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Fw: Justice Thomas' Dire Prediction

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  • Robert M. Pritchett
    This is part of why the so-called campaign finance reform that was upheld is really incumbent protection and makes things worse, not better. Note that it was
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 9, 2004
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      This is part of why the so-called "campaign finance reform" that was upheld is
      really incumbent protection and makes things worse, not better. Note that it
      was called the BI-partisan campaign "reform" act, not multipartisan or
      nonpartisan or just partisan or political. It was specifically designed to
      maintain the 2 party monopoly and prevent challengers from voicing valid
      criticism of incumbents during the campaign season.

      .
      Robert M. Pritchett, Libertarian for Justice of the Peace
      Vote4RMP@... - http://vote4rmp.rmpcp.com
      MY EARTHLINK ADDRESS IS GOING AWAY SOON
      .
      .
      ----- Original Message -----
      From: <RCRreport@...>;
      <distribution-request@...>
      To: <distribution@...>; <lp@...>
      Sent: Friday, January 09, 2004 05:16 AM
      Subject: Justice Thomas' Dire Prediction



      RealCampaignReform.org - Fighting the Good Fight

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      Justice Thomas' Dire Prediction
      -- Why the institutional press should be scared by the
      Supreme Court's decision to uphold McCain-Feingold

      Originally published on December 26, 2003 at...
      http://www.razormouth.com/archives/00000298.htm

      by Jim Babka

      The First Amendment died earlier this month.

      And if the First Amendment is dead, can we honestly claim
      to be a democratic republic any more?

      This is not hyperbole. Imagine you're at a meeting of
      civically minded folks and it's nearly Election Day. Your
      Congressman is just about to vote on an issue of great
      concern to your group. You suggest that it's time to pass
      around a hat, collect some money, and buy an add alerting
      your neighbors - urging them to call the Congressman. You
      collect the money, and the next morning you go to buy your
      ad.

      You think you're being a good American - getting involved
      in the democratic process. After all, the First Amendment
      said you have the freedom to associate - which you did,
      with other civically-minded people. That same amendment
      also said you have a right to petition for redress of
      grievances, and that you have free speech and press rights
      - so you can make a commercial that might reflect poorly on
      your Congressman.

      After all, this is America.

      But if you haven't filed for your "license," you'd be
      wrong. You need to become familiar with a complex web of
      laws, or you need to hire the consultants, lawyers, and
      accountants who already are familiar with those decrees -
      before you GO to your local station, even before you
      collect the proverbial $200. Because if you don't, then
      you'll go directly to jail.

      Who came up with such an idea? Why, incumbent politicians
      of course. It bothers them to be criticized. They'll
      grudgingly put up with it from their opponents because
      challengers usually can't raise sufficient money to
      publicly and effectively broadcast similar criticism, and
      they haven't (yet) found a "Supreme Court-sanctioned"
      method for suppressing their opponents.

      But if you and your neighbors discuss an incumbent's record
      in a paid commercial, those are now called "sham issue
      ads." According to the majority of the Supreme Court, you
      need government approval to criticize a politician

      However, Justices Thomas, Scalia, and Kennedy were a bit
      old-fashioned. They said this new law, the Bipartisan
      Campaign Reform Act (BCRA), better known as McCain-
      Feingold, violated free speech and free press rights.

      Just in case you think I'm full of hyperbole, or something
      worse - that I've overstated the damage done to the First
      Amendment or that the members of Congress who supported
      this bill had good intentions - consider these quotes that
      Justice Scalia cut and pasted into his judicial opinion...

      "This bill is about slowing the ad war... making sure the
      flow of negative ads by outside interest groups does
      not continue to permeate the airwaves"
      Senator Maria Cantwell, D-WA

      "These so-called issues ads... directly attack
      candidates without any accountability. It is brutal...
      We have an opportunity in the McCain-Feingold bill to
      stop that..."
      Senator Barbara Boxer, D-CA

      "I think these issue advocacy ads are a nightmare. I
      think all of us should hate them... [By passing the
      legislation], we could get some of this poison politics
      off television."
      the late Senator Paul Wellstone, D-MN

      Justice Thomas closed his opinion by predicting that the
      institutional press had seen their rights downgraded to a
      privilege, granted by the good graces of Congress. He
      wrote,

      Media corporations are influential...What is to stop a
      future Congress from determining that the press is "too
      influential," and that the "appearance of corruption"
      is significant when media organizations endorse
      candidates or run "slanted" or "biased" news stories...?
      ...what is to stop a future Congress from concluding
      that the availability of unregulated media corporations
      creates a loophole that allows for easy circumvention
      of the limitations of the current campaign finance
      laws?

      Indeed, I believe that longstanding and heretofore
      unchallenged opinions such as Miami Herald v. Tornillo,
      are in peril... Now, supporters... need only argue that
      the press capacity to manipulate popular opinion, gives
      rise to an "appearance of corruption"... After drumming
      up some evidence, laws regulating media outlets in
      their issuance of editorials would be upheld under the
      [Majority's] reasoning.

      "...Although today's opinion does not expressly strip
      the press of First Amendment protection, there is no
      principle of law or logic that would prevent the
      application of the Court's reasoning in that setting.
      The press now operates at the whim of Congress."

      Days before McCain-Feingold was to be debated in the US
      Senate, columnist George Will called an old colleague, Paul
      Weyrich of the Free Congress Foundation. He got right to
      the point, "I hope you and yours are doing everything you
      can to defeat McCain-Feingold in the House." Weyrich said
      his troops were gearing up as they spoke. To which Will
      replied, "I assumed that was the case, but I wanted to be
      sure. This is the end of the world, you know."

      It may not be _the_ Apocalypse, but the enactment of
      McCain-Feingold signals the death of an already bruised and
      battered 1st Amendment. And the destruction of the First
      Amendment means an apocalypse for democracy.

      American Democracy, R.I.P.
      -----
      Jim Babka is the president of RealCampaignReform.org, Inc.
      and the American Liberty Foundation.


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