Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Money as Speech

This coming fall, the Supreme Court is going to attempt to determine the constitutionality of the McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Reform Act. At the core of the case is the question of whether unlimited campaign donations are speech protected by the 1st Amendment of our Constitution. In other words, is money speech.

If money is speech, then one's ability to exercise free speech is contingent upon one's wealth. The richer you are, the more speech you have. If we determine that everyone should be able to donate unlimited sums, then we are saying that, while everyone is equal in the right to donate, some of us are more "equal" than others by virtue of our incomes alone. I believe that the right of someone to speak (and/or be heard) no matter of circumstances is what is protected, not the right of some to have more, freer speech than others by virtue of income.

The following equation then: If: Money=Speech, Then: More Money=More Speech. Therefore: Less Money=Less Speech=Unequal Access to Freedom of Speech.

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