Chuck Schumer Calls to Change First Amendment to 'Limit Political Speech'
Senate Minority Leader thinks there is too much political speech he doesn't like
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D.-N.Y., has concluded there is too much political speech coming from sources he cannot abide in the United States.
Schumer stood with Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin, D.-Ill., in the Supreme Court on Tuesday to announce his support for the Democratic New Mexico Sen. Tom Udall's to 'revise' the First Amendment.
The First Amendment has unambiguous words about freedom of speech.
"Congress," it says, "shall make no law ... abridging the freedom of speech."
Schumer and Udall don't like pushback against government power.
There are speakers whose speech they want to abridge.
But the Bill of Rights is blocking them, so they are seeking to change it.
The Supreme Court voted 5-4 in Citizens United v. the Federal Election Commission only when they act as individuals and corporations in 2010.
For example, a company that makes movies has equal rights to free speech that its owners individually do.
The same goes for a book publishing company, or other companies like lawnmowers lawnmower manufactures
In the US, they all have freedom of speech that Congress "shall make no law ... abridging."
But for Schumer, this policy is wrong.
"Few decisions in the 200 and some odd years of this republic have threatened our democracy like Citizens United," Schumer said on Tuesday.
"If I get to be majority leader with the help of my colleagues here and all of you, Citizens United will go. It must," he said.
"Overturning Citizens United," Schumer said, "is probably more important than any other single thing we could do to preserve this great and grand democracy."
It was Anthony Kennedy.
"The court has recognized that First Amendment protection extends to corporations."
"If the First Amendment has any force, it prohibits Congress from fining or jailing citizens, or associations of citizens, for simply engaging in political speech," he said.
The court also decided it was absurd for the government to try to differentiate between a "media" corporation and other types of corporations to "media" corporations from restrictions the government looked to impose on the freedom of speech of non-media corporations.
"The exemption applies to media corporations owned or controlled by corporations that have diverse and substantial investments and participate in endeavors other than news," said the court.
"So even assuming the most doubtful proposition that a news organization has a right to speak when others do not, the exemption would allow a conglomerate that owns both a media business and an unrelated business to influence or control the media to advance its overall business interest.
"At the same time, some other corporation, with an identical business interest but no media outlet in its ownership structure, would be forbidden to speak or inform the public about the same issue."
"This differential treatment cannot be squared with the First Amendment," said the court.
"The purpose and effect of this law," the court said.
"Is to prevent corporations, including small and nonprofit corporations, from presenting both facts and opinions to the public."
"When government seeks to use its full power, including the criminal law, to command where a person may get his or her information or what distrusted source he or she may not hear, it uses censorship to control thought," Kennedy wrote.
"This is unlawful. The First Amendment confirms the freedom to think for ourselves."
And that is precisely what Schumer and Udall are seeking to eradicate.
Their Democracy for All Amendment uses 106 words to change the ten words in the First Amendment that defend freedom of speech.
In the proposed amendment, the final 22 words assure corporations that own news outlets that Schumer isn't coming for them.
The first section of the Udall-Schumer amendment gives Congress and the states the power to "set reasonable limits on the raising and spending of money by candidates and others to influence elections."
In other words, the government can restrict how much you speak about an election.