Hillary Clinton told a group of her top fundraisers Thursday that if she is elected president, her nominees to the Supreme Court will have to share her belief that the court’s 2010 Citizens United decision must be overturned, according to people who heard her remarks.
Clinton’s emphatic opposition to the ruling, which allowed corporations and unions to spend unlimited sums on independent political activity, garnered the strongest applause of the afternoon from the more than 200 party financiers gathered in Brooklyn for a closed-door briefing from the Democratic candidate and her senior aides, according to some of those present.
Might I remind you, dear reader, that Citizens United involved a non-profit organization that was prohibited from distributing a film critical of Hillary Clinton. Prior restraint of the worst sort. Political speech is the very speech that the 1st Amendment was most meant to protect. The Founding Fathers didn’t just have bright idea about free speech toss it in the Bill of Rights. It was a reaction to various edicts and acts of the British that curtailed the rights of Americans to participate in the politics that affected their lives.
And that is exactly what Citizens United was attempting to do- participate in the politics that affected their lives.
But the excruciatingly bad McCain-Feingold law allowed the Federal Elections Commission to haul CU before a district court, which held that the movie, Hillary- The Movie, was little more than a negative campaign ad, and thus could not be shown, nor advertisements for the movie, within certain dates of a primary or general election, as Citizens United was, as a 501(c)4 entity, a corporation.
Mind you, this is after Citizens United unsuccessfully pled to the FEC that Michael Moore’s Farenheight 9/11 similarly failed to withstand McCain-Feingold scrutiny. That is, it’s okay for Democrats to bash Republicans, but not okay for conservatives to bash Democrats.
The Solicitor General of the United States of America actually stood there before the Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States and argued that not only was this perfectly acceptable, so too could the government ban any book that had so much as a single sentence that the FEC, in its sole discretion, felt called for the election of one candidate, or the defeat of another.
The Supreme Court ruled against the FEC, and in favor of Citizens United. That’s the good news. The bad news is, it was by the skin of its teeth in a 5-4 split.
Aside from the obvious free speech issue, it is also a free association issue. Corporations are just that, associations of people, who invest their money toward a common goal. The law treats corporations as artificial people because they do in fact stand in stead of real people who share ownership of the corporation. And to the end, the corporation’s free speech is a reflection of their own free speech.
In spite of an unending propaganda blitz to convince you otherwise, corporations are still prohibited from directly contributing to political candidate’s campaigns. But they are allowed, just like people, to contribute however much they wish to independent efforts to advertise for or against candidates.
But rather than cherishing the political speech at the very heart of the 1st Amendment, Hillary Clinton insists the most important ideological aspect of any Justice she might appoint is that they be willing to prohibit criticism of her.