June 16, 2014
What Does The ACLU Think Of The Udall Amendment? They are against it, and see it as an attack on freedom of speech.

In their letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee, they gave seven examples of what the amendment would allow:

  • Congress would be allowed to restrict the publication of Secretary Hillary Clinton's forthcoming memoir "Hard Choices" were she to run for office;
  • Congress could criminalize a blog on the Huffington Post by Gene Karpinski, president of the League of Conservation Voters, that accuses Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) of being a "climate change denier";
  • Congress could regulate this website by reform group Public Citizen, which urges voters to contact their members of Congress in support of a constitutional amendment addressing Citizens United and the recent McCutcheon case, under the theory that it is, in effect, a sham issue communication in favor of the Democratic Party;
  • A state election agency, run by a corrupt patronage appointee, could use state law to limit speech by anti-corruption groups supporting reform;
  • A local sheriff running for reelection and facing vociferous public criticism for draconian immigration policies and prisoner abuse could use state campaign finance laws to harass and prosecute his own detractors;
  • A district attorney running for reelection could selectively prosecute political opponents using state campaign finance restrictions; and
  • Congress could pass a law regulating this letter for noting that all 41 sponsors of this amendment, which the ACLU opposes, are Democrats (or independents who caucus with Democrats).

(For clarity, I removed some footnotes, but you can find them at the link.  For the record:  I would oppose all seven example restrictions.)

This is not a new position for the ACLU; they have opposed campaign finance restrictions for many years, seeing those restrictions, correctly, as attacks on free speech.

Cross posted at Jim Miller on Politics.

(Here's my original post on the Udall amendment, with its text.)

Posted by Jim Miller at June 16, 2014 01:30 PM | Email This