Nevada News & Views – January 21, 2010
By: Chuck Muth
Nevada News and Views
WAHOO! SUPREMES STRIKE DON’T SPEECH LIMITATIONS
From this morning’s Wall Street Journal:
“The Supreme Court has ruled that corporations may spend freely to support or oppose candidates for president and Congress, easing decades-old limits on their participation in federal campaigns.
“By a 5-4 vote, the court overturned a 20-year-old ruling that said corporations can be prohibited from using money from their general treasuries to pay for campaign ads. The decision, which almost certainly will also allow labor unions to participate more freely in campaigns, threatens similar limits imposed by 24 states.
“The justices also struck down part of the landmark McCain-Feingold campaign finance bill that barred union- and corporate-paid issue ads in the closing days of election campaigns.”
Here’s the most important part of what the Court said:
“Political speech is so ingrained in this country’s culture that speakers find ways around campaign finance laws. Rapid changes in technology—and the creative dynamic inherent in the concept of free expression—counsel against upholding a law that restricts political speech in certain media or by certain speakers. In addition, no serious reliance issues are at stake.
“Thus, due consideration leads to the conclusion that Austin should be overruled. The Court returns to the principle established in Buckley and Bellotti that the Government may not suppress political speech based on the speaker’s corporate identity. No sufficient governmental interest justifies limits on the political speech of nonprofit or for-profit corporations. Pp. 47–50.”