“Congress shall make no law…….abridging the freedom of speech.” What part of this passage is so difficult to understand? In a continuing dismantling of the founding principles underlying the First Amendment, the U. S. Supreme Court confirmed a direct hit on free speech in upholding the Campaign Reform Act of 2002. Much as the Court has emasculated the concept of the establishment and free exercise clauses as they pertain to religious practice in this country, it has now completely transformed the original meaning of free speech as envisioned by the Founders. And in so doing, it constrains and targets for regulation the specific type of speech that the Founders deemed most important to protect—the type that is political, partisan, and is used during the heat of election campaigns. This, of course, is consistent with the “John Rawls approach” to public policy deliberations, which, in terms of the right to free speech, is to “protect” the less affluent from the views of those who can afford to broadcast their opinions. As Thomas G. West sadly notes, the prevailing progressive mindset is that, if you publish or broadcast “too much”, government has the duty to silence you, and free speech in effect becomes a right dispensed by government only when it meets certain standards of fairness and justice. Of course, in the end, the intent of the law will not be realized, and the political class has already begun to devise ways to circumvent the new restrictions. And I must add that President Bush was AWOL on this issue by not vetoing this legislation that he clearly opposed, hoping that the Court would bail him out. Surely by now he should realize that the majority on this Court cannot be considered reliable in defending the Constitution.
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