Madison Center says Court's critics don't understand First Amendment 

Campaign finance advocates are in a blind frenzy of outrage over the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision today affirming freedom of speech rights for individuals who choose to express their political views via an incorporated entity like a corporation or labor union.

One such group, Public Citizen, even went so far earlier today as to state publicly their support for a constitutional amendment to limit the scope of the First Amendment's protection of freedom of speech.

James Bopp, a constitutional lawyer with the James Madison Center for Free Speech, was among the main backers of the Citizens United challenge. In a statement issued today following the Court's decision, Bopp predicted the furor from campaign finance advocates, saying:

"So-called campaign-finance 'reform' groups will decry today’s opinion as allowing corporations and unions to have undue influence in politics and public life. But they fail to grasp the genius of the Framers of our Constitution.

"The Framers understood that in a free Republic the proper response to speech one opposes is speech in opposition, not opposition to speech.

"The Framers understood that layers of speech regulations and restrictions chill political involvement, so they forbade Congress to restrict speech and association. They did so to allow people of ordinary means to pool their resources and speak on the issues vital to them.

"The result of modern campaign-finance “reform” has been to make political speech available only to those who could hire expensive experts to guide them through the maze of regulations and restrictions, thereby cutting out the people of ordinary means.

"So ironically, it is not rich corporations and unions whose speech has been suppressed by purported 'reform,' but the common folk, who cannot afford to hire the lawyers that the rich corporations and unions can afford. Today’s decision is a step toward returning to the day when any citizen can stand and speak her mind—without a second thought about complying with some maze of opaque regulations—because she is an American."

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