Free Speech Subverted?

Free Speech Subverted?

Do political candidates, and those who support them, have a right to claim First Amendment rights to protect the lies they tell to gain office?

 


The First Amendment to our Constitution is in more danger today than probably at any time in our relatively brief history as a nation. A cursory check of the news on any given day is likely to turn up one or more stories that relate to threats to this statement of law. The first amendment to our Constitution covers a lot of ground. Today, I want to comment on one small piece of that ground. Over time and as events that tweak my curiosity and/or outrage develop, I’ll be coming back to the Bill of Rights and this Amendment with more posts.


Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. [My emphasis above]


I guess that in a situation where the Supreme Court  has enshrined the principle that the more money you have the more free speech you may exercise (http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/09pdf/08-205.pdf), it’s not surprising that politicians and their supporters can commit the moral equivalent of a coup d’état by blatant lying and distortion of facts to gain public office. If yelling “fire!” in a crowded theater, when there is no fire, is not protected speech, how can political lying be protected speech? It seems to me that far more people end up harmed in the latter case.

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