Monday, June 25, 2007

Supreme Ruling on Purchased vs. Nearly Free Speech

Justice Samuel Alito provided the burst of wind needed to turn the U.S. Supreme Court in a new direction. The Court struck down a law restricting free speech by single issue and special interest groups, unions and corporations just before the public votes in a primary or general election.

"When it comes to defining what speech qualifies as the functional equivalent of express advocacy subject to such a ban -- the issue we do have to decide -- we give the benefit of the doubt to speech, not censorship," Chief Justice John Roberts wrote for the majority.

However, the Court continued the government's right to restrict "nearly free"speech at events where paid government officials are speaking. People using their free speech rights to buy a bumper sticker, iron on a t-shirt message, or create a hand held sign will still be curtailed. And beware to federal employees who dare communicate their thoughts publicly.

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