From the commentary in the mainstream media, I thought there had been a coup d'etat in Washington.
The New York Times said what happened "strikes at the heart of democracy."
The Washington Post quoted an authority who warned it "threatens to undermine the integrity of elected institutions across the nation."
No, not the Scott Brown victory. The media were upset because the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that forbidding corporations and labor unions to spend money on political speech before elections is unconstitutional. A horrendous section of the abomination known as McCain-Feingold campaign-finance "reform" had bitten the dust. It was long overdue.
The case grew out of a documentary critical of Hillary Clinton that Citizens United, a nonprofit corporation, planned to show on cable television during the 2008 presidential primary season. The law said that was illegal.
The 5-4 majority consisted of the four conservative justices and the swing justice, Anthony Kennedy, who wrote the main opinion. He couldn't have been more clear: "When Government seeks to use its full power, including the criminal law, to command where a person may get his or her information or what distrusted source he or she may not hear, it uses censorship to control thought. This is unlawful. ... The First Amendment confirms the freedom to think for ourselves."
He also said, "Because speech is an essential mechanism of democracy -- it is the means to hold officials accountable to the people -- political speech must prevail against laws that would suppress it."
And, "We find no basis for the proposition that, in the context of political speech, the Government may impose restrictions on certain disfavored speakers."
Of course, the "progressive media" condemned the majority for its judicial activism because the ruling overturned two precedents. I thought progressives favored judicial activism and dumping bad precedents. I also thought they favored free speech. Wrong. (To its credit, the ACLU was on Citizen United's side.)
It depends on whose ox is gored.
In condemning the decision, the offended progressives engaged in amazing mental contortions. It "was wrong because nothing in the First Amendment dictates that corporations must be treated identically to people," the Post editorialist wrote.
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