‘The First Amendment Is Such a Nuisance’

by Rich Lowry

I wrote about the McCutcheon case in Politico today. 

One thing the critics tend to gloss over is that the biggest beneficiaries of McCutcheon will likely be the political parties. In their wisdom, so-called campaign-finance reformers decided to hamstring the fundraising of political parties, and then turned around and pronounced themselves appalled that outside players had gained so much importance at their expense. This decision is at least a small step toward re-balancing, and should be welcomed by everyone who considers the parties important institutions in American political life.

The larger issue is how free our political system will be:

At the root of the left’s opposition to McCutcheon, and Citizens United before it, is that it reduces governmental control over the political process. That control is taken, ipso facto, to be a good thing.

If the First Amendment gets in the way, so much the worse for the First Amendment. Remember: The position of the Obama administration in oral arguments over Citizens United was that the government could ban books printed by corporations. Nancy Pelosi, the House minority leader, has proposed amending the First Amendment to give the government more latitude to limit political expression.

In his decision, Roberts writes “that the First Amendment ‘is designed and intended to remove governmental restraints’ from the arena of public discussion, putting the decision as to what views should be voiced largely into the hands of each of us.” For those lamenting the decision, that is precisely the problem.


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