By Scott Tibbs, January 29, 2010
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. -- The First Amendment
The above is a crystal clear limitation on what Congress may not do. The literal, word for word text of the first Amendment clearly states that "Congress shall make no law... abridging the freedom of speech." There is no exception for corporations, non-citizens, or any specific group of people. The First Amendment simply and clearly states that Congress shall make no law abridging free speech rights. So why is it that the Supreme Court's decision banning government's century old restrictions of corporate speech so controversial?
Leftists have been howling loudly that this decision represents "judicial activism" and alleging that conservatives who support the decision are hypocrites. That's just laughable. Judicial activism is understood by most people as "legislating from the bench," where a court "finds" some sort of concept that is not in the text of the Constitution or the law and then implements their own personal agenda. What the SCOTUS did last week was adhere to the literal, word-for-word text of the First Amendment and throw out bad decisions that ignored the very clear words of the Constitution.
Speech requires spending, so spending is speech. You have to spend money to print anything, or to buy air time on TV and radio. Even with web sites, you have to pay for hosting and internet access. Saying that limiting spending does not limit speech is like saying rationing gasoline does not limit the ability to drive. Money is speech.
What makes this relevant for voters in southeastern Indiana is that Baron Hill voted for "campaign finance reform" in the House. Baron Hill voted for a law that violates the clear words of the First Amendment spelling out what Congress may not do. Why did he do this? Baron Hill voted to violate the Constitution for the same reason he attempted to suppress free speech and academic freedom last September: for personal political gain. For career politicians like Baron Hill, the liberty of the American people is a distant second to their political ambitions.
Baron Hill knows tight restrictions on campaign spending benefits incumbents like him. Incumbents enjoy plenty of free media and have a huge amount of resources available to promote themselves and their agenda. In order to compete with the advantages of incumbency, challengers need to be able to raise and spend money to counter the advantages of incumbency. Baron Hill wants to limit competition and make it more difficult to unseat him.
Baron Hill was already fired once by the voters. In November, he will be fired again.