tedly wrote:Point taken, but could not the Congress, sharpening it's pencil, make a law that limited the corporation's right to political speech? The Press, of course, covered under the First, is free to speak whether owned by a corporation or a citizen.
As I mentioned before, the bit that sells me on this decision is... where do you draw the line between "The Press" and Corporations engaging in political speech?
It has to be something qualitative and pretty damn unmistakable... or you have corporations calling themselves "Press" with magic words, or (worse) you have the government deciding what's REALLY the press.
That's an interesting idea, and one I think springs from some of what Scalia wrote, but to me it really focuses on something which is not even necessary in this area of the law.
I really dislike the emphasis and focus so many people (not just in this thread, but elsewhere as well) seem to place on the status of corporations. That focus is misplaced. It fails to appreciate the reason for the existence of the Bill of Rights in general, and the First Amendment in particular.
The Bill of Rights exists solely for the purpose of placing limitations on the powers and authority of Congress. The Fourteenth Amendment later extended those same limitations to state and local governments. The Bill of Rights is about limiting government's power. Everyone who writes about or discusses what other ways Congress can come up with to limit the reach or influence of corporations in this context -- the context of political speech and the protections afforded it under the First Amendment -- are completely missing the point. They are trying to find a way to grant Congress the power to limit speech, which is precisely contrary to the intent and express language of the First Amendment itself.
"Congress shall make no law...abridging the freedom of speech..."
Goddamn. How many times does one have to write that or read it? Every time some pundit or even a dissenting Supreme Court Justice, Member of Congress, or the President pontificates about how Congress might draft a law to limit
the speech of corporations that person is engaging in cognitive dissonance. Congress cannot constitutionally limit speech via legislation. It really is that simple.
Stop looking at the problem as one of protection of someone's rights. It is instead a limitation on Congress' power. The drafters of the First Amendment intended it as such. The founders did not trust government, and neither did the people they represented at home. They deliberately limited Congress' power when drafting the Constitution, and they deliberately created a government whose powers were separated among three independent branches, each serving as a check and balance against the others.
The fact that some members of Congress and the President today are trying to find a way for Congress to limit speech via new legislation now that McCain-Feingold has been struck down is ample evidence that the founders were right not to trust government. Government is trying to get around the Supreme Court's decision before the ink is even dry on Citizens United
. Fuck. Congress and the President think it's a game of chess and they are coming up with sneaky moves to defeat the Supreme Court and the First Amendment. Don't trust them or their motives when it comes to limiting speech.
Goddamn those founders were smart fucks. Maybe Alexis will come around and say something relevant here. He always has something insightful to say about the US from an outsider's view.