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Congress Prepares To Repeal Freedom Of Speech  
User currently offlineN400QX From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Posted (12 years 6 months 2 weeks 4 days 22 hours ago) and read 1722 times:

Just a Gag?
Congress prepares to repeal freedom of speech.

BY PETE DU PONT
Wednesday, February 13, 2002

The anti-First Amendment crowd is at work in Washington this week, attempting to limit political speech during election campaigns. Their vehicle is the Shays-Meehan campaign-finance bill, and their goal is to drive the money out of politics--even if it requires driving free speech out of political campaigns.
Rep. Harold Ford (D., Tenn.) wondered on television last summer why "any organization regardless [of whether] they are Democrat or Republican, conservative or liberal, [should] be allowed to come in and influence the outcome of elections solely to advance some narrow interest of theirs."

Why should they be allowed? Because the First Amendment says it's their right. Because the framers of the Constitution believed, as James Madison and Alexander Hamilton argued in Federalist No. 51, that the civil rights of citizens in the new republic depended on the voices of many interests being heard. And because if only candidates and the establishment media are allowed to speak in the 60 days before an election--which is the intent and effect of the Shays-Meehan bill--ordinary people will be all but voiceless and powerless in the crucial period during an election.




No doubt members of Congress think that is a good idea, because it is much easier to get re-elected if your opponent lacks the resources to mount an effective campaign. What elected official wants groups interested in some issue mucking about in his voting record and being able to air what they find in prime time?
But the question under debate is whether people of similar beliefs--be they anti-death-penalty liberals or pro-life conservatives, unions or corporations or nonprofits--may pool their resources to increase their political impact by talking on television about issues and candidates in the 60 days (the only days that really count) before an election.

Shays-Meehan says no; journalists can talk on television or radio, but others interested in an issue cannot. But the First Amendment is very clear that our opinions as citizens and the opinions of the press are equally protected. ("Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.") And so was the U.S. Supreme Court in Buckley v. Valeo, the definitive and unanimous 1976 campaign-regulation decision: "The concept that the government may restrict the speech of some elements in our society in order to enhance the relative voice of others is wholly foreign to the First Amendment."

What Shays-Meehan (and its Senate counterpart, McCain-Feingold) does is restrict the speech of challengers and enhance the speech of incumbents; it restricts the speech of citizens and thus enhances the speech of the media on issues they care about.

In an earlier column, I discussed some of the difficulties of political speech bans. But consider the actual effect of McCain-Feingold: Planned Parenthood and People for the American Way, the National Rifle Association and Americans for Tax Reform, your local Stop the Highway or Cut Property Taxes Committee--all of them among Rep. Ford's "narrow interest" organizations--would be forbidden to use their resources to run "electioneering communications" after Labor Day in an election year. But every newspaper and television station in your town and state could still support or denigrate every candidate every day. Why would any sensible person vote to limit the speech of individuals and organizations but not that of the media, which have as many opinions and biases as each of us does?




When McCain-Feingold was before the Senate last March, 40 senators voted for Sen. Fritz Hollings's proposed constitutional amendment that would exclude campaign speech from the protection of the First Amendment. As wrongheaded as it is, it is at least honest. Shays-Meehan's supporters propose to achieve the same result by stealth, for they know full well that a constitutional amendment has no chance of passing.
It is hard to imagine anything worse for the republic than to have campaign speech regulated, supervised, watched, controlled and authorized or prohibited by an agency of the national government. Our Founding Fathers carefully wrote the right to express our views on the issues of the day into the Constitution, and we should make sure it is not written out.

Mr. du Pont, a former governor of Delaware, is policy chairman of the Dallas-based National Center for Policy Analysis. His column appears Wednesdays.


Copyright © 2002 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

----------------------

I think I heard the bill goes to a vote at 2 a.m. tomorrow (Thursday) morning, so we still have time to contact our Congressmen.

PROTECT THE FIRST AMENDMENT

N400QX



34 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineHeavymetal From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 1, posted (12 years 6 months 2 weeks 4 days 22 hours ago) and read 1682 times:

Protect the First Ammendment...& the 2nd. And the 3rd. And the nation they represent.....and demolish this rancid system that allows those with the most money to set policy and write law.

Pass Shays-Meehan.


User currently offlineHeavymetal From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (12 years 6 months 2 weeks 4 days 22 hours ago) and read 1675 times:

See! Even Dubya's for it....

Washington Post

Hours before a historic series of votes on campaign finance reform, President Bush broke with House Republican leaders this morning and said through his spokesman that both of the leading proposals "make progress and improve the system."

"In analyzing the bills right now, they would both--in the president's opinion--improve the system and that is at the end of the day what he is looking for," White House press secretary Ari Fleischer said.



User currently offlineSuperfly From Thailand, joined May 2000, 39854 posts, RR: 74
Reply 3, posted (12 years 6 months 2 weeks 4 days 22 hours ago) and read 1667 times:

N400QX:
The First Amendment never applied to some Americans.
Must you be so gullible?



Bring back the Concorde
User currently offlinePendrilsaint From United States of America, joined Feb 2001, 685 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (12 years 6 months 2 weeks 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 1643 times:

Wow...Strangely enough , bush's administration is begining to resemble the Adam's administration ...If this were to pass it would be similar to the Alien and Sedition acts of the latel 18th century and probably wont last long...

User currently offlineN400QX From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 5, posted (12 years 6 months 2 weeks 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 1626 times:

>demolish this rancid system that allows those with the most money to set policy and write law

America doesn't work that way. We don't punish or restrict people just because they have money-- just as we don't do that for people who don't have money. I'm sure you all would have a hissy-fit if we applied the same rules to everyone.

>See! Even Dubya's for it....

I do not care if the President is for it... he has proven himself a bit left-leaning on the domestic front and is not the same man we elected, IMO.

>The First Amendment never applied to some Americans

Ummm... you must have a different copy of the Constitution, because mine says:

Congress shall make NO law... abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press...

You can't try to tell me you weren't high when you wrote that... of COURSE it applies to ALL Americans.

I don't think this will pass-- I mean, it can't pass. It is so hideously unconstitutional that no sane Congressman should vote for it and anyone who does should be replaced at the next election.

Thank God that nasty McCain-Feingold POS was struck down in the Senate.

N400QX
Uphold the Constitution...


User currently offlineKlaus From Germany, joined Jul 2001, 21442 posts, RR: 53
Reply 6, posted (12 years 6 months 2 weeks 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 1618 times:

N400QX: America doesn't work that way. We don't punish or restrict people just because they have money-- just as we don't do that for people who don't have money.

The chimp and the zebra are taking their exams. "This will be totally fair. So you´ve both got the same task: climb that tree over there!"

N400QX: I'm sure you all would have a hissy-fit if we applied the same rules to everyone.

If the rules say that power comes with responsibility, I´m perfectly fine with treating everybody equallyBig grin

But then, I´m not american...  Wink/being sarcastic


User currently offlineHoffa From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 7, posted (12 years 6 months 2 weeks 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 1600 times:

America doesn't work that way. We don't punish or restrict people just because they have money-- just as we don't do that for people who don't have money. I'm sure you all would have a hissy-fit if we applied the same rules to everyone.

Well obviously that needs to change. I'm not comfortable with corporations writing our laws and dictating our policy. Special interests are subverting the democratic will of the people, and something needs to be done about it.

You can't try to tell me you weren't high when you wrote that... of COURSE it applies to ALL Americans.

If this legislation violates the first amendment, I'll gladly let the Supreme Court say so. But its for the SCOTUS to say, not Enron and Boeing.
I do not care if the President is for it... he has proven himself a bit left-leaning on the domestic front and is not the same man we elected, IMO.

W, left leaning?!  Wow!


User currently offlineN400QX From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 8, posted (12 years 6 months 2 weeks 4 days 15 hours ago) and read 1580 times:

>Well obviously that needs to change

I disagree... that would go against our basic principles and we'd be no better than, well, I'll just leave it at that.  Big grin

>W, left leaning?!

Well, basically he has been all across the board and isn't being as conservative as his campaign would have suggested. I am disappointed, yet not surprised. Ok, maybe not "left leaning" per se, but definately lefter (if that is a word) leaning than he should be.

N400QX


User currently offlineHeavymetal From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 9, posted (12 years 6 months 2 weeks 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 1567 times:

Thank God that nasty McCain-Feingold POS was struck down in the Senate.

It passed the Senate, hun.

And if you think the 1st Ammendment allows any speech whatsoever, go visit the most Republican town you can find and try to say "fuc*" on the radio there.

In fact, I've a better idea. Wander down to the airport tommorow, buy your way on to an MD-80 or 737 and utter in all your 1st Ammendment glory the words "I have a bomb".


User currently offlineN400QX From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 10, posted (12 years 6 months 2 weeks 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 1561 times:

>It passed the Senate, hun.

Argh... sorry, my memory is failing at a young age. My mistake...

>And if you think the 1st Ammendment allows any speech whatsoever, go visit the most Republican town you can find and try to say "fuc*" on the radio there

Umm... ok, first of all, the bill that goes to a vote tomorrow morning limits political speech which is the main issue that the First Amendment addresses. Spewing expletives on the public airwaves is something entirely different-- it is vulgar and indecent. You are allowed to say those words, just not on a broadcast that anyone can listen in to.

>In fact, I've a better idea. Wander down to the airport tommorow, buy your way on to an MD-80 or 737 and utter in all your 1st Ammendment glory the words "I have a bomb".

Do you love to show off your ignorance or is this just a special thing tonight?

This goes all the way back to the screaming-'fire'-in-a-crowded-movie-theater scenario. You are creating a safety hazard by making such comments, which can violate others' rights.

A little thought would bring any rational person to these conclusions, in my opinion.

N400QX


User currently offlineHoffa From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 11, posted (12 years 6 months 2 weeks 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 1558 times:

The world's largest company (GE) dumps thousands of tons of highly-toxic PCB's into the Hudson River, affecting the lives of tens of thousands of people. Their idea of a solution to this public health crisis is to spend millions of dollars over the 20 years hiring influential Congressional lobbyists to forestall any legislation that would force them to dredge the poison out of the river.

So what about the the rights of those who have to drink water from a reservoir poisoned with PCB's? What about their first amendment rights?


User currently offlineB757300 From United States of America, joined Dec 2000, 4114 posts, RR: 23
Reply 12, posted (12 years 6 months 2 weeks 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 1554 times:

I was discussing this issue with my Constitutional law professor today. He is 100% sure if it does become law, it will never survive a court challenge. (He is as liberal as they come) The Supreme Court will strike it down as Unconstitutional because it limits certain persons Freedom of Speech but not others. If the bill gets out of Conference Committee and Bush is dumb enough to sign it, it will never survive to become law.


"There is no victory at bargain basement prices."
User currently offlineN400QX From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 13, posted (12 years 6 months 2 weeks 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 1556 times:

Umm... PCBs or no PCBs, this bill must be struck down because of its obvious violation of the Constitution. Period.

Besides, the big issue here is free speech in elections, not hiring lobbyists...


User currently offlineOzarkD9S From United States of America, joined Oct 2001, 5069 posts, RR: 21
Reply 14, posted (12 years 6 months 2 weeks 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 1550 times:

Bush and his ilk will try anything to turn this country into a Christian theocracy...paying lip-service to the Constitution while making the Bible the law of the land.
Fiscal conservatism is NOT the same as social conservatism. Be afraid....



Next Up: STL-LGA-RIC-ATL-STL
User currently offlineN400QX From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 15, posted (12 years 6 months 2 weeks 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 1549 times:

Riiiiiight....

User currently offlineB757300 From United States of America, joined Dec 2000, 4114 posts, RR: 23
Reply 16, posted (12 years 6 months 2 weeks 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 1544 times:

And the Bible has a bearing on this how?


"There is no victory at bargain basement prices."
User currently offlineN400QX From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 17, posted (12 years 6 months 2 weeks 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 1543 times:

No idea, nor would I expect such dimwits to be able to connect the dots...

But hey, if anyone would like to tell me how defeating unconstitutional campaign finance reform will turn America into a Christian theocracy, be my guest...  Insane

N400QX


User currently offlineHoffa From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 18, posted (12 years 6 months 2 weeks 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 1541 times:

If its unconstitutional, fine. I'm sure Scalia, Thomas, and the rest of the SCOTUS conservative hard-hitters will send it straight into the trash can. But who died and made Dick Armey and Tom Delay Supreme Court justices?

User currently offlineN400QX From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 19, posted (12 years 6 months 2 weeks 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 1538 times:

>But who died and made Dick Armey and Tom Delay Supreme Court justices?

Hoffa... um, I am not quite following you. So your stance is that Congress should pass everything that comes along and let SCOTUS decide if its constitutional? No! It is the responsibility of Congress to act out of respect of and in accordance to the United States Constitution.

If it isn't Constitutional, then don't vote for it! That's how all Congressmen should act (I only know of a few, unfortunately, that do).

N400QX


User currently offlineDELL_dude From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 20, posted (12 years 6 months 2 weeks 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 1537 times:

yeah, Superfly really didn't think before posting that.

lol


User currently offlineBWIrwy4 From United States of America, joined Nov 2001, 940 posts, RR: 1
Reply 21, posted (12 years 6 months 2 weeks 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 1529 times:

No, N400QX, it is not the responsibility of Congress to kill legislation based on its constitutionality. It is Congress' job to make laws that are in the best interests of the country. Then, if the law is challenged, then it is the Supreme Court's job to determine constitutionality. Remember, the Constitution says whatever the Supreme Court says it does. That is the idea behind the checks and balances system. Congress and the President have the jobs to make and enforce laws. Then, if a law is challenged, the Supreme Court interprets that law. That is not in Congress' job description. I believe that this legislation is important for the country, so, in my opinion, Congress has a responsibility to pass this bill, and then the Supreme Court can use their power to say what the limits of the law are.

User currently offlineN400QX From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 22, posted (12 years 6 months 2 weeks 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 1525 times:

>No, N400QX, it is not the responsibility of Congress to kill legislation based on its constitutionality. It is Congress' job to make laws that are in the best interests of the country.

Hmm.. have you read the Constitution much? Because I do, quite a bit actually, and its full of phrases such as, "Congress shall make no law..." and, "Congress shall...". Basically, it outlines what the Congress can and cannot do. The Congress MUST act within the power it is given by the Constitution (not that it does...). Furthermore, the Tenth Amendment clearly states that "the powers not delegated to the United States [read: Congress/Judicial branch/Executive branch] by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

Are the dots connecting now? Congress does not have free reign as some people would like to believe.

>Remember, the Constitution says whatever the Supreme Court says it does

Well, the Constitution says whatever the Constitution says and we are to hope the SCOTUS interprets the law carefully and accurately. We don't have a living document sitting over in the National Archives... If Congress screws up (whether intentionally or not) and passes unconstitutional legislation, it is to be rejected by the Supreme Court.

N400QX


User currently offlineN400QX From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 23, posted (12 years 6 months 2 weeks 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 1519 times:

Argh.... I am watching the House right now-- they just took a voice vote that sounded split, but possibly more on the 'aye' side. They're taking a 15 minute recorded vote now, but this isn't looking good......

This is really sad.

N400QX


User currently offlineBWIrwy4 From United States of America, joined Nov 2001, 940 posts, RR: 1
Reply 24, posted (12 years 6 months 2 weeks 4 days 10 hours ago) and read 1517 times:

Actually, since the founders could not envision everything that would come up over hundreds of years, the Constitution actually does say what the Supreme Court interprets it as saying. And sometimes the Supreme Court screws up (Dred Scott, Plessy vs. Ferguson) So, if Congress is supposed to make so certain that every law it passes follows the letter of the Constitution, then why do we even need a Supreme Court? The simple fact is, Congress makes laws, and the Court interprets what they say. So, if a law is a good law, Congress passes it, and then the Supreme Court irons out the Constitutional issues. That is how the U.S. Government is supposed to workThat is why we have judges in the SC, and not in Congress. Because the judges are legal scholars who are trusted to interpret the laws of the land, while Congress is full of members who don't have the background to do this. So, let Congress pass the laws that it will, and let the Supreme Court rein them in. That's how it works.

25 Post contains images N400QX : I am sad to bring the news that H.R. 2356 passed the House of Representatives, 240-189, two minutes ago. Well it still has to go through the Senate an
26 BWIrwy4 : Yes, Congress is supposed to follow the Constitution, but it is not supposed to interpret the Constitution. So, let Shays-Meenhan pass, and then lets
27 777236ER : Ah well. Freedom of speech is overrated, anyway.
28 B757300 : "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or
29 Post contains images Leftseat86 : We've got Bush's "Mini-me" in here LOL
30 Heavymetal : You are allowed to say those words, just not on a broadcast that anyone can listen in to. Right. And corporations, interest groups & gazillionaires ar
31 Cfalk : What would you say if Congress passed the following law: For the last 60 days of a campaign, the only opinions which are allowed to be communicated to
32 Post contains images N400QX : >And corporations, interest groups & gazillionaires are perfectly free to say whatever they want on an issue. Just not on a broadcast anyone can liste
33 Heavymetal : Umm.... no, you are totally comparing apples to oranges. I am to you. But we see life from two pretty damn different fruit baskets, don't we, Killer??
34 Iflycoach : I bumped more than N400QX
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