An Inconvenient Liberty
There are those times when America’s, and probably the whole of Mankind’s, highest, noblest, and most singularly important document, the Constitution, is a suicide letter for America’s democracy. The US Supreme Court’s decision in the case of Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission is one of those times.
Sometimes maintaining liberty carries with it a great weight of inconvenience to the sensibilities of the individual members of the populace who cannot see the benefit to upholding the guiding principles of our great nation when doing so places, or seems to place, our way of life in jeopardy.
I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it.
— Thomas Jefferson
Letter to Archibald Stuart, Dec 23, 1791
The SCOTUS’ decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission overruled and struck down most of the federal laws limiting corporations and labor unions from using their own wealth to fund or create and disseminate political messages and/or ads during elections as being unconstitutional and in contravention of the 1st Amendment thereof. The effects of this decision, given human nature, are very likely to be an “inconvenience” brought on the common man by too much liberty.
I, for one, certainly do not relish the thought of the media being inundated by political ads by corporations during each and every election cycle. Nor am I in any way sanguine about how that could effect the outcomes of those elections. Even more so, I do not relish experiencing the same thing from the labor unions and believe such electioneering ads would be far more likely to come from them than from corporations.
Yet, after reading the Courts decision and opinion, those of the previous cases they cited, and the body of law in question (US Code Title 2, Chapter 14, Subchapter I , § 441b), I am forced to agree with them. Removing the ban on both corporations and labor unions was the only constitutionally correct decision that the SCOTUS could render. The issues that may arise from maintaining Freedom of Speech are far less detrimental than those that would certainly arise from hampering or chilling it.
Tags: 1st Amendment | 2010 Elections | America | Democracy | Freedom | Law | Liberty | Politics | The Constitution | US Supreme Court