Filed under: Law, Politics, Progressivism, The Constitution | Tags: Democrat Lies/Dirty Tricks, Freedom of Speech, Supreme Court
The Supreme Court handed down a major decision in Citizens United v. FEC, the “Hillary: The Movie” case that was first argued last March, reargued in September, and finally decided last Thursday, January 21, 2010.
Background: During the 2008 election campaign, the nonprofit group Citizens United wanted to make a film available on cable-on-demand that was critical of then-candidate Hillary Clinton. Because Citizens United is organized as a corporation, under the McCain-Feingold campaign-finance law, its speech was banned. The movie was not allowed to be shown, and the law was backed by criminal sanctions. Section 441b makes it a felony for all corporations — including nonprofit advocacy corporations — either to expressly advocate the election or defeat of candidates or to broadcast electioneering communications within 30 days of a primary and 60 days of a general election.
Citizens United challenged this ban, and the Supreme Court struck down this provision of McCain-Feingold , reversing a previous ruling — Austin v. Michigan Chamber of Commerce —that permitted the government to ban corporations and labor unions from promoting or opposing political candidates.
Paul Sherman, an attorney with the Institute for Justice, which litigates free-speech cases nationwide points out:
The ruling in Citizens United is a straightforward application of basic First Amendment principles: “When Government seeks to use its full power…to command where a person may get his or her information or what distrusted source he or she may not hear, it uses censorship to control thought. This is unlawful. The First Amendment confirms the freedom to think for ourselves.”
The Democrats are OUTRAGED: Corporations are not entitled to free speech, political expenditures are not “speech”, protections of the Free Speech Clause properly apply to individuals not corporations, this will corrupt the democratic process, will radically increase powerful corporate influence in politics, blah, blah, blah. Democrats are afraid that corporations benefit Republicans, and free speech should not apply to anyone who might be critical of Democrats.
The First Amendment is about political speech, and if free speech only applies to speech that is pleasing to you, then it isn’t free, and it isn’t freedom — but tyranny. You might find it interesting to keep track of the numerous and constant efforts of the Democrats to stifle speech that they don’t like. For example, President Obama’s ban on Fox News continues.
Just watch. There will be a concerted effort on the part of the Democrats to overturn or overrule this decision. The “Democrats” aren’t much on Democracy, the Constitution (needs updating for modern times), especially the First Amendment — although that religion part is useful for getting rid of religious influences. They’re fairly fond of the “establishment” bit but always, always, ignore the — making no law that might “prohibit the free exercise thereof” part.
Progressives are passionately fond of larger government, the growth of government, and the exercise of lots of government power. The Constitution puts some firm limits on what government can and cannot do. They don’t like that.