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A federal judge in New York struck down the states limits on donations to independent political action committees, or super PACs, citing prior Supreme Court decisions with which he himself disagreed.

District Judge Paul Crotty ruled that New Yorks restrictions could not overcome First Amendment scrutiny given recent Supreme Court decisions, Reuters reports, including a ruling on campaign finance earlier this month and the 2010 ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission.

We know what the Supreme Court has held, whether we like it or not, and Im bound to follow it, he said during a hearing in Manhattan federal court, according to Reuters.

The state had limited how much individuals could give super PACS, which are supposed to operate independently from a candidates campaign. A federal appeals court blocked the state from enforcing the limits in October, pending a final decision, and Crottys ruling will now allow independent super PACs in the state to raise unlimited funds.


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Federal Judge Strikes Down New Yorks Super PAC Limits

On Monday, April 28, the Court will hear oral arguments in Lane v. Franks on the First Amendment protections for a public employee who testifies in court. There are two respondents the previous and current presidents of the college in question and they disagree with each other on the First Amendment question. The Solicitor General will participate in the oral argument.


Central to the resolution of Lane v. Franks is the reach of Garcetti v. Ceballos, the Courts latest pronouncement on the First Amendment rights of public employees. Since Pickering v. Board of Education in 1968, the First Amendment has protected public employees from adverse employment actions when they are speaking as a citizen on a matter of public concern. In Garcetti, the closely divided Court held that, when public employees make statements pursuant to their official duties, such speech is not protected by the First Amendment. The employee in Garcetti was a deputy district attorney in Los Angeles who investigated a law enforcement officers affidavit in support of a search warrant and concluded it was false. The prosecutor wrote a memo recommending the case be dismissed; his supervisors not only vehemently disagreed but also allegedly retaliated against him. In an opinion by Justice Kennedy, the Court reasoned that when an employee is simply performing his or her job duties, there is no relevant analogue to speech by citizens who are not government employees.

In the eight years since Garcetti, courts have varied in their application of the doctrine. For some courts, Garcetti has seemed a broad mandate insulating public employer actions from First Amendment challenge by any employee. Other courts, however, have limited and distinguished Garcetti. The Court has denied certiorari in several closely watched cases, such as Jackler v. Byrne and Bowie v. Maddox, which both involved police officers and reached differing conclusions, arguably producing a circuit split.

The Eleventh Circuits opinion in Lane v. Franks is decidedly in the expansive mandate camp. Indeed, the opinion is a per curiam one, decided without oral argument and intended as non-precedential. In affirming the district judges grant of summary judgment to the public employer, the Eleventh Circuit described Garcetti as further restricting public employees protected speech. Relying on its own circuit precedent, including pre-Garcetti cases, the court of appeals ruled that an employee enjoys no First Amendment protection when the speech was made pursuant to his official duties, including if his speech owes its existence to the employees professional responsibilities and is a product that the employer itself has commissioned or created. This broad category included subpoenaed testimony. However, the Eleventh Circuit recognized, albeit in a footnote, that both the Seventh Circuit and Third Circuit had decided this issue differently, citing Morales v. Jones and Reilly v. City of Atlantic City.

Even as related by the Eleventh Circuit, however, the circumstances giving rise to Lane v. Franks paint a troubling picture of retaliation for a public employees failure to cooperate with political corruption and his resulting testimony. In 2006, soon after Edward Lane became the director of a program for at-risk youth at Central Alabama Community College (CACC), he looked at the programs finances. He discovered that an Alabama state representative, Suzanne Schmitz, was listed on the payroll. He also discovered she had never performed any work for the program. Edward Lane raised his concerns about Schmitz, but he was warned by the CACC president (a predecessor to respondent Steve Franks) and CACCs lawyer that terminating Schmitzs employment could have negative repercussions for both Lane and CACC. Nevertheless, Lane did terminate Suzanne Schmitz after she refused to report to work. Schmitz told another program employee that she planned to get [Lane] back for terminating her and that, if he requested money from the state legislature, she would tell him youre fired. The FBI began investigating Suzanne Schmitz and contacted Edward Lane for information. Lane testified before a federal grand jury and pursuant to a subpoena he testified at Schmitzs two federal criminal trials for mail fraud and fraud involving a program receiving federal funds. Schmitz was ultimately convicted, although a divided Eleventh Circuit panel reversed her convictions on some of the counts.

Lane was terminated after his testimony at the first criminal trial. In January 2009, Franks who had become president of CACC terminated the twenty-nine employees of the at-risk youth program, but soon rescinded the termination of all the employees except Lane and one other. Whether Franks terminated Lane due to Lanes testimony against Schmitz remains unresolved; an essential issue in the Supreme Court is whether it needs to be.

Arguments and analysis

The primary question before the Court is whether the Eleventh Circuit was correct in holding that Lanes testimony was categorically unprotected by the First Amendment, although there is also a secondary issue of whether Franks is entitled to qualified immunity from an award for damages.

There is little support for a straightforward affirmance of the Eleventh Circuit opinion on the First Amendment issue. Lane is not the only one to argue that the Eleventh Circuits categorical exclusion of First Amendment protection for subpoenaed testimony is incorrect: the Solicitor General, representing the United States as an amicus, agrees with him. More unusually, the Alabama attorney general Alabama representing respondent Susan Burrow, the current acting president of CACC also agrees that the Eleventh Circuit was incorrect to conclude that Lanes testimony was categorically unprotected by the First Amendment. Additionally, almost all of the amicus briefs agree with this position, including one from the National Association of Police Organizations, which is perhaps not surprising given that so many of the similar cases involve persons employed in law enforcement.

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Argument preview: First Amendment protections for public employees subpoenaed testimony

Amend The Second Amendment?
More gun rights videos at Former US Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens on ABC's “This Week with George Stephanopoulos” explained h…

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Amend The Second Amendment? – Video

Justice John Paul Stevens on the Second Amendment
In his new book “Six Amendments: How and Why We Should Change the Constitution,” retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens spoke to Judy Woodruff about…

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Justice John Paul Stevens on the Second Amendment – Video

Political activists decry effort to squelch free speech for campaigns

By Joan Biskupic, Reuters

WASHINGTON U.S. Supreme Court justices across the ideological spectrum voiced doubts on Tuesday about a state law that prohibits false statements during a political campaign.

The Ohio law allows candidates and other citizens to file a complaint for allegedly false slogans, prompting a state election commission hearing and public scrutiny of advocacy groups or individuals claims in the middle of a campaign.

Justice Anthony Kennedy, a Republican appointee, speculated that calling in a groups leaders to justify what (theyre) going to say could impinge on free speech rights under the U.S. Constitutions First Amendment. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a Democratic appointee, observed that simply being forced to defend an advertisement could be costly and diminish speech at a crucial point in a campaign.

The case began with an pro-life advocacy groups provocative claim that a Democratic congressmans vote for President Barack Obamas health care law, known as Obamacare, was a vote to fund abortions, and his attempt to set the record straight.

At its broadest, the dispute tests political speech rights. It has drawn a diverse array of politically active groups who say the government should not try to squelch campaign speech, even when it is audacious and far from the truth.

But the narrow question before the nine justices on Tuesday was whether an organization may challenge a law that arguably suppresses free speech when it is not clear the organization would face prosecution under the law.

The courts answer and wider reverberations from the dispute could affect the kind of political advertising seen in campaigns ahead of Novembers congressional elections. A ruling might also illuminate the coverage for false statements under the First Amendment.

In 2012, the Supreme Court struck down a U.S. law that made it a crime to lie about military honors, but the justices splintered in their speech-rights rationale in that case, United States v. Alvarez.

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U.S. Supreme Court hears challenge to ban on false campaign speech

John Paul Stevens, who retired from the Supreme Court in 2010, has come up with a plan to change the Second Amendment to the Constitution, which he says would better reflect what the Founders intended. The Second Amendment has become highly controversial lately, as it spells out the right of Americans to bear arms.

Stevens, 94, is promoting his new book, Six Amendments: How and Why We Should Change the Constitution, in which he outlines his proposed changes to the Constitution. However, his suggestions for the Second Amendment are getting the most attention. He suggests that the amendment be changed to read the right of the people to keep and bear Arms when serving in the Militia shall not be infringed.

In an interview with ABC News, Stevens said that the Founders did not intend on allowing individual citizens to bear arms, but rather state militias. That would be in contradiction of the 2008 Supreme Court decision in District of Columbia v. Heller.

Still, Stevens understands that a complete ban of individuals owning arms is remote because of the powerful gun lobby, which is able to take care of itself in the democratic debates which would continue with my amendment. His idea would merely prevent arguments being made that Congress doesnt have the power to do what they think is in the best public interest.

According to CBS Washington, Stevens also suggested that gerrymandering – the process of redrawing district lines for political purposes – should be unconstitutional. It doesnt take a genius to say theres something fishy about these districts, he said.

Another comment from Stevens that is getting attention is that politics could be considered when a judge retires, although he said that his own retirement was not politically motivated. My decision was not made for any political reason whatsoever. It was my concern about my own health, Stevens said.

ABC US News | ABC Business News

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Retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens suggests change to Second Amendment

Supreme Court Gun Carry Rights; Drake v. Jerejian, Pending petition
Drake v. Jerejian, Pending petition Issue: (1) Whether the Second Amendment secures a right to carry handguns outside the home for self-defense; and (2) whet…

By: Hawaii Volcano Squad

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Supreme Court Gun Carry Rights; Drake v. Jerejian, Pending petition – Video

B. Scott arrives to the 25th Annual GLAAD in Los Angeles in April 2014.

FORTUNE — In August 2013, transgender television personality B. Scott filed a suit against Black Entertainment Television and its parent company Viacom Inc., claiming that the network had discriminated against him based on his gender identity and sexual orientation.

The lawsuit stemmed from Scott’s appearance as a style correspondent at the 2013 BET awards preshow. After his first segment of the night, in which he appeared with heavy makeup and heels, the network told him to tone down his look and change into masculine clothing that was “different from the androgynous style he’s used to … and comfortable with,” according to the complaint.

A Los Angeles Superior Court judge decided the case Wednesday, and it came down to theFirst Amendment; not Scott’s freedom to speech and expression, but Viacom’s (VIA).The court found that BET’s decision as to how Scott would appear on camera was part of the network’s creative process of developing and broadcasting the show, which is protected by the First Amendment.

MORE:Americans have fallen in love with real estate once again

The case is by no means the first in which a media company has used the First Amendment as a defenseagainst lawsuits alleging discrimination. The order on Thursday cites several other instances.

There was the racial discrimination case against ABC for its failure to feature non-white contestants on The Bachelorand The Bachelorette. A federal district court in Tennessee dismissed the matter after finding that “casting decisions are a necessary component of any entertainment show’s creative content.” The court said that “the plaintiffs seek to drive an artificial wedge between casting decisions and the end product, which itself is indisputably protected as speech by the First Amendment.”

And there was the lawsuit filed against Warner Bros. by a former writers’ assistant for the television show Friendswho asserted that the use of sexually coarse and vulgar language and conduct by the show’s writers constituted sexual harassment. The Supreme Court of California in that case held that “the First Amendment protects creativity.”

The case thatheld greatestprecedent is a matter in which a group of gay, lesbian, and bisexual Irish Americans sought to participate in Boston’s St. Patrick’s Day parade. The U.S. Supreme Court, which ultimately heard the case, ruled that it would be a violation of the First Amendment for Massachusetts to require private citizens “who organize a parade to include among the marchers a group imparting a message the organizers do not wish to convey.”

The defendants in these cases arguedthat they didn’t care what their employees or participants are in reality — gay, straight, male, female — but rather how they appear. “They say, ‘We are entitled to create a program that looks the way we want it to look,’” says Eugene Volokh, a professor at UCLA School of Law. And the courts have agreed with them.

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To kill bias suits, companies lean on the First Amendment

Changing The Second Amendment
If retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens had his way; five words would be added to the Second Amendment, which would dramatically change its meanin…

By: James Burns

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Changing The Second Amendment – Video

WASHINGTON (AP) The legality of government surveillance is likely to come before the Supreme Court someday, and Justices Antonin Scalia and Ruth Bader Ginsburg appear less than thrilled at the prospect.

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2 long-time friends discuss the First Amendment

At 10 a.m. next Tuesday, the Supreme Court continues its current fascination with free speech and the First Amendment, exploring at a one-hour hearing when an advocacy group can challengea restriction on election campaign rhetoric. Arguing for two advocacy groups in Susan B. Anthony List v. Driehaus will be Michael A. Carvin of the Washington, D.C., office of Jones Day, withtwenty minutes of time. If the Court, as expected, permits the federal government to join in the argument, its views will be represented by Eric J. Feigin, an Assistant to the U.S. Solicitor General, with ten minutes. Ohios lawyer at the lectern, with thirty minutes, will be Ohio Solicitor Eric E. Murphy of Columbus.


The attack ad, often used to shamea candidate in an effort to persuade voters, is as common in todays political campaigns as buttons, town hall meetings, andendorsements. But it is not routine for the government to try to police those ads. The state of Ohio and some fifteen others try to do so, however, and that has helped produce the latest First Amendment case for a Supreme Court that currently has a keen interest inthat amendment, especially in campaign settings.

In all of the history of the First Amendment, theCourt has never ruled that false statements are totally without protection under the Constitution. It made the point again (although in a somewhat uncertain ruling that lackeda clear majority) in the decision two years ago in United States v. Alvarez, which took most of the punch out of a federal law making it a federal crime to falsely claim that one had received a military medal. That, too, involved political speech.

But if a group or an individual wants to challenge a law that outlaws speech, how and when is it allowed togo to courtto claim the protection ofthe First Amendment?That is the issue the Court faces next week, in the first case to reach it in which opposition to the new federal health care law became a campaign issue.

When the House of Representatives in 2010 gave its final approval to the Affordable Care Act (now known widely in politics as Obamacare), one of theDemocrats voting for it was Rep. Steven Driehaus, representing an Ohio district that included Cincinnati and its suburbs. Later that year, he campaigned for reelection, but was defeated.

An advocacy group that is opposed to abortions, the Susan B. Anthony List, made an arrangement to put up a billboard in Driehauss district that would proclaim: Shame on Steve Driehaus! Driehaus voted FOR taxpayer-funded abortion. It also aired radio broadcasts with the same message. The billboard never went up, because the company owning the space backed down when a lawyer for the congressman threatened to sue, claiming the message misrepresented his vote.

Driehaus soon pursued a complaint with the Ohio ElectionsCommission, which has the power to recommend prosecution for violations of a state truth-in-politics law. That law has two key provisions:it prohibits anyone from trying to influence voters by intentionally making a false statement about a candidates voting record, and it prohibits the distribution of any false statement about a candidate if the source knew it was false or didnt care whether it was true or false.

The state commission, in a preliminary vote, sided with Driehaus, but before any prosecution by state officials went forward, Driehaus was defeated for reelection, and his complaint was dismissed by the commission at his request.

Susan B. Anthony List then sued in federal court,seeking to strike down the law under the First Amendment. It sued Driehaus and the state commission, along with its members. Thatcase was joined with one filed by an anti-tax group, the Coalition Opposed to Additional Spending and Taxes, which had wanted to send out emails and other materials also attacking Driehaus for allegedly voting for tax-supported abortion. That group said it had held off sending out its messages because it knew of the commission action on Driehauss complaint, and was deterred from speaking out.

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Argument preview: Attack ads and the First Amendment

Published: Monday, April 14, 2014 at 11:39 AM.

In eliminating yet another federal limit on campaign contributions, the U.S. Supreme Court on April 2 reaffirmed the principle that money is political speech and, therefore, protected under the First Amendment.

That notion enrages those who view dollars spent on politics as a threat to democracy. Indeed, although the courts 5-4 decision in McCutcheon v. FEC struck down a relatively obscure law that limited the total amount an individual can contribute to various federal campaigns over a two-year campaign cycle, critics treated it as the death knell of the republic and a harbinger of the coming oligarchy.

All that rending of garments is over the fact that now a donor can give $5,200 to any number of candidates for federal office, instead of just nine as if 10 represented a tipping point.

At the core of the McCutcheon decision is a debate over corruption vs. influence. The courts majority narrowly defines the former, while the dissenting minority seeks to conflate the two.

Chief Justice John Roberts, writing for the majority, argues that the court has identified only one legitimate governmental interest for restricting campaign finances: preventing corruption or the appearance of corruption, and that the only type of corruption Congress may target is quid pro quo corruption.

In his dissent, Justice Stephen Breyer argues that the definition of corruption should be expanded to include influence over or access to elected officials. But influencing government is a fundamental American freedom, expressed in the First Amendments guarantees of free speech and the right to petition. Indeed, the court has repeatedly ruled that political speech, as opposed to other kinds (such as obscenity), is the primary object of First Amendment protection, and thus held to the highest scrutiny of government interference.

In the case of McCutcheon, Breyer and the other dissenters would uphold laws that restrict an individual citizens ability to influence politics by capping the number of campaigns he can contribute to, but which would allow media organizations unlimited opportunities to opine. Roberts hit on this possibility when he wrote, the Government may no more restrict how many candidates or causes a donor may support than it may tell a newspaper how many candidates it may endorse.

There is a better way to reduce the role Big Money plays in politics, without encroaching on the First Amendment: Give it less to influence.

The increase in the number of lobbying and advocacy groups and the money they spend coincides with the growth of the regulatory state. The more aspects of our lives government attempts to control, the more those affected will seek to influence those decisions as is their constitutional right.

More here:
Editorial: A government not worth influencing

A sharply divided U.S. Supreme Court recently invalidated another campaign-finance restriction on First Amendment grounds in McCutcheon v. FEC.

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David Hudson: Campaign finance limits hit

The story Mozilla CEO resignation raises free-speech issues [Business / Technology, April 5] brings up interesting issues.

Mozilla co-founder Brendan Eich stepped down Thursday as chief executive, just days after his appointment. He left the nonprofit maker of the Firefox browser after furious attacks, largely on Twitter, over his $1,000 contribution to support of a now-overturned 2008 gay marriage ban.

The liberals got angry, the boss resigned, and now conservatives are demanding a boycott of the Firefox browser. Everybody is upset. Both sides are demonstrating their outrage by boycotting or threatening to boycott the company.

So, is it a wise career strategy for a CEO to contribute to political campaigns? Recently the Supreme Court has protected such donations as free speech. But just because donations are protected does it spare the CEO any criticism? No. Free speech goes both ways.

The ultimate decision before writing a political check is: How will this hurt my business? If a CEO is the face of a company, maybe he or she should think twice about supporting lightning-rod social issues.

For those of us who do not have the money to sway elections, our only free speech resource is a boycott.

Lucia Regan, Seattle

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Mozilla: CEOs should think twice before donating to hot-button issues

Attorney Legal Analyst AnneElise Goetz on Free Speech and Campaign Contributions
Free speech, The Bill of Rights and campaign contributions. The political shackles have been lifted from the First Amendment. The United States Supreme Court…

By: The Daily Ledger

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Attorney & Legal Analyst AnneElise Goetz on Free Speech and Campaign Contributions – Video

Supreme Court Refuses To Hear New Mexico Religious Freedom Case The Kelly File -World Latest News
The worlds best compensation plan 25 Day Study Finally Reaches Monthly Income $ 5000 will Sign up for free: Ev…

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Supreme Court Refuses To Hear New Mexico Religious Freedom Case The Kelly File -World Latest News – Video

Press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) continued his fight to restore the Second Amendment rights of his constituents in Albany by pushing for a repeal of the SAFE Act. Hawley helped force a vote on legislation he co-sponsors (A.6238) in the Assembly Codes Committee, which unfortunately was unsuccessful. While vowing to continue fighting to repeal the SAFE Act, Hawley noted that his bill was defeated by downstate, New York City interests.

I am working hard with my colleagues who cherish the Second Amendment to see the rights enshrined by it restored. We got a vote on legislation that would repeal the SAFE Act, but it was unfortunately voted down by downstate Assembly liberals, said Hawley. They voted to put honest, law-abiding people in jail for exercising their constitutional right to bear arms and protect their families. Their actions have only strengthened my resolve to stand up for the good people of Western New York who should be enjoying their full Second Amendment rights.

As long as the Assembly is controlled by downstate liberals, Hawley recognizes that repeal through legislative means is likely dead on arrival. However, he is hopeful that a lawsuit working its way through the court system will find the SAFE Act unconstitutional when it arrives at the Supreme Court. In the meantime, Hawley vows to continue doing his part to restore the Second Amendment through outspoken advocacy and organizing fellow Second-Amendment enthusiasts.

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Hawley continues push to repeal SAFE Act

C-SPAN Cities Tour – Bend: James Foster “Bong Hits 4 Jesus”
Learn about Morse v. Frederick, the Supreme Court case that tackled free speech in an American high school from James Foster, a political science professor a…


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C-SPAN Cities Tour – Bend: James Foster "Bong Hits 4 Jesus" – Video

THE U.S. Supreme Courts decision in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission was only out a few minutes before elected officials and campaign-finance reformers began condemning it as another disastrous step toward an American oligarchy.

But Americans should not be alarmed by the ruling. The decision is consistent with the First Amendment and with Americas long tradition of unrestricted political speech.

The case concerned a federal law that restricted how many candidates or political committees a donor could support with a maximum campaign contribution.

Shaun McCutcheon, the plaintiff in the case, contributed the maximum amount to 16 federal candidates, but the law made it a crime for him to contribute a single cent more to another candidate. He sued, arguing that the law violated his First Amendment right to support the candidates of his choice.

In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court agreed.

The laws demise will have little practical effect. Donors rarely reached the aggregate limit. According to a statement by the Federal Election Commission, only 646 donors reached the biennial limit of $123,200 in 2012. The additional contributions the decision permits will still be subject to limits on how much money someone can contribute to an individual candidate. Moreover, the laws regulating Washington state elections do not have this kind of aggregate limit.

Opponents of the decision argue that it is still wrong, based mainly on slogans like money isnt speech and an ill-founded concern that treating financial contributions as protected under the First Amendment will allow billionaires to buy democracy or drown out the voices of speakers with less money.

In a narrow sense, these opponents are correct about one thing: Money is not speech. But money enables speech, and that is why the right to make political contributions is protected by the First Amendment.

This is an enormous and heavily populated country. The Puget Sound region alone is home to 3 million people. In order to communicate with voters and for voters to hear from candidates, it takes money.

Try publishing a book, making a video or printing a flyer without spending one penny. It cannot be done. This means that if the government can restrict how much money one can spend in disseminating a political message, it can effectively silence any speech that carries beyond the sound of your voice.

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Guest: Supreme Court McCutcheon ruling protects political speech

Last week the Supreme Court overturned federal limits on the total amounts that one person may contribute to candidates and political committees during a single election cycle. The government may no more restrict how many candidates or causes a donor may support than it may tell a newspaper how many candidates it may endorse, the court declared in an opinion by Chief Justice John Roberts.

But according to Justice Stephen Breyer, who wrote a dissenting opinion that was joined by three of his colleagues, the restrictions challenged in McCutcheon v. FEC are perfectly compatible with the First Amendment, which advances not only the individuals right to engage in political speech, but also the publics interest in preserving a democratic order in which collective speech matters.

The idea that individual rights must be sacrificed for the sake of a vaguely defined collective interest reflects the dangerously broad agenda of campaign-finance reformers, who seek to shape the political debate so that it comports with their own notion of the public good.

Preventing corruption is the traditional justification for limits on campaign donations. As you might expect given his nebulous aim of preserving a democratic order in which collective speech matters, Breyer favors a broad definition of corruption, including not just quid pro quo bribery (such as agreeing to vote for a bill in exchange for a donation) but also undue influence. While everyone understands what bribery entails, undue influence is in the eye of the beholder. On the day McCutcheon was argued, for instance, President Obama worried that it would exacerbate a problem created by the Supreme Courts 2010 decision in Citizens United v. FEC, which lifted restrictions on political speech by unions and corporations. The problem, according to Obama: too much speech of the wrong sort.

You have some ideological extremist who has a big bankroll, and they can entirely skew our politics, Obama complained. There are a whole bunch of members of Congress right now who privately will tell you, I know our positions are unreasonable, but were scared that if we dont go along with the Tea Party agenda or some particularly extremist agenda that well be challenged from the right. And the threats are very explicit, and so they toe the line. And thats part of why weve seen a breakdown of just normal, routine business done here in Washington on behalf of the American people.

In short, Obama thinks Citizens United was devastating (as he called it a few days after the case was decided) because it freed his opponents to criticize him and interfered with business as usual in Washington. Many Americans would see those as advantages.

In any case, its clear that Obama views campaign-finance regulation as a way of managing the political debate and keeping it from becoming too extremist, a rationale the court has never endorsed and one that is totally at odds with the First Amendments command that Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech.

Similarly, the editorial board of The New York Times, which decries the distorting power of money on American elections, cites the broad ideological change sought by the Koch brothers as a reason to keep the aggregate caps on campaign contributions. To equate the ability of billionaires to buy elections with freedom of speech is totally absurd, Rep. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) opines, while Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) bemoans the undue influence of special interests and Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) complains that the Supreme Court has chosen to pour even more money into our process and our politics.

As self-financed candidates periodically discover, you cant really buy elections. Even if a candidate is interested only in gaining and retaining power, he has to convince voters he is worthy of their trust.

The undue influence that worries Breyer, Obama, Sanders, McCain and Pelosi is ultimately based on the power of speech to persuade a power Congress is forbidden to regulate.

Continued here:
Free speech vs. protecting rights of collective speech

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