SCOTUS: Government Can’t Tell You that You Talk Too Much | American Center for Law and Justice
  Search  |  Login  |  Register

ACLJ Profile Completion

Verified

SCOTUS: Gov't Can’t Say You Talk Too Much

By Matthew Clark1396550539000

Today in a major decision upholding free speech, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 striking down aggregate limits on federal campaign contributions.

While you may have heard a parent or a teacher say it, what the Supreme Court essentially held today is that the federal government is not allowed to tell you: you talk too much.

Political speech has always been held in the highest regard in constitutional law.  Restrictions on political speech were the impetuous for the free speech protections in the Bill of Rights.  The Founders pledged their honor, the livelihood, and even their lives to ensure that political speech would be protected.

Congress sought to limit that protection under the euphemistic name of campaign finance reform, limiting the maximum anyone could give to all federal candidates in a particular election cycle to $123,000.  While almost every American will never reach that particular limit in giving, the dollar amount is beside the point.  It is a limit on speech, and if the government can limit political speech to a particular dollar amount, it could limit it or any other form of speech.  The government doesn’t get to decide when you have said enough, when you shouldn’t talk any more.

As the majority in McCutcheon v. FEC so eloquently put it, “The Government may no more restrict how many candidates or causes a donor may support than it may tell a newspaper how many candidates it may endorse.”

The Court limited its decision to the aggregate contribution limit, but that’s because only the aggregate limit and not the individual limits were before the Court.  Justice Thomas however would have gone all the way striking down limits on campaign speech and the Supreme Court’s decision previously upholding those limits, which he says “denigrates core First Amendment speech and should be overruled.”

Today’s decision protects free speech even when the government thinks you said your piece.  Our right to speak is not limited to 140 characters; it’s not limited to a certain number of syllables, paragraphs, or dollars spent.

I’m sure the Left and the liberal mainstream media will disagree and take up plenty of ink in the next few days and weeks doing so.  And that’s their right.  They can bloviate to their hearts content about how evil it is to allow someone to spend all they want to say what they want.  Ironic as it is, it’s America, and it’s their absolute right to take to the airwaves and 24-hour cable news channels railing about this opinion.

I’m happy knowing my rights, and theirs alike, are protected for as long as we want to speak.

This article is crossposted on Red State.

Latest in
Free Speech

ACLJ Cues Up Free Speech Case for Supreme Court

By Walter M. Weber1534795413681

Today the ACLJ filed a reply in support of our request that the Supreme Court hear an important free speech case, Keister v. Bell . At stake in the case is the freedom of people to speak on sidewalks along public streets. I wrote about this case when we filed our petition in early July. Since then,

read more

A Blow to Big Labor & A Win For Free Speech

By ACLJ.org1530801653531

For decades public sector employees have been forced to subsidize public sector unions and their political and ideological agenda. No more. In a major victory for free speech and free association, the Supreme Court has just struck down requirements that force public sector employees to pay fees to...

read more

ACLJ Petitions Supreme Court in Free Speech Case

By Walter M. Weber1530558422160

The ACLJ today filed a request that the Supreme Court hear an important free speech case, Keister v. Bell . At stake in the case is the freedom of people to speak on sidewalks along public streets. "What?" you say. "I thought Americans already had the right to speak freely on public sidewalks." So...

read more

The University That Swallowed a Sidewalk?

By Walter M. Weber1519311600000

In the 1958 horror movie, "The Blob," a growing reddish blob from outer space devours everyone it touches. Echoing that film, a panel of judges of a federal appeals court ruled that the campus of the University of Alabama, home of the Crimson Tide, devours the speech rights of those on the...

read more