Hush Money

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New at Reason: Even with the soft money ban, people are still acting like the First Amendment gives them the right to speak out on political issues. How can we put a stop to that? Julian Sanchez proposes a solution.

NEXT: Nuke Solution

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  1. There are lots of comments about “chill winds blowing” that come to mind following this ruling. Unfortunately, I don’t expect Tim Robbins to deliver any of them.

    Quite a shame.

  2. Didn’t EVERYBODY who follows First Amendment law say the ban on ads mentioning a candidate would be overturned?

    I’m going to wake up tomorrow morning (my birthday) and this decision will have been a bad dream.

  3. Pornographic issue ads! Talk about your, umm, loopholes.

  4. You can’t spell FECAL without F-E-C-A.

  5. Good piece, Julian. I hate them all.

  6. I’m awake. The decision stands. I’m a year older, and a lot less free.

  7. Check out Thomas’ scathing dissent, and Scalia’s, and Rehnquist’s, and Kennedy’s. Atrocious day for all Americans. Wednesday December 10th should be known forever as the day the Supreme Court caved to knee-jerk reactionism…it is a very dark and sad day.

  8. As much as I agree with the ban on soft money, the ban on candidate vs. issue ads close to the election is ridiculous. I think the Supreme Court is emphasizing a strict interpretation of “issue”, but simultaneously discarding any notion of it being an “advertisement”.

    This makes me think twice about the Metro-Change The Climate flap. Decisions like this heartily reinforce the notion that the Constitution is merely a dried-out piece of paper whose only relevance is as an historical referent. The preponderance of precedent and resultant case law make it a trivial exercise for the justices to do an end run around just about any amendment or article they desire, given some characteristic that can be bullshitted enough into credible significance.

    I hope the NRA gets their “news” channel, just to stick it right in the dems craw. Kerry had better act quickly to get rid of it, if only for the millions of Americans who can’t operate their remote control to change the fucking television station.

  9. Julian, nice write up. I appreciate the clear explanation of the different donation type and terms and the loopholes.

    Hopefully this will get appealled to the … oh wait, well at least we can vent our frustration by not voting for these clowns next time they’re up for election … ahh, foiled again!

  10. Its the Death of the Republic

    From the legislative branch that passed the act, to the executive branch where the measure was welcomed and signed into law, to the judicial branch where it was upheld by the ruling of 5 individuals, government has placed itself above the law. Its assumption of the authority to abridge our rights as individuals has voided the concept of rights and left us with a few tenuous freedoms that we will enjoy as long as they do not conflict with a compelling interest of the state. The Constitution has become functionally irrelevant and the rule of law has been deposed by the rule of man.

  11. Once we get a Second Amendment case to the Supreme Court…

    Uh. Never mind.

  12. begin{paranoid rant}
    Methinks we get closer and closer to third box of the ‘freedom’ boxes with every passing day legislative, executive, and judicial branches are in session…
    end{paranoid rant}

    Sigh….

    -Karl

  13. Excellent writing and reasoning, Julian.

  14. That was a super column by Sanchez.

    But I have to admit I haven’t read the McCain Feingold law, I barely remember Buckley v Valeo, I don’t know shit about the FEC, and I haven’t read the latest opinion yet. But, with those qualifications set out, I declare that I am against the court’s ruling basically for the reasons that Julian says in his/her column. And why did W sign this into law? He’s done some things that make me wonder who he’s looking out for other than W. Was this a “Democrat” bill notwithstanding McCain’s name in the bill’s title?

    I think the Supreme Court has already implemented a de facto abortion exception to the free speech clause, what with its opinions upholding “bubble zone” no-free-speech zones in Hill v. Colorado, and upholding no-free-speech laws in residential neighborhoods, and its opinion upholding the FACE statute (no speech outside of abortion clinics).

    Yet the court gives amazingly robust free speech protection to pornography.

    And now the court has given a miserly interpretation of the free speech clause on the most important speech possible: political speech trying to influence who gets elected. It’s astonishing.

    That is all.

  15. “Yet the court gives amazingly robust free speech protection to pornography.”

    That’s the new workaround! Pornographic issue ads!
    Mary Carey’s career in politics may not be over quite yet…

  16. I thought I was depressed about this before reading your Hold The Mayo post. Thanks StMack for bringing me down a little more.

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