Court will revisit campaign finance law and its limits

Next week the U.S. Supreme Court will decide whether “Hillary, the Movie,” should have been allowed to be distributed.
The documentary made by Citizens United was an out-and-out anti-Clinton propaganda piece designed to defeat her nomination, and, if nominated, her election to the presidency. Citizens United calls itself an advocacy group and is financed largely by corporations. The legal question to be resolved is whether the laws governing the financing of elections forbids corporations from funding such efforts.
The case has sharply divided liberals. The American Civil Liberties Union believes that an earlier court decision against distributing the movie was a clear violation of the First Amendment. Common Cause, on the other side, argues that allowing corporations to pay for and, by extension, initiate, polemics favoring or opposing individual candidates would give big money even more control over the U.S. political process.
Both of these arguments are on solid ground. A truly tough philosophical battle lies ahead for the justices.
Those who would allow an individual, or any entity, to create or pay for and make public, political speech argue that the law could not ban “Hillary, the Movie,” without also opening the way to banning any book or pamphlet that argued for or against the election of a candidate. But partisan books and pamphlets have been a part of the U.S. political scene since the days of the Founding Fathers.
The First Amendment is part of the Constitution precisely because the FFs wanted to guarantee the right to criticize the holders of political office and those who aspired to those offices.
So much for history. Now let’s get with the current scene.
Like it, or not, government at every level is a huge player in the world of business. Corporations such as Koch Industries, just to pick a Kansas name, believe they have a very large stake in how government operates and are therefore willing to spend millions — make that tens of millions — in every election cycle to elect those they agree with and defeat those they feel oppose their interests.
The big spenders in elections have power beyond their numbers. A corporate executive who can spend millions of his or her stockholders’ money to elect or defeat a candidate sways a great many more votes than an ordinary U.S. citizen does. And, that, say advocates of campaign fi-nance controls, is unfair and unAmerican.
Conserative Sen. John McCain of Arizona and liberal Sen. Russ Feingold of Wisconsin wrote and sponsored the political finance control law which is cited in the Hillary case.
The facts on the ground favor McCain-Feingold. Most Americans agree that far too much money is being spent every two and four years influencing national and state elections. Most of us also believe that big money, corporate money, has much too strong a role to play in what laws get passed and which are defeated.

NOW, IT SEEMS, the nine justices of the high court must choose between the right to speak on politcal matters guaranteed by the First Amendment and the importance of keeping the political playing ground reasonably level so that millions of average American citizens cannot be out-voted by mere hundreds of corporate chieftains.
Think long and hard, you all; the shape of our future government(s), will be in your hands.

— Emerson Lynn, jr.