John Roberts Didn’t ‘Eviscerate’ Campaign Finance Law, But He Should Have


Forbes has the article John Roberts Didn’t ‘Eviscerate’ Campaign Finance Law, But He Should Have.  I have been looking for a vehicle for me to use to kick off my comments on this topic on my blog.

It is very unfortunate that money plays such a big role in our elections.  I have a strong distaste for Mitch McConnell and many of the other politicians who have been on his side of the argument that campaign spending limits violate the First Amendment of our Constitution.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

For the most part, I am a strong supporter of the politicians (except John McCain) who have had a hand in writing campaign finance reform laws.

I dislike most of the Supreme Court rulings of the five justices that were in the majority here.  I favor most of the rulings favored by the four justices who were in the minority.

However, from the very beginning of my awareness of this issue, I have never been able to figure out how you could limit a person’s efforts to elect the politician of their choice without violating the First Amendment.  Political speech is the most important kind of speech that the writers of the First Amendment should have wanted to protect with their free speech clause.

You can argue all you want about your desire to place such limits, or how you think it would improve the government, or how the majority of Americans agree with you,  or whatever other argument you want to make, but there just does not seem to be a way to get around the violation of the First Amendment embodied in the current campaign finance reform  laws.

Who is strong enough to join me, step away from what you desire to be able to do, and objectively look at what the Constitution says you are permitted to do in this situation?

Think about the wording of a Constitutional amendment that would accomplish what you think needs to be done.  I’d like to see some proposals.  I think it  is going to be darned difficult to create such an Amendment that targets only how you think the First Amendment freedom harms the country and yet not trample on any rights that are an essential part of our democracy.  I cannot say it is impossible to do.  I can only say that I have not figured out how to do it.

I think the real issue is the bribing of our politicians.  There are laws against bribery already.  However, it is very difficult to prove that some of the harmful things that lobbyists have accomplished actually violate the laws against bribery.

While attacking bribery is where I think the efforts should start, I still don’t see how to word an amendment that would separate what we think ought not be allowed from what has to be permitted in order to protect our human rights.

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