Citizens United: Two Years of Free Speech

Two years ago the United States Supreme Court decided the landmark case of Citizens United v. FEC. The Court reversed an anomaly in campaign finance law by restoring the First Amendment protection of political speech.

Over the past two years Citizens United’s victory has been the subject of countless attacks. It has inspired some members of Congress to attempt to pass legislation to chill political speech, caused the President to chastise the Supreme Court during the State of the Union, and even led to irrational demands that we amend the Constitution to curtail the Freedom of Speech.

Despite the heated rhetoric, little in politics has changed. Before Citizens United, candidates, independent groups and political parties ran political ads. Shockingly, the same is true after Citizens United. Some lament the amount of money spent on political speech, but as George Will has noted, Americans will spend more money on Easter candy than they spend electing a President.

The liberal drumbeat against the decision seems to be led by a group of leftist non-profit organizations. These groups, with such good governance names as Democracy Unlimited, Democracy 21, Public Citizen, and Common Cause, are fighting to overturn the First Amendment.

One such non-profit organization, Democracy Unlimited, has launched the Move to Amend campaign. Their campaign hopes to pass a constitutional amendment to curtail the First Amendment. This group plans to celebrate the second anniversary of the Citizens United decision by staging “Occupy the Courts” protests across the country. While the corporate-owned press will praise these protests, I have little doubt that if a conservative non-profit employed a similar tactic it would be dismissed as “Astroturf” lobbying, rather than heralded as a populist uprising. Of course the anti-corporate speech protest is paid for and sponsored by Democracy Unlimited.

When I sued the FEC I was fighting to protect the freedom of speech. I’m glad to see these liberals and their corporate sponsors exercising that right.

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