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FAN 16 (First Amendment News) — The Move to Amend & Leahy’s Upcoming Senate Hearing

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5 Responses

  1. Jon Roland says:

    Leaving aside the fact that it would be a bad idea to try to regulate speech or press in any way, the proposed amendment would be void for contradiction, because Section 3 contradicts Sections 1 and 2. There is no logical way to reconcile them with the right to press, which is the right involved (not speech).

    The entire bunkum about corporations reflects a profound lack of understanding of what a “person” or a “corporation” is. A “person” is a role, not the actor who plays the role, and all legal rights, powers, and duties attach to persons, not individual actors. A “corporation” is any combination of one or more persons who act in concert through an agent or trustee. Publishing on any large scale is always going to involve the use of agents, and every agency is a kind of corporation, even if if is a “corporation sole”.

    • Joe says:

      A “corporation” is any combination of one or more persons who act in concert through an agent or trustee.

      No. A corporation is a special sort of legal entity authorized by the government that is a subset of that sort of thing.

  2. Brett Bellmore says:

    It really is profoundly disappointing the about face so many liberals did on freedom of political speech, as soon as they started to think that people who agreed with them would get to be the censors. Why, you almost get the impression their earlier stance on free speech wasn’t really principled in the first place.

    The amendment’s assurances about freedom of the press are a joke. Freedom of the press isn’t the freedom of an institution, it’s the freedom of all of us to use the press, an instrumentality. The NYT is no more privileged in this regard than any political pamphleteer.

    And who can publish, if they can’t spend money to do it? The amendment even permits regulation of in kind contributions. They could, potentially, prohibit even providing a campaign with your volunteer labor.

    Really, bottom line, I’ve yet to see one of these amendments, (Aside from the flag burning thing, which while stupid, was at least very narrow in application.) that wouldn’t render freedom of political speech a thing of the past. And I think that’s no accident. The people pushing this are aspiring censors.

  3. Joe says:

    It is disappointing that Brett singles out “liberals” again when yet again he’s out for bigger game. Also, different sides, including conservatives, are “principled,” even if the principles are sometimes wrong. Also, since for a long time there were and continues to be limits on contributions (even if tempered by Citizens United), I don’t know what “past” is supposed to be involved here. Words have meanings.

    I’m no fan of such amendments, in part since I really don’t know what sort of line drawing is supposed to be involved here. True enough as Brett notes “press” involves a technique AND an institution (it is both though and has been in our historical experience), so that caveat at some point is a glaring one.

    Erwin Chemerinsky (especially) and Rick Hasen are “liberals” in various ways and big supporters of electoral regulations in this area & I second their views. The amendments proposed are at best promotional of the importance of some degree of campaign regulation, which Citizen United et. al. alleges is constitutional (a big thing it promotes is disclosure laws — so push for DISCLOSE ACT).

  4. Brett Bellmore says:

    I’m singling out “liberals” because they’re the people pushing these amendments. Like it says up above, no Republican co-sponsors for the amendment at all. Republicans have, in the past, proposed amendments to curb symbolic speech, (Flag burning) or fraudulent speech, (Stolen valor act), but it took Democrats to attempt a direct attack on freedom of political speech as such.

    Even going back to the “bipartisan” campaign finance reform act, it was only nominally bipartisan, mostly opposed byear Republcians. Democrats have had the 1st amendment in their sights for years. That’s just a brute fact. Now that you know you can’t get the Supreme court to OK political censorship, you’re trying to gut the First amendment directly.

    Not going to fly, but it demonstrates where you’re coming from: A bunch of political censors who only ever supported freedom of speech because you thought somebody else would get to play censor, not you.

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