The Supreme Court has yet another chance to refer to the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. And follow it.
The case before the court, Citizens United versus FEC, has to do with how federal campaign finance laws and the regulations issued by the Federal Election Commission are violating freedom of speech.
Citizens United is a conservative non-profit organization that produced a documentary critical of Hillary Clinton during the presidential campaign last year. A D.C. court ruled that producing it with the help of corporate funding was a violation campaign finance law, specifically the McCain-Feingold Act.
Eight former FEC commissioners have now filed an amicus brief in the case. They argue that the lower court’s decision violates the First Amendment — you know, the part about not making any law to abridge freedom of speech. One of the former commissioners, Hans von Spakovsky, explains in the Wall Street Journal that it is virtually impossible to know under the convoluted regulations exactly when one is allowed to engage in political speech and when one must shut up. Why not just let everyone exercise his First Amendment rights?
Spakovsky concludes that friends of campaign finance restrictions on speech have “lost sight of a basic truth: The answer to speech they disagree with is not to restrict that speech, but to answer it with more speech.”
That’s just — and this is — Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.