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Argument: Corporate free speech enhances the public debate

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Supporting quotations

Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission 5-4 Majority Opinion of the Court: "Speech is an essential mechanism of democracy, for it is the means to hold officials accountable to the people. See Buckley, supra, at 14–15 (“In a republic where the people are sovereign, the ability of the citizenry to make informedchoices among candidates for office is essential”). The right of citizens to inquire, to hear, to speak, and to use information to reach consensus is a precondition toenlightened self-government and a necessary means toprotect it. The First Amendment “‘has its fullest and most urgent application’ to speech uttered during a campaignfor political office.” Eu v. San Francisco County Democ-ratic Central Comm., 489 U. S. 214, 223 (1989) (quoting Monitor Patriot Co. v. Roy, 401 U. S. 265, 272 (1971)); see Buckley, supra, at 14 (“Discussion of public issues and debate on the qualifications of candidates are integral to the operation of the system of government established by our Constitution”).

For these reasons, political speech must prevail against laws that would suppress it, whether by design or inadver-tence. [...]

[...] it is inherent in the nature of the political proc-ess that voters must be free to obtain information from diverse sources in order to determine how to cast their votes. At least before Austin, the Court had not allowed the exclusion of a class of speakers from the general public dialogue. We find no basis for the proposition that, in the context of political speech, the Government may impose restric-tions on certain disfavored speakers. Both history andlogic lead us to this conclusion.

[...]Corporations and otherassociations, like individuals, contribute to the ‘discussion, debate, and the dissemination of information and ideas’ that the First Amendment seeks to foster” (quoting Bel-lotti, 435 U. S., at 783)). The Court has thus rejected theargument that political speech of corporations or other associations should be treated differently under the FirstAmendment simply because such associations are not “natural persons.” Id., at 776; see id., at 780, n. 16. Cf. id., at 828 (Rehnquist, J., dissenting).

[...] Political speech is “indispensable to decisionmaking in a democracy, and this is no less true because the speech comes from a corporation rather than an individual.” Bellotti, 435 U. S., at 777 (footnote omitted); see ibid."


Bill Maurer. "Corporate free speech is not un-American." Seattle Times. February 1, 2010: "This is America. We do not ban books. We do not make it a crime to speak because the speech may be too influential. With this decision, Americans will get more information, hear more debate, and learn more about their elections. [...] what could be more American than that?"


"Corporate Free Speech." Republicans and Conservatives Archives. January 23, 2010: "7. Corporate speech, then, is merely a tool for the exercise of the inviolable individual right of free speech. It is an absolutely necessary tool for the public's desire to create a balance of powers in the exercise of public discussion of politcal matters."

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