“No Man’s life liberty or property is safe while the legislature is in session”.

- attributed to NY State Judge Gideon Tucker

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Court Takes Back First Amendment Rights Congress Took Away

Whenever New York Senator Chuck Schumer complains about and is against something, you can be pretty sure that something is good for you.

In this case, that "something" was the completely unconstitutional element of the more than a decade-old McCain-Feingold campaign finance law.

The bill baselessly banned corporations (and unions) from publishing anything mentioning a candidate in a federal election within a fairly short period of time prior to said election.

Schumer and his cronies, taking the free speech-robbing law as their baseline, are screaming that the Supreme Court has erred on the side of allowing large organizations- both corporate and labor- to swamp individuals by their prospectively large influences in campaigns.

However, Fox News contributor Charles Krauthammer had it right when he explained that the court has quite simply gutted yet another attempt by Congress to suppress free speech.

Krauthammer went on to note that laws such as McCain-Feingold, while appearing to allow more weight for the individual, in fact give loosely-defined and overseen powers to federal government officials to police campaign speech. Political speech, he observed, is precisely the sort that incumbents like to muzzle. So the Supreme Court's ruling is a victory for American voters, because it removes a rather longstanding and unconstitutional attempt by Congress to control political speech in elections.

Why shouldn't corporations be allowed the same rights to political speech as persons? Corporations have interests, owners who are harmed by government, and have legitimate views which are entwined with their private property rights. Many billions of dollars of America's private property are owned via the corporate form.

Why, then, should that form, and those assets' owners be forbidden to speak out on their own behalf?

They clearly should not. Nor should unions.

In fact, if anything, the recent court decision striking down the offensive part of McCain-Feingold somewhat levels the playing field. It's well known that unions often use their funds and members in ways focused on getting out the vote and influencing elections in ways that corporations cannot match. Now, corporations are allowed to return to the political fray and provide an offset to the time, energy and money which unions like SEI, AFSCME and other liberal, Democrat-leaning labor organizations have been dumping into their chosen candidates' campaigns for years.

Rather than be misled by Schumer's lies and complaints, cheer instead for the return of an important freedom to the American political scene, and free political speech to the First Amendment.

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