- Capitalism and Alternatives -
Posted by: MDG on October 27, 1999 at 18:16:30:
In Reply to: It is an attack on the First Amendment. posted by DonS on October 27, 1999 at 10:31:20:
The First Amendment guarantees the right to free expression, but giving money is not of itself an expressive activity, no more so than cleaning up your front yard expresses your belief in cleanliness. Furthermore, even if you consider political donations the equivalent of speech, the courts have long held that expression can be limited by the State. For example, you can't yell "Fire!" in a crowded theater. If the State has a substantial interest in limiting speech (as in the public safety interest attaced to the "Fire!" example), then the courts will allow the limitation. In the instant case, the State has a demonstrably substantial interest in promoting a flourishing democracy; the current campaign contribution is corrupting our democracy, and so it is entirely constitutional for our Congress to limit and/or regulate the system of campaign financing. Public financing of campaigns would put all candidates on a level playing field without limiting the content of their expression.