Perhaps the most sacrosanct right enjoyed by Americans is the right to freedom of speech. Courts have consistently given wide deference to individuals, corporations, organizations, and any entity that seeks to exercise this right. This was reinforced with the recent Citizens United vs. the Federal Election Commission ruling, which allowed corporations to exercise their First Amendment right by donating their own money to politicians. Democrats are now trying to roll back these freedoms, arguing that such expenditures freeze out the average person from the political process. Essentially, they are trying to re-write the First Amendment to make it more to their liking.
Money as Speech Under the First Amendment
The fact is the Supreme Court has been very consistent in ruling that everyone is entitled to speech. There are no special exemptions or exclusions allowable under this law. This goes back to Buckley v. Valeo when the Supreme Court struck down restrictions on speech laid out by the FEC. In the ruling, the Court found that the government had no right to restrict certain entities in order to promote “fairness” between groups. They wrote that this idea was “wholly foreign” to the concepts found in the First Amendment.
The fact is that when government tries to “level the playing field” it inevitably causes unintended consequences. It is impossible, and unlawful, for the government to try to advance the voice of one group at the expense of another. No one has a right to have an equal say, only the equal opportunity for their speech to be heard. If enough individuals pool their resources together, it can have as much of an impact as corporation, labor union, or other group. The government doesn’t need to interfere, it just needs to let the Constitution work as it should.