Saturday, June 22, 2013

Speech for me but not for thee

A few years back while he was either a candidate or our newly-minted 44th President, the camp of Barack Obama floated the idea of making battlefield-wounded military personnel pay for their own medical expenses as a way to help defray the costs of war in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

So repulsive and sickening was this idea, it mattered not a whit to us that it was merely a trial baloon. That violating the sacred trust that exists between this country and the men and women in our armed forces was allowed to germinate into a fully-formed thought within Team O, we have never been able to shake the contempt and disdain we hold for the character of the man and that of the people he surrounds himself to this day.

Currently before us, we have yet another big idea that though perhaps not as viscerally revolting at the gut level, certainly represents a greater threat to our Republic.

Stung by the Citizens United decision Senators Tester (D-MT) and Murphy (D-CT) are proposing a Constitutional amendment that would regulate corporate speech at the whim of Congress.

Here is the text of the amendment (via Volokh Conspiracy):

Section 1. We the people who ordain and establish this Constitution intend the rights protected by this constitution to be the rights of natural persons.

Section 2. The words people, person, or citizens as used in this Constitution do not include corporations, limited liability companies or other corporate entities established by the laws of any State, the United States, or any foreign state, and such corporate entities are subject to such regulation as the people, through their elected State and Federal representatives, deem reasonable and are otherwise consistent with the powers of Congress and the States under this Constitution.

Section 3. Nothing contained herein shall be construed to limit the people's rights of freedom of speech, freedom of the press, free exercise of religion, freedom of association and all such other rights of the people, which rights are unalienable.


Honestly can't recall ever reading more miserable dreck in our lives as Sections 1 and 3 are in complete and direct contradiction with Section 2.

Perhaps the good Senators would be pleased to know that many newspapers, churches, labor unions, non-profit political and charity organizations, etc., etc. are formed as corporations. It is the speech of these people Congress wishes to regulate? Are not these aforementioned groups merely individual people who have formed together freely as is also a constitutionally-protected right? How then can Congress lay claim to regulate the speech of multiple people as opposed to a single person?

Precisely what is it about the 1st amendment that is lost on these two?

This is what happens when statists get smacked down in court. They throw an infantile, yet Orwellian, legislative temper-tantrum with the desire to gut our first and most important amendment.

And ditching the overall narrative for a moment and getting into the nuts and bolts of the language: can anyone give us an operational definition of "deems reasonable"? The term "reasonable" in the context of its relation to Congress is tenuous at best. You would really trust Congress to behave in an impartial and august manner so as to not abuse the power they granted themselves? We didn't think so.

Not so hypothetically speaking then, we could have a situation where Congressman X objects to an ad being run in his home district by a PAC during election season and he would have the power to move forward to ban that ad. How is this a good idea?

This is precisely the opposite of what our Founders intended.

And if your argument is that we need some mechanism to get all that money out of politics, remember that all that money is merely a result of all that power that is in politics. That money is merely a method of purchasing the power that exists and continues to expand within politics and government.

We will not remove money from politics until we instead find a mechanism to remove that power from politics. Oh, wait. We do. It's called the ballot box. Unfortunately, too many of us would rather whine about Citizens United and champion idiotic legislation than doing anything constructive with respect to granting more and more power to the government.


W.C. Varones said...

Those Senators are competing with Rep. Hank "Guam will tip over" Johnson for the Dumbest on the Hill Award.

dustydog said...

I like it. Section 1 explictly states that the Constitution does not protect the rights of the states and territories. No more federalism.

Section 3's "herein" would apply to the whole Constitution, and dramatically expand the first amendment "make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof" to a right to free exercise of religion.

Section 3 would also legalize segregation and outlaw prison. The 1st amendment protects the right to peaceably assemble, but this protects "freedom of association."

Note well that the last right protected in the 1st amendment: the right to petition the Government for a redress of grievances, was intentionally omitted.