Chuck Schumer: Ted Cruz Wrong on First Amendment

Image: Chuck Schumer: Ted Cruz Wrong on First Amendment

Thursday, 17 Jul 2014 07:41 AM

By Elliot Jager

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Texas Sen. Ted Cruz has framed his opposition to a constitutional amendment that would limit campaign spending on phony free speech grounds, Sen. Chuck Schumer and Rep. Ted Deutch wrote in a commentary in Politico.

Defending corporations and billionaires "is no winning position" so Cruz has framed his case as if Democrats are trying to repeal the First Amendment, Schumer and Deutch wrote.

Schumer, New York's senior senator, and Deutch, who represents Florida's 21st District in the U.S. House of Representatives, are promoting an amendment that would address the 2010 Supreme Court Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision.

The ruling determined that political spending by corporations and unions was a form of free speech. The court ruled that while companies and unions can't contribute directly to campaigns, the Constitution protects their right to influence political outcomes through other means, SCOTUS blog reported.

Schumer and Deutch wrote that the Texan claims their amendment would allow books to be banned and free speech to be restricted. "His overheated rhetoric is an attempt to ignore an important truth in the history of our Constitution: We have always had balancing tests for every amendment. No amendment is absolute."

It has never been constitutional in the name of free speech to cry "fire" in a crowded theater, defame or slander without evidence, or promote child pornography, Schumer and Deutch wrote.

"The constitutional amendment we propose will not infringe on citizens' First Amendment rights; rather, it will restore the constitutional legitimacy to laws that set reasonable limits on spending in our elections," wrote Schumer and Deutch.

"And now Citizens United has opened the floodgates to billions of dollars coming into the system undisclosed, unregulated and unanswered," the lawmakers wrote.

The proposed amendment, they said, would "restore some semblance of the principle of one person, one vote, and help us move toward the level of equality that the Founding Fathers sought in our political system."

Related Stories:
Ted Cruz: Democrats Want to Repeal First Amendment
First Amendment Is a Nuisance to Democrats

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