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Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Ted Olsen stands up for the First Amendment, even when the political elites find it annoying.
Is outlawing political speech based on the identity of the speaker compatible with the First Amendment? Tomorrow, the Supreme Court will hear arguments to determine the answer to this question.

The case—Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission—involves a 90-minute documentary produced by Citizens United, a small nonprofit advocacy corporation. "Hillary: The Movie" examines the record, policies and character of the former New York senator, now Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton. The documentary was set to be broadcast during Mrs. Clinton's presidential primary campaign. But the broadcast was banned when the Federal Election Commission declared that the broadcast would violate the 2002 McCain-Feingold campaign finance law.

McCain-Feingold, and every supposed reform and restriction of political speech, is little more than an incumbent protection plan, designed to make campaign resources scarce for those who would challenge those already in power. Congress should have the courage to repeal it. The Supreme Court should have the wisdom to strike it down.

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