The First Amendment looks a little more robust today. The Supreme Court has tossed out federal rules limiting campaign spending.
The Supreme Court has ruled that corporations may spend freely to support or oppose candidates for president and Congress, easing decades-old limits on their participation in federal campaigns.
By a 5-4 vote, the court on Thursday overturned a 20-year-old ruling that said corporations can be prohibited from using money from their general treasuries to pay for their own campaign ads. The decision, which almost certainly will also allow labor unions to participate more freely in campaigns, threatens similar limits imposed by 24 states.
It leaves in place a prohibition on direct contributions to candidates from corporations and unions.
Critics of the stricter limits have argued that they amount to an unconstitutional restraint of free speech, and the court majority apparently agreed.
”The censorship we now confront is vast in its reach,” Justice Anthony Kennedy said in his majority opinion, joined by his four more conservative colleagues.
No one likes “special interest” spending on elections. But if the government is going to have the power to tax, regulate, and destroy individuals, companies, and industries, they must have the right to influence who gets elected to the government.