In no particular order, the better to snuff out the flames erupting from some very confused heads:

  • For 75 years America has tried to sustain a twin-track First Amendment, one for electronic communication another for print. That is why the FCC did not regulate newspapers or books. Incumbent politicians continued to try to beat-back competing political speech, ie, speech not from an official government office or official, despite technological advances which moved us past the age of mass communication. This fool’s game resulted in McCain-Feingold and the FEC flirting with Internet regulation.
  • The Roberts court realized that the narrow McCain-Feingold prohibitions rested on a much broader notion that the FEC was free to ban any speech at all it deemed political if that speech were undertaken by a group of citizens — or a single citizen, in the case of a small business filing as a Subchapter S corporation for tax purposes — organized into a corporation. This power to censor extended far beyond the old mass-market notion of broadcast TV, as the FEC made clear.
  • In fact, in this case the FEC argued that were anti-Hillary movie at question a book, it would still have the power to ban it. This was the ah-ha moment for the Justices. The twin-track was gone. Speech was once again speech, with very low barriers to entry for the marketplace of ideas. Corporations no longer had a hammer-lock on one or two or five modes of mass communication, yet the FEC was reaching back to assert it had the power to control all communication of a political nature arising from individuals so organized.
  • The communications revolution also played a major role in mitigating any supposed harms arising from allowing corporations to reclaim their First Amendment rights. This is where disclosure comes in. It simply is no longer possible to hide attempts to influence elections. Reporting and disclosure requirements should be in near real time and universally accessible.
  • Special local angle shout out: To all those now aghast at the prospect of corporate money influencing elections, please supply copies of your contemporaneous denunciations of the hundreds of thousands of dollars spent by corporate entities with a direct stake in the outcome of the 2007 transit tax repeal effort or kindly shut the hell up.

In sum, if you believe in representative democracy — messy as it is with competing claims and counter-claims, bad guys and worse politicians — you are happy today. However, if you distrust the wits and motives of your fellow citizens, preferring to hand power over to unelected elites so that they might tidy things up for you, editing and censoring what you see and hear and read — too bad.