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devil duck

Free speech and money

"The Court, in its magnificent equality, permits the poor as well as the rich to spend millions of dollars a year influencing Congressional elections and members of Congress."

So Mr. McCutcheon claims his free speech rights are being infringed when he's allowed to write multi-thousand dollar checks to only 27 Congressional candidates, not 28. SCOTUS agrees and says he should be allowed to write checks to candidates for every single seat in Congress if he wishes; that's freedom of speech. Of course, it's a freedom that's only open to the richest 0.1% of Americans, but still... the Constitution protects the rights of minorities against the tyranny of the majority. That's why we have the First Amendment, after all.

What did James Madison et al have in mind when they talked about freedom of speech and the press? I assume they had some notion that in a free marketplace of ideas, the best ideas will win if they're allowed to be heard. The McCutcheon and Citizens United decisions say it's not the best ideas, but the best-funded ideas, that will win, and we all know that the best-funded ideas are those that serve the interests of the already-rich, not necessarily the public.

The Court could reasonably have ruled that, even if you consider writing a check to be "speech" (which I dispute, since it has no idea content), campaign finance restrictions are regulations on "time, place, and manner," not content, and therefore permissible. But that wouldn't further this court's goal of rewarding wealth and power with more wealth and power.