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sprieduma atbalsta komentāriem The Supreme Court Protected Us On Thursday, John Lott

Do you want government regulating what movies can be shown to the public? Do you want the government determining what movies can be advertised? Or what books can be sold? Well, the Obama administration actually argued for these regulations before the Supreme Court in defending campaign finance regulations. Actually, they went even further and said that such regulations were essential to limiting how much money is spent on political campaigns.
Fortunately, the Supreme Court disagreed. On Thursday, in the case Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, the Supreme Court struck down a law that had been used to stop the advertising or showing of "Hillary: The Movie" during the 2008 presidential campaign. No one doubts that the movie was critical of Hillary Clinton and that its release was timed precisely to hurt her presidential campaign. What the court couldn't abide was letting the government decide when a movie crossed the line and became too political. The ruling eliminates bans that corporations and unions have faced in trying to influence elections 30 days before a primary election or nominating convention, or within 60 days before a general election.
Of course, those are not the only ways around corporate bans on political advertising. If you want to limit corporations’ influence on elections, what do you do about companies that own newspapers and television news broadcasts? Why is one company that owns a newspaper able to write editorials or publish "news" stories that help one candidate but another company isn’t even able to buy a political ad in that very same newspaper?
Right now, one television series after another somehow works into its story lines a sad tale highlighting the plight of those without health insurance. And these kinds of plot lines don’t just show up in medical dramas. Even crime shows, such as CBS's "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation," have gotten into the act. Many would argue that TV dramas provide an inaccurate view of the medicine available to the poor and while other might argue that the shows do a good job, but that isn't the point. The shows are obviously trying to influence public policy. Do we need to assign Federal Election Commission's lawyers to watch hours of television programming just to ensure that no political candidates benefit from the message in these shows?
Campaign finance regulations that limit donations or campaign expenditures also have another downside: they entrench incumbents. It is a lot easier for incumbents, who have had years to determine who their actual and potential donors are, to raise small amounts from a lot of donors. It is also a lot more important for a relatively unknown challenger to spend money on his campaign than it is for the incumbent.

January 22, 2010, Founding Fathers Smiling After Supreme Court Campaign Finance Ruling, Ken Klukowski,

The Supreme Court’s action in striking down the worst censorship provision of McCain-Feingold restores vital free speech protection in America. The First Amendment does not allow the government to silence its critics, and Thursday’s decision would make our Founding Fathers applaud — they built this country out of a revolution founded upon a critique of oppressive government. But fast forward to 2010, this week, instead of applauding the Supreme Court’s ruling, America’s current president is responding by issuing an ominous threat against our highest court.
On Thursday, the Court overruled that earlier case and also part of a 2003 case involving BCRA, finding the earlier anti-distortion rationale to be “unconvincing and insufficient” to justify government censorship of political speech. Instead, the Court noted that ordinary people often need to pool their money into an organization they support, to use those pooled funds to get their message out about the issues they care about when elections are approaching. Rather than drown out the little guy, this option allows groups, be they Citizens United, the National Rifle Association, or the Family Research Council, to be a megaphone for the little guy, informing the voters of what’s at stake.
The Court’s opinion went on to note that the government’s theory of being able to censor organizations that speak to the public simply because that organization is a corporation with the ability to accumulate money would enable the government to go after the media. Every major press outlet is a corporation, and all have vast sums of money. The government’s argument could be used to justify censorship of the press. When that happened, the First Amendment dies.
Citizens United v. FEC is a “big victory” alright. It’s a tremendous victory for average Americans, restoring their First Amendment rights to join together to be heard. Barack Obama may be fuming, but our Founding Fathers are smiling.

Government can't squelch free speech By Matt Welch, January 22, 2010 Special to CNN

Free speech really does mean free speech, and the laws that the "Citizens" ruling overturned directly and heinously restricted the stuff. Forget for the moment the broad characterization of the ruling — such as The New York Times claim that it "sweep[s] aside a century-old understanding" — and drill down to the individual case in question.
Citizens United, a conservative 501(c)(4) nonprofit that has funded a dozen political documentaries over the years, produced a critical documentary about Hillary Clinton in 2008 entitled "Hillary: The Movie." By a decision of the federal government, which was enforcing the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (known more broadly as McCain-Feingold), this piece of political speech was banned from television.
Let's boil it down to the essential words: Political documentary, banned, government.
Even if you just can't bring yourself to believe that people who take civil liberties seriously have long-held serious civil libertarian criticisms of campaign-finance laws, or if you simply think they're all wrong, I'll offer this last salve: It has never been easier for groups of citizens to swarm together and flow money through the Internet toward campaigns and candidates who excite them. Ask Ron Paul — or more relevantly, Barack Obama — what's more powerful: $10 million from Dr. Evil Industries, or $10 each from 1 million people who can actually vote?
The American people are not sheep, eager to be led by the highest bidder. As the Supreme Court rightly noted today, "The First Amendment confirms the freedom to think for ourselves."

Stampede Toward Democracy, By JAN WITOLD BARAN, NYTimes, January 25, 2010

Because of the 1990 ruling, corporations and unions have been limited to so-called issue ads, which usually end with statements like “call Candidate Jones and tell her” — take your choice — “to stop raising taxes/ support health care reform/ support alternative energy sources.” Now that Citizens United has overturned Austin, corporations and unions can run independent ads that contain words of express advocacy. So instead of “Call Candidate Jones and demand that she not raise taxes,” it can be: “Vote for Candidate Smith because Candidate Jones wants to raise taxes.”
There is also no factual basis to predict that there will be a “stampede” of additional spending. As the court noted, 26 states and the District of Columbia already permit independent corporate and union campaign spending. There have been no stampedes in those states’ elections. Having a constitutional right is not the same as requiring one to exercise it, and there are many reasons businesses and unions may not spend much more on politics than they already do. As such, the effect of Citizens United on the 2010 campaigns is debatable.
While this may be disheartening to Washington lawyers and lawmakers, it should be a breath of fresh air to everyone else. The greatest benefit of Citizens United is that it will restrain Congress from flooding us with arcane, burdensome, convoluted campaign laws that discourage political participation.

WSJ, Newsflash: First Amendment Upheld, BRADLEY A. SMITH, JANUARY 22, 2010

Thursday's Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, in which the Court struck down a blanket government prohibition on corporate political speech, is a wonderful decision that restores political speech to the primacy it was intended to have under the First Amendment.
Hopefully, this ruling marks an end to 20 years of jurisprudence in which the Court has provided less protection to core political speech than it has to Internet pornography, the transmission of stolen information, flag burning, commercial advertising, topless dancing, and burning a cross outside an African-American church.
It is true that the Supreme Court's ruling will lead to more corporate (and union) political speech. But even if one thinks that is a bad thing, there is little empirical reason to believe the horror stories of corporate dominance of the democratic process.
Already, 28 states representing 60% of the nation's population allow corporate independent expenditures in state races. These states, including Virginia, Utah and Oregon, are hardly mismanaged. Rather, they are disproportionately among the fastest growing, best governed states in the country.
Corporations frequently take action that some shareholders do not like, including, for example, making charitable contributions. Stockholders are free to leave the corporation if their disagreements become too strong. Meanwhile, why should the majority be prohibited from voicing their views as a corporate enterprise
But the First Amendment is all about distrusting government to make those decisions about who has spoken too much. That's why Thursday's decision is such a breath of fresh air.

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