Speech is speech, full stop
by Franklin Clark, Reporter -- fclark@cadizrecord.com
Apr 09, 2014 | 162 162 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Who here likes a good joke? This one comes from the U.S. Supreme Court!

“Spending large sums of money in connection with elections, but not in connection with an effort to control the exercise of an officeholder’s official duties, does not give rise to such quid pro quo corruption. Nor does the possibility that an individual who spends large sums may garner ‘influence over or access to’ elected officials or political parties.”

You can’t say Chief Justice John Roberts is without a sense of humor.

That comes from the Supreme Court ruling McCutcheon v. FEC, or as I call it, “Citizens United 2: Electric Boogaloo.”

The ruling in question, handed down last week, tore away many of the meager regulations on federal campaign contributions that were left by the 2010 Citizens United ruling. That ruling had left caps on direct contributions to candidates and political parties.

In a 5 - 4 decision, the court ruled that overall limits of $48,600 by individuals every two years for contributions to all federal candidates violated the First Amendment, as did separate aggregate limits on contributions to political party committees, currently $74,600. However, the ruling does not affect familiar base limits on contributions from individuals to candidates, currently $2,600 per candidate in primary and general

Roberts, with the controlling opinion, said, ““There is no right in our democracy more basic than the right to participate in electing our political leaders.”

The party that Roberts identifies with most has done its best to make voting more difficult in the states where they hold power, so the above statement strikes me as particularly ironic.

I’m not actually opposed to the idea of requiring a photo ID to vote, at least not in a vacuum, so long as it’s free to the person registering to vote. What I don’t understand is the opposition to Real ID, early voting and same-day registration by this same party.

My most pertinent question is this: if money is speech, and if that makes most regulations on campaign contributions unconstitutional, how is it that Free Speech Zones, permits to hold rallies and protests, and regulations on speech that is available to the common man, are still constitutional? From where I stand, it looks like the “speech” employed by the super-rich is more protected by this Court than the forms of speech available to the poor and the middle classes.

My next question is, how can Roberts possibly actually believe what he’s saying in the second paragraph of this editorial? You’d think the whole of the history of free elections would be one vast counter-example. If he actually believes what he’s saying, then he’s unbelievably naïve.

***

As my editor Justin McGill has written, Glenn Beck has apologized for his role in dividing this country. I was very skeptical, to say the least, but I was hopeful. Alas, it was not to be.

A USDA pamphlet for children, entitled “The Two-Bite Club,” encourages young people to take just two bites of a food they’ve never tried before. Harmless enough, right?

Beck compared it to anti-Semitic propaganda aimed at children in Nazi Germany. I swear to you, I’m not making this up.

When Jon Stewart said Beck has Nazi Tourette’s, he wasn’t kidding.

Franklin Clark is a reporter for the Cadiz Record and can be reached by email at fclark@cadizrecord.com.
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