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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Free speech is now dead. Using the ploy of "compelling state interest" (with which one can argue for the infringement of any right by the way which is why its a fraudulent standard) the Supreme Court has now killed the 1st Amendment, and our country with it as far as Im concerned, with a 5-4 decision.

Story

Note that once again this radical activist court has gone against years of precedent in which the court has repeatedly ruled that money equals speech. Apparently they have ignored that and have even gone one step beyond and have ruled that speech isnt speech and have upheld the ban on tv ads 60 days before an election.

Here is the full data, both majority and dissenting opinion:

Decision

Anyways, with the 1st Amendment totally gutted like this its really only a matter of time.
 

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HUHHHH?

How does limiting soft money donations take away anybody's right to free speech? Soft money is just a scam that all the political parties invented to get around the legal restrictions on campaign contributions to candidates. The laws previously limited donatiuons to candidates, so the parties claimed that donations to "the party general fund" was not the same thing. hence, soft money was born as a way to keep the millions piped into the candidates and skirt the law. This ruling goes under the heading of slapping plaster on a loophole.



here is the article:



Supreme Court Upholds 'Soft Money' Limits

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

WASHINGTON — A sharply divided Supreme Court (search) upheld key features of the nation's new law intended to lessen the influence of money in politics, ruling Wednesday that the government may ban unlimited donations to political parties.

Those donations, called "soft money" and totaling hundreds of millions of dollars,had become a mainstay of modern political campaigns, used to rally voters to the polls and to pay for sharply worded television ads.

Congress may regulate campaign money to prevent the real or perceived corruption of political candidates, the court ruled in a 5-4 decision. That goal and most of the rules Congress drafted to meet it outweigh limitations on the free speech of candidates and others in politics, the majority said.

• Raw Data: Opinion, McConnell v. FEC (pdf)

At the same time, the court said the 2002 law will not stop the flow of campaign cash.

"We are under no illusion that (the law) will be the last congressional statement on the matter. Money, like water, will always find an outlet. What problems will arise, and how Congress will respond, are concerns for another day," Justices John Paul Stevens and Sandra Day O'Connor wrote for the majority.

The court also voted 5-4 to uphold restrictions on political ads in the weeks before an election. The television and radio ads often feature harsh attacks by one politician against another or by groups running commercials against candidates.

Rep. Marty Meehan (search), D-Mass., a co-author of the law, called the decision a "major victory for American democracy." He acknowledged the law won't stop all forms of abuse in the system, but it ends the era when "special interest groups could control the national political parties and underwrite federal campaigns by writing unlimited checks."

The justices struck down only two provisions of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (search) — a ban on political contributions from those too young to vote and a limitation on some party spending that is independent of a particular candidate.

The law hasn't stopped the flow of big money, but it has changed its course. In the months since the law took effect, several partisan interest groups have popped up to collect corporate, union and unlimited individual donations to try to influence next year's elections, including several on the Democratic side focused on the presidential race.

Supporters of the new law said the donations from corporations, unions and wealthy individuals capitalized on a loophole in the existing, Watergate-era campaign money system.

"Soft money" is a catchall term for money that is not subject to existing federal caps on the amount individuals may give and which is outside the old law prohibiting corporations and labor unions from making direct campaign donations.

Federal election regulators had allowed soft money donations outside those restrictions so long as the money went to pay for get-out-the-vote activities and other party building programs run by the political parties.

Soft money allowed the three national Democratic Party committees to match their GOP rivals nearly dollar-for-dollar on get-out-the-vote and issue ad resources in the 2002 election.

The Democratic committees raised about $246 million in soft money in the last election cycle, compared with $250 million for the Republicans.

Supporters of the new law said that in practice, soft money was funneled to influence specific races for the House, Senate or the White House, and that donors, parties and candidates all knew it.

In addition to Stevens and O'Connor, Justices David Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer signed the main opinion. Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist and Justices Antonin Scalia, Anthony Kennedy and Clarence Thomas dissented on most issues. Swing voter Kennedy struck a compromise on one portion of the law. He said he would vote to uphold a soft money ban only as it applies to federal candidates and officeholders.

The majority's ruling bars candidates for federal office, including incumbent members of Congress or an incumbent president, from raising soft money.

The majority also barred the national political parties from raising this kind of money, and said their affiliates in the individual states may not serve as conduits for soft money.

Without soft money, politicians and political parties may only take in donations that are already allowed in limited amounts, such as a private individual's small re-election donation to his or her local member of Congress.

That means no more huge checks from wealthy donors, and no contributions from the treasuries of corporations or labor unions.

The Supreme Court's 300-page ruling on the 2002 campaign finance overhaul settles legal and constitutional challenges from both the political right and the left. Although the reform effort was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Bush, many politicians and others in the business of politics were leery of it.

The law is often known as "McCain-Feingold" — named for its chief Senate sponsors, Sens. John McCain (search), R-Ariz., and Russ Feingold (search), D-Wis. McCain built his maverick 2000 presidential campaign largely around the assertion that the old system of political money laws was full of holes.

The new rules have been in force during the early stages of preparation for the 2004 elections for president and Congress. The high court ruling means those rules remain largely untouched as the political seasons heats up. The first delegate-selection contests are just weeks away, in January.

A lower court panel of federal judges had issued its own, fractured ruling on the new law earlier this year, but the Supreme Court got the last word.

The justices cut short their summer vacation to hear an extraordinary four hours of oral arguments on the issue in early September. The court's regular term began a month later.

The case marked the court's most detailed look in a generation at the complicated relationships among those who give and receive campaign cash. The case also presented a basic question about the wisdom of the government policing political give and take.

The court has given government an extensive role in the area on grounds that there is a fundamental national interest in rooting out corruption or even the appearance of it. That concern justifies limitations on the freedom of speech, the court has said.
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
The bill bans political ads 60 days before an election. That means the only political speech on TV will come from government licensed mass media corporations. I would expect anyone to see the extreme danger inherent in that.

PS The reason I didnt put the whole body of text in my message is because Moderators have complained that it wastes space. Just click the link next time people.
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
In the words of Justice Kennedy from the conclusion of the dissenting opinion that he wrote:

"The First Amendment underwrites the freedom to ex-
periment and to create in the realm of thought and speech.
Citizens must be free to use new forms, and new forums,
for the expression of ideas. The civic discourse belongs to
the people and the Government may not prescribe the
means used to conduct it.
The First Amendment commands that "Congress shall
make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech." The
command cannot be read to allow Congress to provide for
the imprisonment of those who attempt to establish new
political parties and alter the civic discourse. Our plural-
istic society is filled with voices expressing new and differ-
ent viewpoints, speaking through modes and mechanisms
that must be allowed to change in response to the demands
of an interested public. As communities have grown and
technology has evolved, concerted speech not only has be-
come more effective than a single voice but also has become
the natural preference and efficacious choice for many
Americans. The Court, upholding multiple laws that sup-
press both spontaneous and concerted speech, leaves us less
free than before. Todays decision breaks faith with our
tradition of robust and unfettered debate. "
 

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I agree with Mus. Especially the 60 days prior to elections ban. Also, watch and see if they don't go after conservative talk radio hosts based on this. And that would demosntrate just why the 1st amendment was written. So that folks can discuss political opinions without fear of retribution to anyone who will listen.

Don't worrry. If the 1st amendment doesn't get you too ruffled up, just wait til they hear a case on the 2nd amendment, folks. It's a slippery slope we've started down. This is why Bush's judge nominations need to be fought for. Especially Estrada, who they were suggesting would be a likely Supremem Court candidate.
 

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Wow, so the soft money ban is justified as a way of blocking "loopholes" in the prior unconstititutional free speech infringements (earlier campaign financing controls).



BTW - don't worry, episodes of West Wing (where any given "issue" is portrayed in the liberal's terms with its opponents strawmen who eat babies) will still go on, freedom of speech is secure.

:rolleyes:


The NRA is on the right track, sadly. Only those who are a state-ordained "qualified" information provider are allowed to mention politics within 60 days of an election, on TV. You want to talk, you have to be a "media" outlet.

No doubt, this new "loophole" will be closed, to weed out political advertisements (Rush Limbaugh show) from legitimate news sources (Peter Jennings, Tom Brokaw, and anything Michael Moore says).

If web pages were read more by the average slob, they'd be going after them too. (Of course, the web filters in socialist institutions such as schools and libraries already filter out the NRA's website :) )
 

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MUS you are correct sir. I find it somewhat amazing that we go to great lengths to protect fringe forms of speach like music, art, pr0n, and the ability to burn the countries flag and yet we allow this countries law makers to pass a bill containing measures that prevent FREE political speach during a time when it makes the most impact!

The concern here is not just about political TV adds, but rather the fact that this rulling will be used as basis for further rullings in related situations. TV is prohibited... is talk radio which also uses the public airways also subject? Is the content of the opinions of a radio host considered political?

Go a step further... could religious programing be considered political? and how much longer before they decide that the public airwaves are not just subject to the broadcasts of TV or radio, but rather also public orrations? The internet? Newspapers?

What about magazines? Have any of you read about the ruling from a Federal judge who has determined that the unnamed source of the SI journalist who blew the whistle on Mike Price HAS to be revealed? Something about Magazine articles not being subject to the same journalistic protection?

This might sound like chicken little, but controlling TV and radio has a huge impact on controlling the way that opinions are formed in this country. Control what people hear and see, and this country does not spend enough time with printed media to make a decision about PEPSI vs COKE let alone form an important social or government opinion. When you see things like this happen, its not hard to see where a serious change in our own personal liberties could change in just a few short years.
 

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I agree

with Mus. The entire Bill of Rights is on fire. We are witnessing the end of the USA as it was designed to function. I have seen this happen during most of my 55 years a little bit at a time. The most frustrating thing is the inability to stop it. The sheep are marching right over the cliff.
 

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considering that the majority of 'informed citizens' still get 90% of their news from tv and newspapers, this decision gives the editors of those sources almost an unchallenged monopoly on what people 'learn' in the two months leading up to elections.. and most people don't even start to pay attention up until then

if those news sources weren't exempt from the 60 day blackout, you better believe this would have been THE news story of the year.. they'd be screaming "censorship!" and citing the 1st Amendment in every edition

but they're conveniently silent when it only affects EVERYONE ELSE
 

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Discussion Starter #11
NaturalSelector said:
This might sound like chicken little, but controlling TV and radio has a huge impact on controlling the way that opinions are formed in this country. Control what people hear and see, and this country does not spend enough time with printed media to make a decision about PEPSI vs COKE let alone form an important social or government opinion. When you see things like this happen, its not hard to see where a serious change in our own personal liberties could change in just a few short years.
Absolutely. It can happen here.
 

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sadley we have a SUPREME COURT that writes laws, for you who failed high school thats suppost to be the legisative power the court is suppost to interpet them. whats so hard to interpet in the words 'SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED UPON' as to take a panel of justices to determine it's meaning.
 

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This one I find alittle less straightforward than others. On the one hand, I can not in any sense agree that money itself in the form of "political campaign contributions" equates to "speech". However, money is a necessary element in certain forums such as print, radio and TV. More specifically at issue here is the prohibition on political ads "60 days prior". This IS a blatant attack on the 1st. Not that I think that the Bush and Kerry campaigners have anything worth airing in the November round of WWF; but who knows, maybe the next guy that get's matching federal campaign money will actually get his right to debate the two stars in the ring too.

I have to agree, too that this - and other issues are hailing the final stages of the lliteral destruction of this country. We have other issues too. Like computerized voting - with no paper trail. I'll bet the source codes for that system are worth a pile (a big pile) of money to quite a number of people ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
LAK said:
More specifically at issue here is the prohibition on political ads "60 days prior".
I agree with that. The blanket speech prohibition is more problematic than the money donating restrictions.
 

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I believe I had read somewhere that this was specifically targeted at the NRA and other such organizations to limit its effectiveness.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
scubie02 said:
I believe I had read somewhere that this was specifically targeted at the NRA and other such organizations to limit its effectiveness.
Yes, at so called "special interest groups" (our interests).
 

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Thats the thing that disgusts me the most about our liberal democratic brethren--their willingness to attempt endruns around the law, with no twinges of conscience whatsover apparently. Can't get the gun control laws you want passed? Well, just launch frivilous lawsuits and try to bankrupt the companies. Your crappy candidates can't get elected? Maybe you could keep your opponents from talking about them...
 

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This is horrible!

The founding fathers have got to be spinning in their graves!

The worst part of it all is how the irresponsible media failed to educate the public on how our elected representatives were going to violate the Constitution right in front of us. I mean, where was the outrage? Even fairly conservative news outlets like Fox News were pretty much MIA on educating it's audience on how the Bill of Rights was going to be burnt in front of them for all to see.

You see, I am more pissed about the restrictions on speech, rather than the restrictions on money. Hell ,the money will find it's way there...count on it. When you lose the power to inform people..well..you have a much lesser free society.

Awful!

Between this and the images of our soldiers torturing the Iraqui prisoners I just saw this morning, I am getting tired of defending America and its policies and leaders. Theres less to be proud of everyday. Sad.

I really hate to say that...but the disgust overcomes me at the moment!

- Bimmercat
 

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Discussion Starter #20 (Edited)
Bush is the most responsible for it in my view. He signed it as an effort at triangulation. Everyone knew it polled really low on what people cared about (below the environment which is pretty far down there). He said he knew it was unconstitutional and that the Supreme Court would strike it down but signed it anyways. Well suprise suprise the Supreme Court didnt strike it down, saying that it was acceptable to limit speech, "to avoid even the appearance of corrruption."

He couldnt have vetoed one damn thing in four years (as far as I know he still hasnt)?

PS The Supreme Courts decision was an about face in the presence of decades of precedence that holds that money equals speech.
 
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