Pelosi: We have a clear agenda to amend the First Amendment

posted at 6:41 pm on April 19, 2012 by Tina Korbe

Eh, at least Nancy Pelosi isn’t trying to hide it that she wants to alter the First Amendment, that cherished declaration of the right to free speech:

“We have a clear agenda in this regard: [DISCLOSE], reform the system reducing the [role] of money in campaigns, and amend the Constitution to rid it of this ability for special interests to use secret, unlimited, huge amounts of money flowing to campaigns,” Pelosi said at her Thursday press briefing.

“I think one of the presenters [at a Democratic forum on amending the Constitution] yesterday said that the Supreme Court had unleashed a predator that was oozing slime into the political system, and that, indeed, is not an exaggeration,” said Pelosi. “Our Founders had an idea. It was called democracy. It said elections are determined by the people, the voice and the vote of the people, not by the bankrolls of the privileged few. This Supreme Court decision flies in the face of our Founders’ vision and we want to reverse it.”

The Supreme Court “decision” to which she refers is the SCOTUS majority opinion in Citizens United.

It ought to go without saying, but amending the First Amendment to allow Congress to regulate corporate political speech would significantly abridge the freedom of the press. Why? As CNSNews.com’s Terence Jeffrey writes, “Television networks, newspapers, publishing houses, movie studios and think tanks, as well as political action committees, are usually organized as, or elements of, corporations.”

Oh well, say Pelosi and other Democrats behind this three-pronged effort to rid the country of the Citizens United decision once and for all. Maryland Democratic Rep. Donna Edwards perhaps summed up the liberal position on this most clearly: “I mean, in my view, a corporation is not a person. It is not an individual. The rights that it has are those that are granted by the state, granted by the, by the Congress.”

Ms. Edwards misses a crucial point: The functions of government (what you might call the “rights” of government not in the original, inalienable sense, but in the sense of being the appropriate purview of government) are those that are granted by the people, with whom all power ultimately resides. If corporations as such don’t have natural rights (and I’d agree that they don’t, but the individuals that comprise them still do, including the right to pool their money for the purpose of political speech), then Congress certainly doesn’t have any rights of its own, either, including the right to regulate corporate political speech.

Fortunately, it seems highly unlikely that the people would grant Congress that ability through the amendment process — but trust Pelosi to continue to push for it.


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