Captain's Quarters Blog

« Captain's Quarters On the Air Tonight | Main | You Wouldn't Read This in the Strib »

December 10, 2003
Burn All the Flags You Want -- Just Don't Speak

Conservatives profess a love for literal interpretation of the Constitution; liberals call for a conceptual interpretation; but I don't know who came up with the idea that the Constitution means everything except what it explicitly says. However, the Supreme Court has upheld major provisions of the McCain-Feingold Campaign Reform act:

A divided Supreme Court upheld the broadest restrictions on campaign donations in nearly 30 years Wednesday, ruling the nation is better off with limits on the financial influence of deep-pocket donors even if money never can be divorced from politics.

Rooting out corruption, or even the appearance of it, justifies limitations on the free speech and free spending of contributors, candidates and political parties, the court said in a 5-4 decision.

After decades of unusual behavior being recognized as "speech" and freed of all reasonable restrictions -- like nude dancing or burning flags, for example -- the Supreme Court has ruled that Congress can restrict the rights of people and groups to commit actual political speech! You know, I could have sworn I read somewhere that Congress isn't allowed to pass laws restricting speech ... hmmm ... where was that?

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.

I guess that five members of the Supreme Court didn't manage to find that in the Constitution. Too bad, maybe they would have changed their minds. Sounds pretty convincing to me, as it did to Justice Antonin Scalia:

"Who could have imagined," Scalia wrote, that the same court that gave free-speech protection to tobacco advertising and sexually explicit cable TV shows "would smile with favor upon a law that cuts to the heart of what the First Amendment is meant to protect: the right to criticize the government."

So, if you find yourself with some free time on the day before Election Day, here's a few fun, SCOTUS-approved activities you can do to keep yourself involved:

* Dance naked in public
* Make porn movies in college classes (except in NY)
* Burn 1000 flags
* Burn 1000 crosses

Just don't -- whatever you do -- take out an ad in a newspaper or television discussing a candidate's voting record. Then you are an enemy of the state, unless you happen to own the television station or the newspaper; if so, just call it an editorial and you're a true-blue American patriot.

Bet you don't see a whole lot of newspapers arguing that the Supreme Court made a mistake on this one.

UPDATE: Power Line has an interesting post about this decision. Hindrocket notes that the Democrats will be the biggest losers in this election cycle, and wonders why SCOTUS justices frequently seem to become more activist during their tenure. In my opinion, it's an old story: power corrupts.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at December 10, 2003 9:08 PM

Trackback Pings

TrackBack URL for this entry is

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Burn All the Flags You Want -- Just Don't Speak:

» APPALLING from Patterico's Pontifications
The Dog Trainer reports that the Supreme Court has upheld the awful campaign finance reform law. The decision is here. It is my practice not to criticize court decisions before reading them. However, I am extremely skeptical that I will... [Read More]

Tracked on December 11, 2003 1:27 AM

Design & Skinning by:
m2 web studios

blog advertising


Proud Ex-Pat Member of the Bear Flag League!