McCain-Feingold law was struck down by Supreme Court decision. It removes limits on independent expenditures that are not coordinated with candidate’s campaigns. Meaning corporations and not-for-profits can spend any amount of money they want running ads and there’s no limit as to when those ads can be run. “The government may not impose restrictions on certain disfavored speakers based on the wealth or lack thereof of speakers. The public has the right…” The court said, “The public has the right to obtain all kinds of information from the widest number of sources.”
The court says that the McCain-Feingold law provides “an outright ban, backed by criminal [and civil] sanctions … including nonprofit advocacy corporations — either to expressly advocate the election or defeat of candidates or to broadcast electioneering communications within 30 days of a primary election and 60 days of a general election.” These would be felonies. The court struck it down. “Laws prohibiting speech, even via corporations, are subject to the highest scrutiny, which is strict scrutiny. It’s not enough to broadly claim that a certain form of speech is corrupt. Government may not impose restrictions on certain disfavored speakers based on the wealth or lack thereof of the speakers.” Do you realize…?
“The government may not impose restrictions on certain disfavored speakers based on the wealth or lack thereof of speakers. The public has the right…” The court said, “The public has the right to obtain all kinds of information from the widest number of sources.”
Now, these are not direct quotes, but these are my summations. This is what the court is saying: Simply because speech has taken on a corporate form does not give it any less protection under the First Amendment. “All speakers who communicate via broadcasting and other outlets amass funds from the economic marketplace to fund their speech.” So the idea that money somehow does not equal speech, the court is saying, “Look, everybody who communicates via broadcasting and other outlets amass funds from the economic marketplace to fund their speech.” There can be no dispute of that, but it’s now the law of the land.
McCain-Feingold’s “purpose and effect as to prevent small and large corporations, for profit and not-for-profit, from presenting facts and opinions to the public. There is no constitutional support for this.” “Under the government’s reasoning on corporate restrictions, wealthy media corporations would have their voices diminished to put them on par with other media entities.” There’s no precedent for this. It’s not constitutional.
Here’s a quote from the opinion: “When government seeks to use its full power, including the criminal law, to command where a person may get his or her information or what distrusted source he may or she may not hear, it uses censorship to control thought. This is unlawful.” Excellent point, justices — and it applies equally to talk radio. That means Fairness Doctrine. “You can’t listen to Limbaugh! He’s controversial. He’s got a monopoly, and you can’t trust him. The Supreme Court says, “You can’t censor anybody on that basis. It’s unlawful.” They struck it down.
There’s a lot more to this, ladies and gentlemen. But the important thing here is it’s a 5-4 decision, and Anthony Kennedy wrote the opinion for the majority, which is significant. It’s as good a decision as anybody could have hoped for. It’s sweeping, and it is landmark.