Censorship on Campaign Reforms is Abhorrent to The 1st Amendment


Dear Editor,

I have a comment on: Union Spends Big Bucks to Demonize Christie’s Education Reform Proposal

Campaign reforms are about censorship. The only thing political campaigns produce is communications for mass distribution.

The Unions want to keep corporate money out because it would limit the ability of conservatives to buy TV ads.

Likewise the Republicans want to limit the amount of money unions can spend on elections.

Both attempts at censorship are abhorrent to the 1st Amendment. Both unions and corporations are assemblies of people and as such are free to coordinate their money, time and talent to communicate their political views through speech and press.

Here is what the First Amendment to the US Constitution says:

Amendment 1

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people to peaceably assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

And here is the summary judgement from the district court on the court case against the Associated Press that sought to exclude nonmembers.


It would be strange indeed however if the grave concern for freedom of the press which prompted adoption of the First Amendment should be read as a command that the government was without power to protect that freedom.

That Amendment rests on the assumption that the widest possible dissemination of information from diverse and antagonistic sources is essential to the welfare of the public, that a free press is a condition of a free society. Surely a command that the government itself shall not impede the free flow of ideas does not afford nongovernmental combinations a refuge if they impose restraints upon that constitutionally guaranteed freedom. Freedom to publish means freedom for all, and not for some. Freedom to publish is guaranteed by the Constitution, but freedom to combine to keep others from publishing is not. Freedom of the press from governmental interference under the First Amendment does not sanction repression of that freedom by private interests.