The New York Times Endorses Restrictions on Political Speech


From today's lead editorial in The New York Times:

The Supreme Court may be about to radically change politics by striking down the longstanding rule that says corporations cannot spend directly on federal elections. If the floodgates open, money from big business could overwhelm the electoral process, as well as the making of laws on issues like tax policy and bank regulation.

The court, which is scheduled to hear arguments on this issue on Wednesday, is rushing to decide a monumental question at breakneck speed and seems willing to throw established precedents and judicial modesty out the window….

If the court races to overturn federal and state laws, and its well-established precedents, to free up corporations to drown elections in money, it will be swinging for the fences. The American public will be the losers.

I'm guessing Times columnist and editorial board member Adam Cohen had a hand in drafting this, since it repeats his previous argument that the principle of judicial restraint requires the Court to adhere to its campaign finance precedents in tomorrow's rehearing of Citizens United v. FEC. In an article last week, I argued that it's actually the Court's fundamental responsibility to strike down those laws and precedents that run afoul of the First Amendment. Or as Steven R. Shapiro of the American Civil Liberties Union (which also favors striking down the offending campaign finance laws) told The Washington Post, "justices should think long and hard before overturning decisions…. But you can't have a system that says if you make a mistake, it must stand forever."