Citizens United, One Year On

Posted: Jan 21, 2011 11:16 AM
Today is the one-year anniversary of Citizens United v. FEC, the landmark Supreme Court case ruling that found many campaign finance restrictions passed by Congress were unconstitutional. Spending money to support a candidate of your choice is a form of free speech, and protected by the first amendment.

The Left has gone nuts over this court case. They see it as an absolute affront to democracy and the end of our Republic as we know it. (Of course, the Republic endured for over two hundred years before the campaign finance restrictions that the Court struck down were enacted. But we'll ignore that.) They've gone into overdrive trying to overturn the decision, and have started to focus on challenges to that extent. Citizens United has put together a great retrospective video.

Meanwhile, the challenge to maintain free speech runs ever more up against new challenges. The Supreme Court has just agreed to consider a challenge to Arizona's "clean elections" campaign financing laws. Under Arizona's law, candidates get "matching funds" from taxpayers for every dollar that their competitors raise. As Ilya Shapiro at Cato explained, it's worse than normal 'matching' laws:

the law sweeps still broader: it applies the same matching funds provision to groups that spend independently from any campaign but are nevertheless deemed to be supporting a given candidate. Such “uncoordinated speech” by third parties — speech that, many times, the candidate does not want even if it is thought to be on his behalf — also triggers matching funds for the candidate’s opponent.

As Citizens United celebrates its one-year anniversary, remember that the Left's attempts to stifle free speech are unending, as freedom's defenders must also be.