Free Markets, Free People

SCOTUS Kills McCain-Feingold. Lady Liberty Smiles

The Democrats and the NY Times are howling about the SCOTUS decision which effectively rendered the anti-First Amendment McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Law moot.

Essentially their argument boils down to “the public is too stupid to be able to separate the political wheat from the chaff and must be protected from political advertising by corporate entities with an agenda”.

Of course, advertising by politicians with an agenda is just peachy keen.

Reality: anyone or any group which advertised during a political campaign has an agenda.  In America, per the 1st Amendment, they have the freedom to pursue it.  Or should have that freedom, anyway.  McCain-Feingold limited or prohibited that freedom and what SCOTUS did to overturn those prohibitions is long overdue.

Judge Andrew Napalitano gives us a good rundown of the ruling:

The Supreme Court today invalidated its own 20 year old ruling on group political contributions and it also invalidated a portion of the McCain-Feingold Campaign finance law. The 20 year old ruling had prohibited all political expenditures by groups such as corporations, labor unions, and advocacy groups (like the NRA and Planned Parenthood). Ruling that all persons, individually and in groups, have the same unfettered free speech rights, the Court blasted Congress for suppression of that speech. Thus, from today forward, all groups are free to spend their own money on their own political campaigns and to mention the names of the candidates.

The Court also threw out the portion of McCain-Feingold that had permitted persons to contribute to Political Action Committees (PACs), but barred those PACs from using those funds in the sixty day period preceding an election. Since that sixty day period preceding the election is the most vital in any campaign, the Court held that the prohibition on expenditures during that time was a violation of the free speech guaranteed to all persons, individually and in groups, by the First Amendment.

Thus, as a result of the ruling today, all groups may spend their own money as they wish on their own campaigns, but they still may not–as groups–contribute directly to political campaigns. The direct political contribution prohibition in McCain-Feingold was not challenged in this case, thus its constitutionality was not an issue before the Court. Groups will thus effectively be running and financing their own campaigns for candidates on their own.

That means the FEC no longer has a say in what is or isn’t appropriate or who can or can’t run what during an election season. Apparently, according to Napalitano, one of the questions asked by Justice Scalia which elicited an answer from the FEC infuriated most of the justices:

During the course of oral argument on this case in October in the Supreme Court, one of the FEC’s lawyers replied to a question from Justice Antonin Scalia to the effect that the FEC could ban books if they were paid for by corporations, labor unions, or advocacy groups. This highly un-American statement in the Supreme Court–that the federal government can ban books–infuriated a few of the justices.

Anyone reading this want to raise their hand and back book banning?

Democrats are concentrating their ire on the fact that the court found that a corporation has the same right to express itself as an individual. It is another battle in their long war against corporate America.   It’s not an effective or particularly compelling argument.  A PAC isn’t an individual but enjoyed the same advertising rights as an individual.  Why shouldn’t a corporation enjoy them as well?   So don’t get balled up in their nonsense argument.  The fact remains that free speech doesn’t discriminate.  It means free speech for all, regardless of what group or entity represented.

This is a long overdue dismantling of a anti-liberty law.  Most people understand that fundamental truth.  And most people also understand that government should not be in the business of deciding who can or can’t speak out during a political campaign.  In fact, the fundamental purpose of the 1st Amendment was the protection of political speech.  Congress seems to have lost sight of that.

Any argument for the reinstatement of this law or any law which resembles it is an argument to limit political speech.   While you may not be happy with the fact that you’ll now see even more advertising than before, it is a fundamental victory for liberty and those that love liberty should applaud it.



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14 Responses to SCOTUS Kills McCain-Feingold. Lady Liberty Smiles

  • With one 5-to-4 decision, the court’s conservative majority stopped valid votes from being counted to ensure the election of a conservative president. Now a similar conservative majority has distorted the political system to ensure that Republican candidates will be at an enormous advantage in future elections.

    >>>>  Can someone tell me just what “conservative majority” there is on the SCOTUS at this point?  And the NYTimes editorial board ignores their own recount, which showed Bush won!

    It’s the NYT, I know I shouldn’t expect facts to get in the way of a good rant.

    There’s so much wrong with this, but I’ll just sit back and enjoy their sweet, sweet tears. Cram it jerkstores!

    • Besides the normal bias of the NYT, in this case their objectivity is even more in question because it’s their bacon that’s being fried. If everyone else is prohibited from political speech during the critical period before an election, that dramatically enhances the value of rags like the NYT, which are exempt from the restriction. It’s instructive that the NYT doesn’t even touch on that aspect.

      • Between Scott Brown, this and Air America closing, I feel like I’m on this tremendous sugar rush 🙂

        The fact is the “Old Grey Lady” is a pathetic worn-out prostitute at this point.  Those 100,000 pesky MA voters, that pesky 1st Ammendment, etc etc. Why do all these minor things get in the way of their aganda?

  • Just as Bill Clinton’s rich contributors put an end to the notion that “only Republicans are rich,” I fully expect folks to be surprised to find out that all corporations aren’t conservative or Republican.

  • I fully applaud this move but would like to see more libel suits brought and won for falsehoods in the ads.

  • I think that Ed at HotAir was saying that McCain-Feingold mostly changed the way money was spent, but not the purpose.  Campaign money just went to PACs and other groups that worked to get officials elected.  In other words, all that they did was make the money harder to follow.  So all of the braying about how this puts elections back into the hands of the rich and powerful is so much hogwash.  It was always there.  Big surprise, politicians wanting to have their cake and eat it, too!

  • So if corporations are people now can they vote? Should they be put to death if they kill someone? What basic human rights are corporations being deprived of? I want to march for their rights!

    • Wrong analogy, but typical of the non-conceptual.
      Can the ACLU, or the media, or MLB put out ads stating their opinion?
      Does Freedom of Speech or Freedom of Associate stop when there’s more than two of you?

  • Hey now CITGO can buy ads against whatever US politician Hugo Chavez doesn’t like!

  • Unfortunatly this doesn’t really kill it, only one provision of it.  There is a lot of other puke left in that horrible bill, but it’s a start.  The sad thing was that four of the robed idiots voted against freedom of speech.