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Why You Really Don’t Need To Freak Out Over The Citizens United Case

by @ 4:38 pm on February 4, 2010. Filed under Freedom of Speech, Individual Liberty

Reason’s Nick Gillespie explains why all the leftist anti-corporate hyberbole over the Citizens United case:

8 Responses to “Why You Really Don’t Need To Freak Out Over The Citizens United Case”

  1. Vast Variety says:

    Giving Corporations the ability to play politics with unlimited funds is simply bad for the people. No amount of YouTube or blogging will ever change that fact.

  2. Dave C says:


    Think of corporations as mutual funds for speech.

    That as an aside..

    How do you feel about corporations such as Time Warner, GE, Viacom and Disney having the ability to play politics with unlimited funds?

  3. Dave,

    Under Vast’s logic I think the only conclusion one can come to is that corporation’s don’t have any First Amendment rights at all. Meaning that Obama can shut down Fox News if he wants to — Owned by a corporation after all.

    Under this logic, it also must be true that corporations don’t have Fifth Amendment rights. Meaning that the City of New York can seize the building that News Corporation owns for any reason whatsoever and without any due process.

    This logic also means that corporations don’t have Fourth Amendment rights. Meaning that the police can walk into News Corp and seize all the company computers for any reason and without needing a warrant.

    That is the America that the critics of Citizens United would give us.

  4. Vast Variety says:

    Doug, you are clearly not understanding my argument… oh well… The people in those corporations have rights as individuals which protects them from all those situations you just mentioned. The corporation itself is not a person, it is a tool, it is a piece of property.

    While we are talking about Free Speech, how about this neat law from South Carolina…

    “SECTION 23-29-10. Short title.
    This chapter may be cited as the “Subversive Activities Registration Act.”

    SECTION 23-29-20. Definitions.
    For the purposes of this chapter the following words, phrases and terms are defined as follows:

    (1) “Subversive organization” means every corporation, society, association, camp, group, bund, political party, assembly, body or organization, composed of two or more persons, which directly or indirectly advocates, advises, teaches or practices the duty, necessity or propriety of controlling, conducting, seizing or overthrowing the government of the United States, of this State or of any political subdivision thereof by force or violence or other unlawful means; ”

  5. And you’re not understand my argument.

    Fox News Channel is owned by a corporation, News Corp. in this case, not by individuals. If your argument that corporations don’t have rights is correct, then President Obama could direct the FBI to shut the operation down without violating the Constitution.

    Similarly, since corporations don’t have rights (according to you), the City of New York could seize the building that News Corporation owns in NYC and all of the broadcast equipment there in and give it to Air America. Because, Corporations don’t have Fifth Amendment rights that would protect them from having their property taken without due process and just compensation.

    Your argument is a very slippery slope, and ignores the fact that corporations are nothing more than collections of individuals and if you argue that corporations don’t have rights, you’ve just flushed the Bill of Rights down the toilet.

  6. As for the S.C. statute, it would seem to be unconstitutional but that would depend on how it is applied :

  7. Let's Be Free says:

    If speech uttered corporately were not protected then New York Times vs. Sullivan would be wiped off the books. While that might create full employment in the legal community, it would hardly be a clarion call for free speech.

  8. Vast Variety says:

    Fox News is owned by individuals as individuals own portions of it through holdings in in News Corp. Every company that exists has it’s ownership traced back to either one or more individuals or to some sort of government agency. There may be one or more corporate names in between that individual and Fox News, but in the end it is owned by individuals and has it’s protections through those individuals.

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