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Decision about speech should inform states

May 21, 2012
Gary Andersen, Lee Smith , Fairmont Sentinel

The U.S. Supreme Court's 2010 Citizens United decision was about free speech. It recognized that spending for political advertising by corporations, unions or other groups constitutes speech, and the especially important right of political speech. Citizens United is the law of the land, and that ought to carry through to the 50 states, given the status of speech as a constitutionally protected right. See the First Amendment.

However, twenty-two states, including Minnesota want the Supreme Court to preserve state-level regulations on corporate expenditures for political purposes. The states are backing a case led by Montana.

It is supposed by some that political spending by corporations - or even unions - is tantamount to corruption. That is to say, creating an undue influence on the process through ad buys. But in a political process in which just about anything goes (majority rule), every person and entity - still comprised of people, we remind you - is affected by countless decisions in Congress, the executive branch and the bureaucracy. We believe it is exactly backwards to say that corporations hold too much sway just because they can now spend money on political ads. The (dangerous) power in this country clearly lies in Washington and state capitals. Corporations are trying to protect what freedom they still have to make things and profit from it.

Minnesota should not be involved in trying to limit the free speech rights of citizens, either as individuals or in groups. If the state does not withdraw from the case, we hope it loses.

 
 

 

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