by Locker Room contributor
Americans for Limited Government write, “Roberts Court Strikes Down Twin Pillars of Censorship”:
The first blow was delivered in the Wisconsin Right to Life v. Federal Elections Commission (2009) case. In that case, the so-called ?influencing language? standard whereby any speech that might ?influence? elections (even simple issues ads) could be regulated was struck down.
Chief Justice Roberts, writing the majority opinion, stated, ?We conclude that the speech at issue in this as-applied challenge is not the ?functional equivalent? of express campaign speech. We further conclude that the interests held to justify restricting corporate campaign speech or its functional equivalent do not justify restricting issue advocacy, and accordingly we hold that BCRA ?203 is unconstitutional as applied to the advertisements at issue in these cases.?
Famously, Roberts also wrote, ?Discussion of issues cannot be suppressed simply because the issues may also be pertinent in an election. Where the First Amendment is implicated, the tie goes to the speaker, not the censor.? As applied to issue ads that might influence the elections, those were then protected speech. It narrowed the FEC mandate to ?express advocacy.?
And now, in Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission, the ?appearance of corruption? excuse to regulate ?express advocacy,? whereby any donations and expenditures that might lead to the ?possibility? of corruption have now been similarly struck down by the Roberts Court.
This is monumental. All that remains within the FEC mandate is ?express advocacy? expenditures resulting in actual corruption. Identifying both the ?influencing language? and ?appearance of corruption? standards, ALG President Bill Wilson said they had now been consigned to the dustbin of history: These ?twin pillars of censorship… have now been struck down by the Roberts Court.?
The Citizens United ruling has especially sent the censorial Left around the bend; I would love to read the transcript of Keith Olbermann going apoplectic even by his standards, ranting about it returning us all to slavery and murdering democracy and having Wal-Mart select our candidates. It was high comedy last night.
The losers of Citizens United, Public Citizen, now wants to do something about that awful, awful First Amendment – amend it!