22 January 2010

Supreme Court Rules In Favor Of The 1st Amendment, Finally

NRO has started doing a number of daily emails, one of which I highlighted yesterday--Jonah Goldberg's The Goldberg File.

NRO's Jim Geraghty, better known for his coverage of elections, has started something called Morning Jolt. Whatever you think of the respective names of these daily email newsletters, the content is pretty good.

For instance, here's Geraghty's survey of reactions to yesterday's SCOTUS ruling which strikes down key parts of McCain-Feingold (good riddance) and strengthens the 1st Amendment.
AP: "The 5-4 ruling by the Supreme Court Thursday overturned a 20-year-old ruling that said companies and other outside groups can be prohibited from paying for ads to back or oppose a federal candidate." The guys at Cato are thrilled: "In short, the Citizens United decision has strengthened both the First Amendment and American democracy."

Most conservatives were pretty cheery about the decision; generally on the right folks conclude that you can't restrict political spending without restricting political speech, and if the First Amendment is supposed to mean anything, it's supposed to protect your God-given right to declare as loudly and widely as you want that those who govern you stink to high Heaven. Otherwise, you end up with a First Amendment that somehow protects lap dances but not political advertising close to an election.

Ed Morrissey: "In the first challenges to the BCRA (McCain-Feingold), the earlier court appeared to accept the notion that one has to break a few First Amendment eggs to get a clean-elections omelet. This court has apparently decided that Congress should amend the First Amendment if it has grown tired of it, rather than pass laws that contradict it. The fact that only five of the nine justices could reach that rather obvious conclusion shows how much judicial activism and Congressional overreach have in common -- especially the sense that they can manipulate clear boundaries of power for whatever end they seek."

Michelle Malkin: "Yes, unions will benefit from the ruling and spend more money. But sunlight is the best disinfectant. Full, transparent, accessible disclosure is the ultimate campaign finance reform. As for viewing the decision through the 'political plus' lens: I don't. The Constitution matters more than electoral consequences. Too bad more in Washington don't see it that way."

"With its ruling today, the Supreme Court has given a green light to a new stampede of special interest money in our politics," declared President Obama, who was elected with the assistance of hundreds of millions of dollars in donations from unions, trial lawyers, Hollywood, academia, Goldman Sachs, and environmentalists. Despite what you might think from that opening sentence, he disapproves of the decision.

At Bench Memos, Bradley Smith makes short work of the legislative responses introduced by Rep. Alan Grayson, the Floridian who represents Daily Kos in Congress: "That these proposals are clearly unconstitutional doesn't matter much to Mr. Grayson, who only has eleven months left in Congress to make his reputation and gain that slot guest hosting for Keith Olbermann. It's highly doubtful they could ever pass, anyway."

Caleb Howe watches Olbermann so we don't have to, and he finds Keith saying that the Supreme Court decision on campaign finance was "worse than slavery."
Anyone else shocked Keith Olbermann still has a job?

If you have tips, questions, comments or suggestions, email me at lybberty@gmail.com.