Supreme Court rules McCain/Feingold is unconstitutional
In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court has ruled that the McCain/Feingold campaign finance reform law violates the first amendment and is unconstitutional.
McCain/Feingold limited corporations from running campaign ads in the last 30 days of a campaign. Here is what Justice Kennedy had to say while writing for the majority:
If the First Amendment has any force, it prohibits Congress from fining or jailing citizens, or associations of citizens, for simply engaging in political speech
And that is what was at issue here, this law put restrictions on free speech. Or to be more precise, on political speech. It limited who could say what, and when they could say it, during political campaigns. That certainly seems to be the opposite of one of the main foundations that America was built on. Don’t get me wrong, I feel that there is too much money that pours into all of these campaigns from special interests, and eventually the winner has to repay the debt, but this law did not stop special interests from spending money.
The primaries leading up to the last presidential election took in record amounts of money with McCain/Feingold as law. The law led to the creation of the “527’s” that were exempt from the law, which led to an even greater influx of money to the candidates. In addition to the law being unconstitutional, it was ineffective and a failure.
While I find the influence of special interest groups on both sides to be reprehensible, I find it equally– if not more so– reprehensible to limit a group’s first amendment rights.