The lead article of the Spring 2010 issue of The Objective Standard is by Steve Simpson of the Institute for Justice. His article is entitled, “Citizens United and the Battle for Free Speech in America“.
The editor, Craig Biddle, has graciously made the full article available for free to non-subscribers.
As Simpson notes:
This is the battle at the heart of campaign finance laws. On one side is the view, held (albeit imperfectly) by most challengers of such laws, that the First Amendment protects an individual right to freedom of speech. On the other is the view, held by advocates of campaign finance laws, that the First Amendment protects speech only insofar as it serves, or at least does not thwart, equality of influence over the political process. In the middle is the Supreme Court, which has wavered between these poles, but, unfortunately, has all too often sided with the egalitarians.
The Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United, the latest skirmish in this battle, was a substantial victory for the individual rights interpretation of the First Amendment. To understand the significance of this ruling, we must begin by surveying the most relevant history of campaign finance laws. Then we will turn to the Citizens United decision itself, the controversy it ignited, and what the Court’s ruling means for freedom of speech and the future.
Read the full text of “Citizens United and the Battle for Free Speech in America“.
I really enjoyed this article because Simpson nicely laid out the opposing premises of both sides of the campaign finance debate and showed how they have played out in a series of laws and court decisions. If we have any chance of moving our country in the right direction by peaceful means, it will be by exercising our right to free speech. Hence anyone interested in the future of America should read this excellent article.
(As a matter of shameless self-promotion, the Spring 2010 issue also contains a book review by Ari Armstrong and a health care article by myself. A shorter version of my TOS article also appeared in PajamasMedia with Craig Biddle’s permission under the title, “ObamaCare vs. the Hippocratic Oath“.)