“The right to life is the source of all rights—and the right to property is their only implementation. Without property rights, no other rights are possible.” Ayn Rand pointed out this fact in her 1963 essay, “Man’s Rights,” and it is increasingly obvious regarding the relationship of speech to property. Congress has infringed people’s right to free speech by infringing their right to property—such is the essence of the campaign finance laws.
In 2010, the Supreme Court struck down a large portion of the campaign finance laws with its Citizens United ruling. Now, the Supreme Court will have an opportunity to strike down a wider portion of those laws when it hears McCutcheon v. FEC. A media release from the Committee for Justice (CFJ) reports:
This week, the Committee for Justice filed an amicus curiae brief in McCutcheon v. FEC, the next big campaign finance case before the U.S. Supreme Court. CFJ’s brief supports the Republican National Committee and individual plaintiff Shaun McCutcheon in their First Amendment challenge to the aggregate contribution limits imposed by McCain-Feingold. The Supreme Court will hear arguments in the case this fall. . . .
The aggregate limits being challenged in McCutcheon restrict the total amount of political contributions a donor can make over a two-year election cycle, even if the donor’s individual contributions comply with McCain-Feingold’s base limits—for example, the $2,600 per candidate per election limit. The aggregate limits specify that no one can give more than $48,600 to all federal candidates combined over the election cycle. . . . Similarly, there is a two-year aggregate limit of $74,600 on contributions to non-candidate committees. . . .
Let’s hope the Supreme Court will recognize to a greater degree people’s right to use their wealth and resources as they see fit—including in speech and in political advocacy.
Kudos to CFJ for taking up this important matter and for defending the right to free speech and the right to property on which it depends.
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- Curt Levey on the Supreme Court and the Presidential Race
- Steve Simpson on Continuing Threats to Corporate Free Speech
- Citizens United and the Battle for Free Speech in America
Creative Commons Image of Russ Feingold: Gage Skidmore