Freedom of speech is perhaps the most valuable thing most Americans possess. It was no accident that our Founding Fathers made it the First Amendment of the Constitution.
Though our freedom to speak our minds has been largely unrestricted, certain speech has been generally accepted as not protected, for example the right to yell fire in a crowded movie theater or to tell someone you are going to kill them. And, until today, spending an unrestricted amount of money to influence political elections was not considered free speech.
By a vote of 5-4, the Supreme Court today overturned much of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform as well as century-old restrictions on unfettered elections spending. Of course campaigns are by no means the only way in which corporations, unions and others with money to spend influence politics.
It remains to be seen just what kind of impact this will have on future elections. Likely those with deep pockets will seek to exert even more influence than they already possess. But it is also possible that it will spark a closer inspection of money and politics.
–By Jennifer E. Cooper