Friday, March 27, 2009

A Clear Danger To Free Speech

Editorial - March 27th, 2009 - National Review Online

At issue is a film called Hillary: The Movie, a documentary produced by the nonprofit group Citizens United, which did not wish to see Senator Clinton elected president. Because McCain-Feingold prohibits so much as mentioning a candidate’s name in pre-election communications paid for by certain disfavored groups — unions and “corporations” — the filmmakers were informed by a federal judge that showing their work would constitute a crime. The filmmakers sued, and the case is Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. Mr. Stewart is defending the government’s ban on this film; the same rules that apply to a campaign commercial apply to a documentary film, his reasoning goes. Justice Alito alertly pressed Mr. Stewart on that issue: If commercials and films are covered, how about books? How about campaign biographies? Yes, Mr. Stewart answered, the U.S. government is prepared to ban books, under certain circumstances, and is legally empowered by McCain-Feingold to do so. Jaws dropped, black robes fluttered.

The amazing thing is that like most of these issues, the law does not mean a tinkers damn. We may have another 5 to 4 political decision, but it will not represent law. It will represent judicial tyranny no matter which way it goes. If conservatives win, and free speech is once again permitted, there is no doubt that liberals on the court will start waiting for their first opportunity to subvert the decision. If liberals win, and free political speech is driven even further into oblivion, it will have no impact on the defense of outrageous pornography which has characterized the only speech the liberal perverts see as absolute.

Our courts today represent judicial tyranny. Whether it is right wing or left wing is the only question.


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