Citizens United decision a boon to small businesses

In this week's Citizen's United decision, the Supreme Court struck down many significant aspects of campaign finance "reform" legislation. The court held that corporations, not just individuals, have free speech rights under the First Amendment. This means that corporations can print books, take out campaign ads, and do many other previously prohibited things at election time. Unions, who also were previously shackled by the legislation, likewise now have these freedoms.Any business that wanted to say something about a candidate used to have to appear before a government bureaucrat at the Federal Election Commission, who would check whether the Commission's eleven-factor test was satisfied. (They actually had an eleven-factor test - really!) Most small businesses don't have the time or resources for this, so as a practical matter the small business was left without free speech rights.

Naturally, the left really hates the Citizen's United decision. "With a single, disastrous 5-to-4 ruling, the Supreme Court has thrust politics back to the robber-baron era of the 19th century," croons the New York Times. Public Citizen, the Naderite group, immediately posted calls for a constitutional amendment to limit the First Amendment. According to its website, public discourse should be limited to "not-for profit" corporations. Those evil for-profit companies should have no speech rights.

Of course, both Public Citizen and the New York Times are themselves incorporated entities. And the Times is a for-profit corporation. Got that? Two INCORPORATED ENTITIES are taking to the streets to express their dislike of the very case that upholds their right of expression.

Score one for the good guys this week.

Marty Waveland


In this week's Citizen's United decision, the Supreme Court struck down many significant aspects of campaign finance "reform" legislation. The court held that corporations, not just individuals, have free speech rights under the First Amendment. This means that corporations can print books, take out campaign ads, and do many other previously prohibited things at election time. Unions, who also were previously shackled by the legislation, likewise now have these freedoms.

Any business that wanted to say something about a candidate used to have to appear before a government bureaucrat at the Federal Election Commission, who would check whether the Commission's eleven-factor test was satisfied. (They actually had an eleven-factor test - really!) Most small businesses don't have the time or resources for this, so as a practical matter the small business was left without free speech rights.

Naturally, the left really hates the Citizen's United decision. "With a single, disastrous 5-to-4 ruling, the Supreme Court has thrust politics back to the robber-baron era of the 19th century," croons the New York Times. Public Citizen, the Naderite group, immediately posted calls for a constitutional amendment to limit the First Amendment. According to its website, public discourse should be limited to "not-for profit" corporations. Those evil for-profit companies should have no speech rights.

Of course, both Public Citizen and the New York Times are themselves incorporated entities. And the Times is a for-profit corporation. Got that? Two INCORPORATED ENTITIES are taking to the streets to express their dislike of the very case that upholds their right of expression.

Score one for the good guys this week.

Marty Waveland