home | politics

Justice Scalia and Money equals Speech

In 2010, Chief Justice Scalia voted with four other justices to allow unlimited amounts of money to be spent by candidates for federal office. (Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission).

His textualism had little to do with it. All Supreme Court justices read the Constitution literally. "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion" means just that. What was involved was a scholastic-like equation: money equals speech. Scalia claimed, "You can't separate speech from the money that facilitates the speech. It's utterly impossible."

Really?

Money gives one power. People with great wealth people can buy a newspaper or television station but we can explain our resistance to putting restrictions on newspapers and other media: we value free speech.

The issue with Scalia is about making direct monetary contributions to politics. Despite Scalia's equation, bribing politicians is not one of our freedoms. It's illegal. Like other simplistic equations, to be meaningful his equation needs added explanation.

Scalia's position denies citizens the freedom or power to agree to a line concerning political ethics.


 

Copyright © 2017 by Frank E. Smitha. All rights reserved.