Or, perhaps they cynically wish to silence ideas they oppose. Or, perhaps they simply want to rig their own reelection. The attitude of the Left toward free speech has lapsed into an intolerance that is eagerly taken up by unthinking minions within their sphere of influence. It is a well-established and longstanding principle that the First Amendment protects speech conveyed by individuals or by associations of similarly-inclined individuals, such as churches, clubs, unions, businesses and trade groups. Protected speech can cover any topic, though unfortunate exceptions based on “public standards” of varying degrees of prudishness have certainly interfered with free-speech rights. Political and religious speech are arguably the ultimate forms of protected speech, as they are almost certainly the First Amendment’s raisons d’etre. Speech takes a variety of forms, but it is recognized as speech whether it is spoken, printed, acted, painted, sculpted, or filmed. Speech can be reproduced and distributed in many ways, and any restriction on its distribution has long been recognized as an abridgment of protected speech. (This topic has been discussed on this blog before in the context of FCC regulation.) But reproduction and distribution are costly activities. These facts explain why spending limits on political speech have been rejected by the courts. Yet the Left almost uniformly condemns the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision, usually jeering mindless epithets about faceless corporations (though the faces they normally invoke belong to the Koch brothers, whose contributions are relatively minor compared to some of the biggest “faceless” spenders of the Left. The Left also turn a blind eye toward the Obama campaign’s illegal solicitation of foreign contributions. On Monday, Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee passed a resolution to amend the Constitution, essentially gutting the First Amendment. The proposed amendment pretends to protect “freedom of the press” by giving Congress authority over defining just who is part of the press! Well, how comforting is that sort of protection? Haha! Interestingly, while the public might be supportive of curbs on election spending in general, curbs that would apply to all candidates, they do not wish to see curbs on free speech. Both of the links above provide good background on free speech issues, the proposed constitutional amendment, and Citizens United. Al Franken apparently has a shallow understanding of free speech protections. To the great credit of a number of ACLU old-timers, the proposed amendment (and the debate over any contribution limits) has created a rift within the organization. The ACLU does not support the amendment, but its more hypocritically-inclined members are apparently unhappy with that position.