Friday, December 12, 2003

FREE SPEECH REFORM Here's a good review of what just happened, from Federal Review blog:
ITS 60 DAYS BEFORE THE PRIMARY, SO SHUT UP
So says the government. Really, the federal government has passed a law that says you can't speak out in favor of your preferred candidate for political office. And the Supreme Court just said that the law is perfectly OK. Here's how the American Bar Association reports the story.

Now, I know that many resist an originalist interpretation of the Constitution, but if a right to free speech means anything as a philosphy for organizing society and its government, it must mean a right to freely speak about the government. Instead, the right is now only about art, not politics, as though the Constitution was merely a set of bylaws of some dung-smearing performance artists. More from the ABA Journal:
In their dissents, Thomas and Scalia both sharply questioned a body of First Amendment jurisprudence that allowed restrictions on political speech but disallowed restrictions on computer child pornography and sexually explicit cable programming.

"Apparently, the marketplace of ideas is to be fully open only to defamers, nude dancers, pornographers, flag-burners and cross-burners," Thomas wrote. He added that "the court today upholds what can only be described as the most significant abridgement of the freedoms of speech and association since the Civil War." For his part, Scalia called the decision "a sad day for the freedom of speech."
The effect of this law -- the only people speaking about candidates for federal office within 60 days before an election will be the candidates themselves and the news media, providing their ever balanced "analysis". The media's power increases, the people's decreases, and the incumbents are protected from those who want to speak out against them.

What a perversion.
Perversion indeed, and unprincipled incumbents like Feingold, Kennedy, Edwards, McCain and, yes, Bush are responsible.

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