The Supreme Court’s Chance to Dump McCain-Feingold and Aid Free Speech

From The Washington Post:

George F. Will – The Supreme Court’s Chance to Dump McCain-Feingold and Aid Free Speech – Last March, during the Supreme Court argument concerning the Federal Election Commission’s banning of a political movie, several justices were aghast. Suddenly and belatedly they saw the abyss that could swallow the First Amendment.

A friend and I were talking a while ago and he made the argument that we needed term limits because Congress makes election law that affects their own election, and he pointed directly at McCain/Feingold as a prime example. Let’s take a closer look.

Don’t blame me. McCain-Feingold orders people to shut up when political speech matters most. It bans “electioneering communications” (communications “susceptible of no reasonable interpretation other than as an appeal to vote for or against a specific candidate”) paid for by corporations in the 30 days before primaries and 60 days before general elections. Corporations include not only, or primarily, the likes of GM and GE; corporations also include issue advocacy groups, from the National Rifle Association to the Sierra Club. So, yes, if a book published (as books are) by a corporation contains even a sentence of election-related advocacy, the book could — must — be banned by the federal government, and not just during the McCain-Feingold muzzle period.

I think he’s right, and I think George Will is right. McCain/Feingold must be thrown out as unconstitutional. The very reason for the first amendment is to protect political speech as a check against the state.