Not only are Democrats wrong on principle in their unified effort to legislatively repeal the Supreme Court’s Citizens United v. FEC ruling, they are wrong in their rationale.
The 5-4 Citizens opinion stated it is unconstitutional on First Amendment free speech grounds to limit spending on political speech by corporations and unions.
At one point Sen. Harry Reid, in arguing for a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens, stated:
But the flood of special interest money into our American democracy is one of the greatest threats our system of government has ever faced. Let’s keep our elections from becoming speculative ventures for the wealthy and put a stop to the hostile takeover of our democratic system by a couple of billionaire oil barons. It is time that we revive our constituents’ faith in the electoral system, and let them know that their voices are being heard.
His heir in the Senate, Catherine Cortez Masto, has taken up the cudgel, saying in a press release in support of another attempt February to amend the constitution:
The U.S. Constitution puts democratic power in the hands of the American people — not corporations or private companies. Since the Citizens United decision, big corporations have gained unprecedented influence over elections and our country’s political process. I am proud to be a cosponsor of this legislation; it’s critical that we end unlimited corporate contributions if we are going to have a democratic process and government that will truly work for all Americans.
The Democrats in the Nevada Legislature waded in with a resolution urging Congress to amend the First Amendment and overturn Citizens. It passed without a single Republican vote.
This week their bleating about elections being bought and paid for by the wealthy was proven dead wrong, again.
Not only was President Trump outspent by loser Hillary Clinton by two-to-one, but now in a race for a Georgia House seat the Democratic candidate outspent his Republican opponent by seven-to-one and still lost.
And talk about special interest money. The Democrat Jon Ossoff, between March 29 and May 31, reported receiving 7,218 donations from California, but only 808 donations from Georgia. Overall, he got $456,296.03 from Californians, compared to $228,474.44 from Georgians.
The Democrats are not only losing elections, but are losing the argument about the effectiveness of the influence of outside money. Being able to spend your own money on political speech is tantamount to free speech, but not to convincing speech.
In Citizens, the late Justice Antonin Scalia wrote:
The (First) Amendment is written in terms of “speech,” not speakers. Its text offers no foothold for excluding any category of speaker, from single individuals to partnerships of individuals, to unincorporated associations of individuals, to incorporated associations of individuals — and the dissent offers no evidence about the original meaning of the text to support any such exclusion. We are therefore simply left with the question whether the speech at issue in this case is “speech” covered by the First Amendment. No one says otherwise.