Yesterday, the United States Supreme Court struck down many of the provisions of the McCain-Feingold campaign financing law. The law prohibited corporations or other groups from running ads 60 days before an election. A New York Times editorial calls this ruling “disastrous,” “radical,” and a “blow to democracy.” I call it a return to constitutional principles.
The First Amendment states “Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech, . . .” It’s not a difficult concept to understand. Free political speech is a right guaranteed by the Constitution, not an attack on democracy. The government should not be in the business of regulating speech, especially political speech. It is as plain as that.
A corporation is nothing more that a collection of individuals (shareholders) with a common goal–to make a profit. They should be able to express their thoughts, opinions and beliefs the same as an other individual.
I’m at a loss on who this is an attack on democracy. We already are bombarded with non-stop political ads before an election from every imaginable group. Allowing corporations to have the same rights as an individual or a political action committee will just be adding another voice to the cacophony. As always, we will need to listen carefully and separate the wheat for the chaff. That has always been the responsibility of an informed electorate.
There are calls for Congress to make a new law to counteract the Supreme Court’s ruling. Hopefully, the new make-up of the Senate will prevent that from happening. Freedom and liberty are principles worth preserving. Let’s hope that they will be.