This morning attorneys argued before the Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court regarding the Constitutionality of the campaign-finance legislation known as McCain-Feingold.

When McCain-Feingold was being argued in Congress, proponents poo-pooed assertions that the legislation would curb free-speech on issue ads that ran before an election or primary. Groups like National Right to Life and the James Madison Center for Free Speech argued that the language of the bill would hurt citizen groups interested in promoting or criticizing legislators by name when it came to pending legislative issues.

Of course after McCain-Feingold passed this is exactly what happened.

According an article in National Review Online written by James Bopp, Jr., who is lead counsel for Wisconsin Right to Life in today’s appearance before the Court:

In 2002, Congress adopted the McCain-Feingold campaign-finance law. As part of this new law, Congress prohibited corporations and labor unions from running ‘electioneering communications’ — i.e., advertisements naming a candidate, including incumbent officeholders seeking reelection, broadcast to the candidate’s constituents — within 30 days of a primary or 60 days of a general election. Touted as necessary to eliminate ‘sham’ issue ads that were really intended to elect or defeat a candidate, it is now apparent that the story of McCain-Feingold is itself replete with shams. This so-called “electioneering communication” prohibition is simply the latest permutation of the ancient and persistent impulse of government officials to quash criticism of their actions.

This is what is before our highest Court: can we as citizens criticize our leaders? I think our Founding Fathers are rolling over in their graves that this is even in question.

LauraEtch ( )

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