Q: When Do Proposed Constitutional Amendments Deserve Derision?


A: When they aim to restrict, rather than expand, freedom. See: flag-burning, homo-marrying, fetus-aborting, etc.  

In the wake of Citizens United v. FEC, the following people and institutions are contemplating a constitutional amendment to once again empower the federal government to censor political documentaries during election season: In addition to the aforementioned Public Citizen, you have Sen. Arlen Specter (D-PA.), Rep. Leonard Boswell (D-IA.), Maryland State Senator (and constitutional law professor) Jamie Raskin, future-person Lawrence Lessig, name showoff Zephyr Teachout, The Nation's John Nichols, The Progressive's Matthew Rothschild, People for the American Way, the Center for Media & Democracy, the Campaign to Legalize Democracy, FairVote.org**, the Brennan Center for Justice, Friends of the Earth, and FreeSpeechForPeople.org, for starters.

Oh–and all the people who signed this petition. I recognize Howard Zinn, Jeff Cohen, Jim Hightower, Mark Crispin Miller, Norman Solomon, and Tom Hayden. The latter of whom, of course, rose to initial prominence as a leader of Berkeley's celebrated Free Speech Movement.*

* UPDATE: Bzzzt! Wrong. Hayden was SDS, not FSM, which I should know better. Apologies to Mario Savio and Paul Krassner and everyone else.

** UPDATE II: FairVote's Rob Richie writes: "Predicting serious talk of constitutional change (as I did in The Hill) and suggesting that we should not be afraid of such conversations (for instance, on certain electoral forms we support)  is not he same thing as calling for it."