Sunday, April 29, 2012

Is money speech?

I keep hearing proponents of political finance reform complaining that the supreme court has ruled that "money is speech", when it simply isn't true. The court has not ruled that money itself is "speech", but simply that attempts to control and limit money spent on political speech is implicitly an attempt to control and limit speech. It really is that simple, but people continue to erroneously assert that the court has ruled that "money is speech."
My understanding is that the government is still able to regulate money spent on political speech, but simply is not permitted to regulate in a way that has the effect of stifling anyone's speech.
In short, money is not speech and the supreme court has not asserted that money is speech, but any otherwise protected speech that is curtailed by limitations on political spending is speech that has been infringed, and therefore the First Amendment right to freedom of speech has been violated.
Granted, proponents of political finance reform are seeking "fairness" and to "level the playing field", but however laudable those goals might be on a partisan political basis, they don't automatically trump constitutional protections.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home