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View Diary: Supreme Court could rule as early as Monday on Montana-related review of Citizens United (98 comments)

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  •  But time, place & manner of speech (0+ / 0-)

    can be restricted. When it comes to OWS or any other protests, we hear repeatedly that it's established law that restrictions can be placed on the manner of speech. Isn't paid political advertising a manner of speech like a rally on Wall Street? I don't see why the amount of cash funneled by corporations into political advertising cannot be subject to restriction in the same way political protest has been.

    48forEastAfrica - Donate to Oxfam "Compassion is the radicalism of our time." ~ Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama -7.88, -6.21

    by Siri on Thu Jun 14, 2012 at 05:28:56 PM PDT

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    •  T/P/M restrictions also have to be (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      VClib, coffeetalk, WillR

      content neutral.  no one can shout down a city council, regardless of the content of the shouting.  campaign finance - no political speech - is the very opposite of content neutral.

    •  Siri - time, place, and manner restrictions are (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      coffeetalk, Fire bad tree pretty

      due to the conflict between the people protesting and the rights of the people not protesting. When a group wants to use a public space to protest they are interfering with the rights of other citizens who want to use that same space and do not want to be restricted in their access by the protestors.  By setting up rules, which are content neutral, the city, county, and state governments try and balance the rights of the protestors and non-protestors. This has nothing to do with being allowed to buy TV or radio time. If an individual or group purchases TV time it does not in any way interfere with another group of citizens so there is no need to balance the rights of two groups who want to occupy the same space at the same time.  

      "let's talk about that"

      by VClib on Thu Jun 14, 2012 at 05:39:32 PM PDT

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      •  Technically true, but a bit too close to... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        birdboy2000, VClib, vcmvo2

        ...Anatole France's famous dictum about the law in its "equality" forbidding both the poor and the rich from sleeping under bridges.

        A good compromise would be a limit (say, per capita) on election spending. But, of course, the Supreme Court in its infinite wisdom has chosen to block that approach.

        Thus, we have an inherently unequal system with a supposedly neutral law regarding funding. It may be neutral in wording and appearance and even in intent. But in practice, as anybody but the most gullible knows, it is not neutral.

        That doesn't mean the candidate will always win with the most money behind her or him (either directly from the campaign or from outside the campaign that CU has freed). But money DOES matter and as the dollars pile up ever higher, the right wing will gain an ever-increasing advantage. That is the real-world, on-the-ground meaning of Citizens United . Its impact will ultimately lead to a High Court (and lower ones, too) brimful of Clarence Thomases, whose objection in the case was that the contributors must disclose what they give. A Court of Thomases, a Congress of Jim Inhofes, a White House of Bushes, Romneys and worse.

        Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

        by Meteor Blades on Thu Jun 14, 2012 at 06:20:10 PM PDT

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        •  The closest we've come to that (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          VClib

          were the rules for public financing of Presidential Campaigns, which were designed to give candidates an incentive to voluntarily agree to limits that were roughly the same for each candidate.  

          And President Obama essentially assured that those were obsolete when he opted out of public financing in 2008, showing that he could raise more money on his own.  

    •  Absolutely true about time, place and manner (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Fire bad tree pretty, Siri

      There are two caveats, though.  

      First, it has to be content-neutral.  That means, you are treated the same == i.e., the restrictions on the time, the place, and the manner you use to speak have to be applied regardless of WHAT you want to say.   Someone who wants to say, "I think we should all salute the American flag" has to be treated the same as someone who wants to say, "I think we should vote all of Congress out of office."  Also, you must have a reasonable alternative for getting speech out.  For example, the government can tell you, "you can't assemble here to speak, but you CAN assemble nearby," or "you can't speak with a bullhorn at 3:00 a.m., but you can speak out at a lower volume in the middle of the day."  The OWS thing was a time, place, and manner restriction -- you couldn't assemble to speak in such and such a space at night, but you could assemble to speak during the day, regardless of the CONTENT of what you wanted to say.  Or, you couldn't assemble in one space during the day (like on private property, or if you were blocking a street) but you could assemble in other alternatives during the day - like public squares or parks.   and that applied regardless of what you wanted to say.  

      Here, the ban on speech was specifically based on content -- you COULD have a corporation pay for a movie that said, "Everyone should go to vote, it's your patriotic duty," but you could not have a corporation pay for a movie that said, "Hilary Clinton is a bad candidate for President."  Congress cannot make laws abridging speech based on the CONTENT of the speech.  And there was no reasonable alternative for saying "Hilary Clinton is a bad candidate."  That content -- that particular speech -- was banned in all forms six weeks before an election, whether it was in a book, a movie, a commercial, whatever.  

      That's the difference.

      •  I get it but I don't like it (0+ / 0-)

        The reality of the situation is that the individuals protesting on the street do not have the financial resources to buy paid political advertising to get their counter-message out on the airwaves. So corporations are free to funnel as much money as they want to into advertising, completely unrestricted. The people, who's only voice is really on the streets because they can't afford that level of access, are subject to restriction. We're in an era where the best interests of the corporations are not aligned with the best interests of the citizens of this nation. Their financial resources are staggering making it seem like we're being steamrolled by an avalanche of cash.

        I do appreciate your explanations coffeetalk. I know we likely disagree on a most issues but I appreciate the time you put into thoroughly explaining your positions. If nothing else, it helps me focus my argument.

        48forEastAfrica - Donate to Oxfam "Compassion is the radicalism of our time." ~ Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama -7.88, -6.21

        by Siri on Thu Jun 14, 2012 at 06:36:56 PM PDT

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        •  I understand what you are saying (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Siri, WillR, Leftie Gunner, johnny wurster

          it's essentially that people with money should not have an advantage in getting their speech heard.  The CU case was essentially a dispute based on the notion that people with money (pooling that money through associations like corporations) should be restricted from using that money to have their speech heard more than speech of others without so much money.  It seems to me that you are suggesting that government has a role in making sure that one speaker doesn't overpower other speakers, and that government has a role in providing "disadvantaged" (due to less money or any other cause) speakers equal access to the public, either by (1) limiting the speech of the more "advantaged" (rich?) speakers so fewer people hear it, or (2) subsidizing the speech of the less "advantaged" speakers, so more people hear it.

          However, let me suggest that the First Amendment has never, never, never been any attempt to assure that everyone would be equally heard, regardless of money.  That would require an approach -- i.e., government stepping in to assure that speech is balanced, regardless of money -- that is the antithesis of the approach taken by the First Amendment.  The First Amendment is not in any way a right to get your speech out, or that you can be heard.  The notion that government would step in to guarantee that you are heard, or that you can reach an audience, regardless of money, would be the clearest of First Amendment violations.  The First Amendment takes the exact opposite approach -- that government has no role in determining who can speak, who gets heard, and who doesn't get heard.  What you are suggesting is a reversal of the First Amendment -- that government regulate speech so as to provide some equal playing field to all views, regardless of money.

          By the way, I appreciate the cordial debate as well.  This kind of situation -- where people can cordially discuss agreements and disagreements -- what I enjoy.  

          •  But IIRC, organic peoples' contributions (0+ / 0-)

            are restricted as to amount in campaigns, but not those of inorganic persons. Why should the two be different?

            I guess one of the problems here is that the FEC is feckless in trying to determine what a direct participation in a campaign is, and the IRS can't enforce the nonpolitical restrictions in Sec. 501 c 4 and the like, so that as to those working the margins on those, there is an effective loophole which government declines to close. A problem of its own.

        •  also, the government can tell the citizens (0+ / 0-)

          they are "free" to protest out in the sticks in a cow pasture at 3 a.m. (time, place, and manner!) but not in the town square at noon.

          This is all a bullshit way of trying to silence the people, and should be legally undone.  We act these days like legal decisions cannot be reversed but have the status of the 10 commandments on tablets of stone.  Plessy v Ferguson was reversed, wasn't it? was that wrong?  I remember a legal system which could revisit and fix its own mistakes.

          Being ignored is the difference between being a one percenter and an American.--sweeper

          by SouthernLiberalinMD on Fri Jun 15, 2012 at 08:12:20 AM PDT

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