The Supreme Court decision on campaign finance case Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission is in, and Tom Goldstein at SCOTUSblog calls it "a small revolution in campaign finance law." Why? The court has overturned a law limiting corporate and union spending in politics, which commentators say could change political campaigning.
- Huge Victory for Free Speech, counters Hot Air's Ed Morrissey, who predicts that the opening of corporate coffers will be minimal. He says the only effect of the laws was to force corporations and unions to engage in expensive subterfuges. Campaign finance "reforms" just drive corporate and union money into less-transparent channels, creating mini-industries of money laundering. This ruling will just allow the money to be seen.
- Agreed: This Is About Free Speech, says Ilya Shapiro at Cato, arguing that the court "correctly [held] that government cannot try to 'level the political playing field' by banning corporations from making independent campaign expenditures on films, books, or even campaign signs." While more money may now be spent on campaigns, "none of this money will go directly to candidates ... it will go instead to spreading information about candidates and issues."
- Justice Stevens: FREE SPEECH MY FOOT. The First Amendment, he says, does not in fact demand corporations be "treated identically to natural persons in the political sphere." It also does not "tell us when a corporation may engage in electioneering that some of its shareholders oppose."
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