Only 1 week left before govt censorship of political speech kicks in


Gold Member
Jun 20, 2006
San Diego, CA
Recall that the so-called "Campaign Finance Reform Act" signed into law by Pres. Bush 43, prohibits TV and radio ads mentioning the name(s) of candidate(s) within 60 days of a general election. That ban goes into effect in a week.

The law came about after the 1996 election, when it was revealed that Democrats had massively violated existing censorship laws prohibiting the use of "soft money" for ads referring to specific candidates instead of only general issues. The violations were so pervasive and effective, that in the last few weeks before the 96 election Republicans started desperately doing it too.

When the extent of the violations of law became apparent, a bipartisan commission finally offered up a "solution": Make more laws. Democrats happily signed on to this "solution", since it pretended that the old laws were the problem, not the Democrats' violations of those laws. The result was the McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Reform bill.

This was the bill that Bush said he thought was unconstitutional, and then signed it anyway. It was his most egregious act as President to that date. It was upheld by a 5-4 decision of the Supreme Court, with all the usual suspects voting to allow it and all the usual opponents screaming their heads off about its unconstitutionality.

Justice Clarence Thomas, for example, wrote in his dissent:

The First Amendment provides that "Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech." Nevertheless, the Court today upholds what can only be described as the most significant abridgment of the freedoms of speech and association since the Civil War. With breathtaking scope, the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (BCRA), directly targets and constricts core political speech, the "primary object of First Amendment protection.". Because "the First Amendment ’has its fullest and most urgent application’ to speech uttered during a campaign for political office,", our duty is to approach these restrictions "with the utmost skepticism" and subject them to the "strictest scrutiny."

In response to this assault on the free exchange of ideas and with only the slightest consideration of the appropriate standard of review or of the Court’s traditional role of protecting First Amendment freedoms, the Court has placed its imprimatur on these unprecedented restrictions. The very "purpose of the First Amendment [is] to preserve an uninhibited marketplace of ideas in which truth will ultimately prevail." Yet today the fundamental principle that "the best test of truth is the power of the thought to get itself accepted in the competition of the market,", is cast aside in the purported service of preventing "corruption," or the mere "appearance of corruption.". Apparently, the marketplace of ideas is to be fully open only to defamers, nude dancers, pornographers, flag burners, and cross burners.

(Thomas includes references to cases that give examples of each of the exceptions he scathingly mentions above.) See for full text of the dissent.

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