EDITORIAL: Nevada Rep. Jacky Rosen embraces progressive movement to allow the government to censor political speech
Any serious effort to limit money in politics would recognize that the real enemy is a federal government which recognizes few limits on its constitutional powers.
August 3, 2017 - 9:00 pm
We’re still 18 months out from the 2017 midterm elections, but the Jacky Rosen PR machine has been whirring and humming for weeks now. Rep. Rosen, a Las Vegas Democrat, was elected to her first term in the House less than a year ago but has already decided — with a nudge from Harry Reid — that she’s ready to challenge Republican Sen. Dean Heller.
On Thursday, Rep. Rosen touted an early endorsement from End Citizens United, a Democratic political action committee that rails against money in politics. “I’m grateful to End Citizens United for their support,” Rep. Rosen said, “and I will be their partner in the fight against mega-donors flooding our elections with unlimited and unaccountable dark money.”
That certainly sounds like a noble endeavor. But it’s worth pointing out that in their quest to stop “evil” corporations from supporting political causes, Rep. Rosen and End Citizens United openly seek to rewrite the Bill of Rights to allow the government to ban political pamphlets, books and movies.
End Citizens United takes its name from the 2010 U.S. Supreme Court case — Citizens United v. FEC — concerning an independent filmmaker who sought to advertise and air a movie critical of Hillary Clinton during the 2008 Democratic presidential primaries. Federal authorities prevented the movie from being shown, however, because the 2002 McCain-Feingold campaign finance law prohibited certain “electioneering communications” within 30 days of a primary or 60 days of a general election.
Such federal censorship makes a mockery of the First Amendment — and a majority of the U.S. Supreme Court agreed. The justices ruled 5-4 that the law’s provisions restricting independent political expenditures violated the Constitution’s free speech protections.
Progressives have been wringing their hands over the decision ever since. Their latest gambit is to propose a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United and a handful of other Supreme Court decisions regarding campaign spending. In other words, they seek to amend the Bill of Rights — specifically the First Amendment — for the first time in the nation’s history in order to allow federal bureaucrats to censor political speech.
Rep. Rosen now eagerly embraces this movement.
This is not alarmist hyperbole. During the original oral arguments in the Citizen United case, the deputy solicitor general of the United States argued that the McCain-Feingold law could indeed be used to not only censor a political film, but also to ban books.
Any serious effort to limit money in politics would acknowledge that the real enemy is a federal government which recognizes few limits on its constitutional powers, sowing the seeds for special pleaders looking to influence the political process. Instead, Democrats set their sights on mandates that will inevitably undermine free expression.
Why does Jacky Rosen believe that allowing the government to suppress politically themed books comports with the ideals of a free society?