Saturday, January 23, 2010

Corporations Have First Ammendment Rights Also

Last week's 5-4 Supreme Court ruling on the Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission stuck down a blanket prohibition on corporate political speech at the federal level.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
This decision restores freedom of political speech at the federal level that has been denied for decades.

This will not allows corporations to fund individual federal candidates, rather it allows them spend money advocating issues, positions and candidates including producing movies against candidates like Citizens United did with their anti-Hillary movie in 2008 that make this ruling possible.

The courts have provided less protection to core political speech than it has to Internet pornography, the transmission of stolen information, flag burning, commercial advertising, topless dancing, and burning a cross outside an African-American church.

In the dissent, Justice Stevens wrote "the common sense of the American people, who have recognized a need to prevent corporations from undermining self government."

Just because we have always been doing something that violates the Constitution does not mean we need to continue doing it.

The reason the left is in uproar over this is because it now means there are other options to confront the likes of Acorn, Chicago-style politicking, the New York Times. The left is all in favor of free speech, provided it works in their behalf. When the playing field is level, panic ensues.

The dissenters feel this will result in more election corruption (than already exists) -- that only the largest companies will dictate the political discourse. They use populous talking points -- oil, insurance, wall street, and large multi-nationals will buy elections. There is no doubt more money will be spent but there is no evidence saying the result will be negative.

Today, over half of the states allow corporate expenditures in state campaigns. There is no evidence that corruption is the rule in these states.

What would be prudent is to make sure that immediate, full disclosure be made of who give what and when.

The Constitution wins, like it should. The public agrees that campaign money is free speech and so do I.

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