Wednesday, December 10, 2003
Impeach Breyer, Ginsberg, O'Conner, Stevens, Souter: The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 today that people cannot purchase advertisements on TV, radio or in newspapers opposing or supporting candidates in the weeks leading up to an election. (I care less about the ban on unlimited soft-money donations to parties, though the way that restriction works is really stupid.)
[Correction: Further research appears to show that print advertisements aren't covered by the new law -- only broadcast. Good news for newspapers -- not that I'll be getting any more in my paycheck from those attack ads.]
This limit on political speech is little more than an incumbent protection act. The American public cannot pool their money and attempt to sway public opinion on important political issues.
Of course, President Bush, who signed the law, and those idiots in Congress, who voted for the law, are equally culpable. Bush signed it because he was confident that the Supreme Court would strike down the more odious portions of the law. He was wrong.
I had predicted that much of the law would be struck down -- I was obviously wrong.
You can find the opinion itself here. [Adobe Acrobat Reader required] I'll read it today and post some more on this issue tonight.
Right now I'm plotting on how to get myself charged with violating the advertising provision of the campaign finance law. It may be difficult, because this blog would be considered part of the "press," which cannot be restricted from the journalistic/editorial equivalent of "attack ads." Maybe I can get together with another blogger and pay each other $1 to run "ads" comparing Howard Dean to a rabid dog.
Remember, the major TV networks, newspapers and magazines are not, as Eric Alterman and others would have you believe, right-wing. I work at a major newspaper and I can assure you that I and the other conservative in the newsroom have little say on the paper's coverage. (Yes, there are only two "out" conservatives in the San Diego Union-Tribune newsroom -- and we're both page designers.)
This decision is a violation of the First Amendment. It is an effort to minimize the most important type of speech in a democracy -- political speech.
Of course, Congress will not impeach these judges that fail to read the plain meaning of the Constitution -- though they should. (Schoolchildren would fail simple reading comprehension if they read simple documents like Supreme Court justices.)
This is a sad day for democracy in our country.