legal entity such as a corporation has the same statue as a human being, a real human working for the government should have those same rights. Enacted in 1939, the Hatch Act makes it all but impossible for government employees to take part in our democracy at any level. Do you wash windows at the courthouse? Well then it is illegal for you to run for water commissioner. Are you a climatologist working for NOAA? Then you can't volunteer to work on the campaign of a candidate who understands the science of climate change. Makes a lot of sense, doesn't it. According to Wikipedia the following are forbidden to governmental employees:
  • be candidates for public office in partisan elections
  • campaign for or against a candidate or slate of candidates in partisan elections
  • make campaign speeches
  • collect contributions or sell tickets to political fund raising functions
  • distribute campaign material in partisan elections
  • organize or manage political rallies or meetings
  • hold office in political clubs or parties
  • circulate nominating petitions
  • work to register voters for one party only
  • wear political buttons at work
The Hatch Act of 1939 is a vestigial law left over from the days of political bosses and closed media. It was written in reaction to abuses during the New Deal. Modern federal contracting practices would not allow any great number of officials to abuse the system anymore. The SCOTUS must quash the Hatch Act just to be fair to real humans.

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