Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA), previously best known for his belief that the island of Guam could somehow tip over, is seeking an interesting way to fight what he considers an unfair ruling in the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission ruling.
He wants an amendment to the Constitution that would control speech – a fundamental right guaranteed by the First Amendment.
Suddenly, the thought of Guam tipping over seems reasonable.
Via CBS Atlanta:
A Democratic representative is calling for an amendment to the United States Constitution that would allow for some legislative restriction of freedom of speech.
“We need a constitutional amendment that would allow the legislature to control the so-called free speech rights of corporations,” Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA) was quoted as saying by CNS News.
He reportedly made these comments while speaking at the Annesbrooks HOA candidate Forum held last month.
This isn’t the first time we’ve heard this out of Democrats. Nancy Pelosi made similar comments back in April.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi on Thursday endorsed a movement announced by other congressional Democrats on Wednesday to ratify an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would allow Congress to regulate political speech when it is engaged in by corporations as opposed to individuals.
The First Amendment says in part: “Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press. . .”
Television networks, newspapers, publishing houses, movie studios and think tanks, as well as political action committees, are usually organized as, or elements of, corporations.
Pelosi said the Democrats’ effort to amend the Constitution is part of a three-pronged strategy that also includes promoting the DISCLOSE Act, which would increase disclosure requirements for organizations running political ads, and “reducing the roll of money in campaigns” (which some Democrats have said can be done through taxpayer funding of campaigns).
The constitutional amendment the Democrats seek would reverse the Supreme Court’s 2009 decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. In that decision the court said that the First Amendment protects a right of free speech for corporations as well as for individuals, and that corporations (including those that produce newspapers, films and books) have a right to speak about politicians and their records just as individuals do.
If you’re wondering how this would lead to censorship of everyday things like books, papers, or the internet, Chief Justice Roberts can explain.
The case in question led to this opinion written by Roberts:
“The government urges us in this case to uphold a direct prohibition on political speech,” wrote Roberts. “It asks us to embrace a theory of the First Amendment that would allow censorship not only of television and radio broadcasts, but of pamphlets, posters, the Internet, and virtually any other medium that corporations and unions might find useful in expressing their views on matters of public concerns.”
So we’re looking for a 28th Amendment to say, “You know that First Amendment … Just kidding!”
Confusing. Makes you just want to throw up your arms and say, “Whatever it is, I’m with the Constitution of the United States.”