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Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The defeated inflating the victory -- campaign finance decision

OK, I'll post about a legal topic for a change -- though not in a particularly lawyerlike manner.

I've been looking at articles and posts about the USSC's latest 5-4 decision on campaign finance regulation. A couple of articles or posts (I don't remember which) are making this out to be a great victory for opponents of such regulation. Count me as an opponent -- I think political speech like "Vote for Joe and against Jack" is exactly the kind of political speech that the First Amendment is intended to protect to the fullest possible extent. And as an opponent of regulating political speech, I don't think the Roberts opinion, at least, is a great victory -- it's just a lot better than a defeat. It improves the status quo ante; it includes some good language that could have been used to greater effect; and it provides a wink-wink-nudge-nudge loophole of adequate size. Call me a grouch, but I consider it demeaning to have to phrase a political ad in a particular way to get it past censors.

UPDATE: I should read the opinions before commenting further, but here I go anyhow: SCOTUSBlog paraphrases Roberts as saying that "[th]e case did not provide an occasion to revisit [the 2003 ruling that upheld the constitutionality of the federal law restricting such radio and TV ads close to elections]." IMHO, cases provide such "occasions" when the Justices want them to. As did three of the Justices in the majority.

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