Free Speech

…especially, the aim of those clauses of the First Amendment, free political speech.  Chief Justice John Roberts, writing for the Court, had this to say in striking down aggregate limits to political contributions:

There is no right more basic in our democracy than the right to participate in electing our political leaders. Citizens can exercise that right in a variety of ways: They can run for office themselves, vote, urge others to vote for a particular candidate, volunteer to work on a campaign, and contribute to a candidate’s campaign. This case is about the last of those options.


Money in politics may at times seem repugnant to some, but so too does much of what the First Amendment vigorously protects. If the First Amendment protects flag burning, funeral protests, and Nazi parades—despite the profound offense such spectacles cause—it surely protects political campaign speech despite popular opposition.

And [bold added, italics in the original]

The Government has a strong interest, no less critical to our democratic system, in combatting corruption and its appearance.  We have, however, held that this interest must be limited to a specific kind of corruption—quid pro quo corruption—in order to ensure that the Government’s efforts do not have the effect of restricting the First Amendment right of citizens to choose who shall govern them.  For the reasons set forth, we conclude that the aggregate limits on contributions do not further the only governmental interest this Court accepted as legitimate in Buckley.  They instead intrude without justification on a citizen’s ability to exercise “the most fundamental First Amendment activities.”

What he said.  The Supremes’ ruling can be seen here.

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