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Argument: Free speech applies to corporate speakers as well

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Supporting quotations

Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission 5-4 Majority Opinion of the Court: "Less than two years after Buckley, Bellotti, 435 U. S. 765, reaffirmed the First Amendment principle that theGovernment cannot restrict political speech based on thespeaker’s corporate identity. Bellotti could not have been clearer when it struck down a state-law prohibition on corporate independent expenditures related to referenda issues:

“We thus find no support in the First . . . Amend-ment, or in the decisions of this Court, for the proposi-tion that speech that otherwise would be within the protection of the First Amendment loses that protec-tion simply because its source is a corporation that cannot prove, to the satisfaction of a court, a material effect on its business or property. . . . [That proposi-tion] amounts to an impermissible legislative prohibi-tion of speech based on the identity of the interests that spokesmen may represent in public debate over controversial issues and a requirement that thespeaker have a sufficiently great interest in the sub-ject to justify communication."


Justice Anthony M. Kennedy: "The government may not suppress political speech on the basis of the speaker's corporate identity."[1]


Justice Antonin Scalia stated that Justice John Paul Stevens dissent against the Citizens United ruling was 'in splendid isolation from the text of the First Amendment. It never shows why 'the freedom of speech' that was the right of Englishmen did not include the freedom to speak in association with other individuals, including association in the corporate form."[2]

He also said that the first amendment was written in ”terms of speech, not speakers" (and that) "Its text offers no foothold for excluding any category of speaker“, and that there is nothing in the text to support a category of exclusion.


Supreme Court majority January 21, 2010 opinion on Citizens United vs Federal Election Commission: "Government may not suppress political speech based on the speaker’s corporate identity. No sufficient governmental interest justifies limits on the political speech of nonprofit or for-profit corporations."


Mitch McConnell and Floyd Abrams. "Free speech, no matter the speaker, is what our constitution protects." The Atlantic Journal. January 24th, 2010: "The decision of the U.S. Supreme Court holding unconstitutional sections of federal laws barring corporations and unions from spending their money to express their views about public issues and candidates seems certain to be one of the court’s most controversial free speech rulings ever. Supreme Court justices who voted for it have been publicly berated for joining an opinion that concluded that “If the First Amendment has any force, it prohibits Congress from fining or jailing citizens, or associations of citizens, for simply engaging in political speech.” We believe the ruling to be a First Amendment triumph."


Mitch McConnell and Floyd Abrams. "Free speech, no matter the speaker, is what our constitution protects." The Atlantic Journal. January 24th, 2010: "The decision of the U.S. Supreme Court holding unconstitutional sections of federal laws barring corporations and unions from spending their money to express their views about public issues and candidates seems certain to be one of the court’s most controversial free speech rulings ever. Supreme Court justices who voted for it have been publicly berated for joining an opinion that concluded that “If the First Amendment has any force, it prohibits Congress from fining or jailing citizens, or associations of citizens, for simply engaging in political speech.” We believe the ruling to be a First Amendment triumph."

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