First Amendment, Last Chance

Posted in Weekly Newsletter on by .

firstamendmentWe don’t plan to waste space over the next 17 months commenting on the candidacy of Hillary Clinton: Aided by the Clinton political operation’s near four-decade history, those who can recognize a family of grifters have all the information they need. Those who can’t recognize it by now never will.

But last week Hillary put in sharp focus a concern far deeper than her candidacy or even—hard to believe—the outcome of the 2016 elections. With one remark, she laid bare how our understanding of constitutional governance has degenerated.

Hillary announced a litmus test for potential Supreme Court nominees.  They must vote to overturn the 2010 decision in Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission.

Recall that Citizens United was about a 2008 documentary critical of Hillary, produced by a Conservative organization that mistook her for the most dangerous entrant in that year’s presidential race. The Federal Elections Commission barred its presentation on cable TV, the producers sued, and the Supreme Court decided, 5-4, that the producers’ speech indeed merited First Amendment protection—a year after the election was over.

Hillary’s remark in plain English: I will use the federal courts to prohibit criticism of ME!

And still that’s not the main point. The main point is the appalling reality that in today’s America, a presidential candidate feels free to openly declare her intention to suppress freedom of speech and it costs her nothing politically.

In better days the media would have terminated a candidacy aiming to outlaw political criticism; now the media are active agents of speech-suppression, seeing this evil as the necessary price of excusing themselves from the inconvenience of defending their ideas.
A nation that responds with nonchalance is farther along toward self-destruction than it may appear.


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