Congress back in session: Your liberties at risk

Congress returns to Washington today and one the first things on its agenda is a vote to rip the free speech heart out of the First Amendment.

The vote on S.J. Res. 19 will take place at 3 p.m. PDT. Passage would start the process of amending the Constitution to allow states and Congress limit spending on elections and issues.

The amendment states: “Congress and the States may regulate and set reasonable limits on the raising and spending of money by candidates and others to influence elections.”

At noon PDT, a number of Democratic senators and representatives will hold a press conference urging passage of the constitutional amendment, which they call the Democracy For All Amendment. It would overturn the Supreme Court decision in Citizens United, which said Congress can’t limit how much someone may spend on politics. In reality, it just makes it easier for incumbents to get re-elected.

Proponents claim that as a result of Citizens United that “the wealthy get to shout, but the rest of you may only whisper.” Since when was a shout more persuasive than a whisper?

In a Wall Street Journal column today Theodore Olson explains the real motive behind it: “Democrats claim that the Supreme Court has made politicians and political parties less accountable by encouraging donations involving outside interest groups. Outside of what? Democrat fundraising circles? Their actual fear is that less traditional candidates — including outsiders — will have the funding necessary to challenge incumbents in primaries without the blessing of party elders.”

Of course, party leader Harry Reid is pushing the amendment. Blame it on the Koch brothers.

Kentucky’s Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell has pointed out that the amendment is unlikely to ever pass, but is being put forward as a political ploy:

“Now, everyone on this Committee knows this proposal will never pass Congress. This is a political exercise.

“The goal here is to stir up one party’s political base so they’ll show up in November by complaining loudly about certain Americans exercising their free speech and associational rights, while being perfectly happy that other Americans — those who agree with the sponsors of this amendment — are doing the same thing.

“But the political nature of this exercise should not obscure how shockingly bad this proposal is.”

In addition to being a senseless and futile gesture, such an amendment would require a huge bureaucracy to enforce, but, of course, we can trust agencies like the IRS to be fair and equitable in that enforcement.

Reid testifies for amendment to gut the First Amendment.

9 comments on “Congress back in session: Your liberties at risk

  1. nyp says:

    So for a hundred years — until Citizens United — the heart had been ripped out of the First Amendment?

  2. Rincon says:

    “Since when was a shout more persuasive than a whisper?” If true, then limiting the money would do no harm.

  3. iShrug says:

    Like minded individuals form PACs, in order to present a united front. It costs money to put out your message. How much free airtime has President Obama received during his tenure? How much have the American people had to pay for all of his campaigning–for himself, and other Democrats?

    Free political speech was elevated above other types of free speech by our founders. If we are prevented from exercising our First Amendment rights by legislation, this is unconstitutional. There are means to amend our US Constitution, in Article V.

    In the meantime, Amendment I clearly states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

    Freedom to publish, assemble, and petition the Government is not without financial cost. Are the people provided with free media coverage, to exercise our free speech rights? No. We should be permitted to raise and spend as much as we please, in order to be heard.

  4. Vernon Clayson says:

    Not that I voted for him but did Nevada voters send this individual to Washington to gut the freedoms in the first amendment, and worse, fall in with Obama and his “fundamental transformation” of America? It’s all intertwined.

  5. Vernon Clayson says:

    Continuing on, the world is on the verge of war, the economy is broken and he declares war on the Koch brothers. Weird, shouldn’t NY’s Schumer be taking them on if they are so evil?

  6. Rincon says:

    The voices of the rich should not be allowed to drown out the rest of us. In a nation of 300 million, it’s hard enough to be heard, but having all the fat cats in the front of the line makes it nearly impossible.

  7. Winston Smith says:

    I have long advocated moving the U.S. capitol to the geographic center of the 48 states, hold a random drawing in each state for selecting their Senators and House members, put them all up in barracks for 6 weeks every spring to legislate, allowing no contact with lobbyists, feeding them only cereal and toast, and pay ’em about $500/day, with no one allowed more than one term.

    Annual sessions would begin with a three-day review of Natural Law, delegated powers, the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of RIghts. All new laws would have to be checked for Constitutionality when proposed. At the end of each session, Congress would select one of their members to be the president for the next year, who would be paid about $100k.

    State legislatures could be similarly operated.

    End of career politicians, big money in politics, and, best of all, political parties…

    Though we would certainly have some absolute idiots selected to represent us, I suspect it couldn’t be any worse than the system we already have.

  8. Rincon says:

    I have to admit, I kind of like it Winston. Winston Churchill summarized my greatest concern though: “The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter”” There’s a lot of stupidity out there…although, our present politicians are hardly immune.

  9. zip says:

    Here’s an example of what and who Reid is not for: http://www.freedomworks.org/
    Anyone Reid’s against let’s us KNOW who’s more for us!
    And that includes his anti-God agenda – so that’s telling as well.

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