Friday, April 20, 2012

Some folks still having real difficulties with that "freedom of speech" thing in the Constitution

(ed. note: Blogger has introduced some new formatting that we are not fans of so we apologize in advance for the "look" of our posts. We hope to figure it all out and conquer this learning curve as quickly as possible)
Forever, seemingly, butt-hurt over the Citizens United decision, Democrats have taken a new tack in combatting all that evil corporate money that has invaded politics: Amending the 1st amendment. Of course, for a challenge this daunting as well as hopelessly insipid, they have chosen as their point person none other than that glittering jewel of colossal ignorance, House minority leader, Nancy Pelosi.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi on Thursday endorsed a movement announced by other congressional Democrats on Wednesday to ratify an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would allow Congress to regulate political speech when it is engaged in by corporations as opposed to individuals.
Pelosi said the Democrats' effort to amend the Constitution is part of a three-pronged strategy that also includes promoting the DISCLOSE Act, which would increase disclosure requirements for organizations running political ads, and “reducing the roll of money in campaigns” (which some Democrats have said can be done through taxpayer funding of campaigns).
The constitutional amendment the Democrats seek would reverse the Supreme Court’s 2010 decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. In that decision the court said that the First Amendment protects a right of free speech for corporations as well as for individuals, and that corporations (including those that produce newspapers, films and books) have a right to speak about politicians and their records just as individuals do.
Sorry. The founders got it right. Better to make freedom of speech as universal as possible and cast as wide a net as possible than to open it up to too much interpretation whereby exceptions are made based solely upon political whim. That's extremely dangerous territory upon which you are treading when you start inserting clauses like "... except for corporations or entities as deemed such by Congress." Think we are being a little too paranoid, here?
“In Citizens United, what the court said is that Congress has no authority to regulate this kind of political speech,” said Edwards. “And so all of these constitutional amendments go to this question of giving Congress the authority that the Supreme Court, I think wrongly, decided isn't within Congress's constitutional--our constitutional purview.
“And so, you know, the traditional rights of free speech that we have known as citizens would not be disturbed by any of these constitutional amendments,” said Edwards. “But what it would do is it would say, all of the speech in which, whether it's corporations or campaign committees and others engage in, would be able to be fully regulated under the authority of the Congress and--and under our Constitution.”
(italics, totally ours) Eh, what could possibly go wrong? What could go wrong was laid out in the Citizens United case:
In 2009, when the Supreme Court first heard oral arguments in the Citizens United case, Deputy Solicitor General Malcolm Stewart told the court that the administration believed the Constitution allowed the government to ban a corporation from using its general treasury funds to publish a book if the book advocated voting for something.
"Take my hypothetical," Chief Justice John Roberts said to Stewart as he asked him about what kind of books the Obama administration believed it could constitutionally ban, "... This [book] is a discussion of the American political system, and at the end it says: Vote for X."
"Yes," said Deputy Solicitor General Stewart, "our position would be that the corporation would be required to use PAC funds rather than general treasury funds."
Roberts followed up: "And if they didn't, you could ban it?"
"If they didn't, we could prohibit the publication of the book using corporate treasury funds," Stewart answered.
(again, italics ours) A legislative body that has been part and parcel to this country facing a $16 trillion dollar debt and which has succeeded in making hash of our health care system and which half of said body has not bothered to pass a budget in over three years is now going to get into the business of what we can and cannot say?
Free speech as defined by election cycles is not free speech by any rational standard.
It's not just a presidential election coming up here in November. Fortunately, in this post-constitutional republic of ours we still have the means to put an electoral cap in the asses of these anti-democratic enemies of free speech and elect in defenders of the very first things our founding fathers saw fit to put into writing as the most sacred of all our rights. Can we please make this happen?

6 comments:

B-Daddy said...

"Glittering jewel of colossal ignorance." C'est le bon mot du jour. I had to stop reading the article for a while, I was laughing so hard.

Doo Doo Econ said...

We had better not underestimate the power of those in power to push an agenda.

Secular Apostate said...

Off topic: You know, when I watched the video, I was struck by the thought that Nancy needs to find a better brand of denture adhesive. Her teeth seemed to be a little loose.

drozz said...

"fairness" and "freedom of speech" are just words to the left.

just another form of control.

drozz said...

dean-look for the settings tab (shaped like a gear) while you are in blogger. if you click on it and scroll down you can revert blogger to the old interface.

Unknown said...

It's important.
http://www.youtube.com/KCPorg