[StBernard] MyHeritage.org: Supreme Court upholds First Amendment

Westley Annis Westley at da-parish.com
Fri Jan 22 19:12:49 EST 2010

Supreme Court upholds First Amendment

On Thursday, the Supreme Court upheld the First Amendment
<http://members.myheritage.org/site/R?i=U0MZTk-giA1p7dbJ5AvKAw..> and
appropriately struck down government prohibitions on many sorts of
privately-funded political advertising. In doing so, Heritage Foundation
legal scholar Hans von Spakovsky argues
<http://members.myheritage.org/site/R?i=a3JmQS8K0bVe2yADtyf_fg..> , the
court "upheld some of the most important principles: the right to engage in
free speech, particularly political speech, and the right to freely

The case, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, originated as a
question about campaign finance laws and whether they apply to an
unflattering film about then-Senator Hillary Clinton. After the government
argued that campaign finance laws could even lead to bans on books, the
Court ordered a rare re-argument
<http://members.myheritage.org/site/R?i=9p-pu3ohMjDOjDe76jojDg..> to
address the broader constitutionality of limiting corporations' independent
spending during federal election campaigns.

It was a question of "ancient First Amendment principles," the Court stated
in its majority opinion
<http://members.myheritage.org/site/R?i=4wvr6L78PLbMJVEV3COdnA..> . It is no
coincidence that the rights to free speech and assembly are among the first
mentioned in our Bill of Rights -- our Founders recognized that these rights
are essential to the preservation of a free government.

"Speech is an essential mechanism of democracy and the means to hold
officials accountable to the people," Spakovsky argues. But the right to
free speech is not limited to individual persons, he argues. For-profit and
non-profit organizations are greatly "affected, damaged, or even lost" by
the laws Congress passes, so there is "no rational reason why they should
not be able to engage in independent political activity."

Those who criticize the Court's 5-4 decision fail to recognize a key
component about this critical First Principle: free speech "is written in
terms of 'speech,' not speakers," as Justice Scalia explained in a
concurring opinion. It is a right that applies to all. To deny it to would
be an obfuscation of the written law and a violation of a fundamental right.

Charles Krauthammer on Obama's first year

President Obama's first year in office represents a "downward trajectory
from divinity to mortality," conservative commentator Charles Krauthammer
told an audience of Heritage President Club members this week.

> Watch Krauthammer's entire Heritage address online at Heritage.org


> Learn more about membership in the President's Club, which includes

invitations to future events and other special benefits.

Focusing his remarks primarily on the President's foreign policy,
Krauthammer reviewed a year of failed soft-diplomacy initiatives, including
the "apology tours" and concessions to unfriendly powers.

Continuing this "illusory foreign policy" poses grave consequences to our
nation, Krauthammer explains:

It would constitute a gradual, American retreat. It will have
inexorable consequences easily and succinctly stated. When erstwhile allies
begin to see the America umbrella beginning to be withdrawn, they will begin
to accommodate themselves to those countries that we were protecting them
from.[This approach to foreign policy will bring about ] the weakening of
alliances; the strengthening of centers of adversarial power in Moscow,
Beijing, Caracas, Tehran and elsewhere will continue at pace until some
cataclysm wakes us up. Such are the wages of living in a virtual world. I
pray we leave it soon."

Considered by Heritage Vice President Kim Holmes to be the "maker of 'Aha!'
moments," Krauthammer has been a voice of reason about many of the
administration's domestic and foreign policies.

> Other Heritage Work of Note

* "Yesterday, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) admitted
<http://members.myheritage.org/site/R?i=BF0ZNPWtjMoT9HURt-a0gQ..> that the
House does not have the votes to pass the Senate version of Obamacare,"
writes Heritage's Rory Cooper.
<http://members.myheritage.org/site/R?i=5oOSq_qkhY-T6WQ2KiN-6w..> Some on
the left are suggesting removing popular provisions in Obamacare and
attempting to pass those separately. "This is not reform," argues Cooper.

Instead of rushing to put in place a piecemeal version of bad
legislation, the left should consider alternatives. Though they have
received little attention, Republicans in Congress have presented sound
substitutes that would offer real reform, such as: the Patients Choice Act
of 2009 <http://members.myheritage.org/site/R?i=MYEy2JJRNuB_hCKAXk8L5Q..> ;
the Improving Health Care for All Americans Ac
<http://members.myheritage.org/site/R?i=SwN8feCTHgB9ccs1Gayw0w..> t; and the
the Empower Patients First Act
<http://members.myheritage.org/site/R?i=j3C9aDNQ5Osh73QW99mSQg..> .

As Cooper states, "It is high time both sides of the aisle have a
voice in reforming the health care system that affects every single living

* Tens of thousands of Americans are marching in Washington, D.C.
today to protest the 37th anniversary of the Supreme Court's decision in Roe
v. Wade, which legalized abortion in the United States. Many of these
protesters, Heritage scholar Chuck Donovan writes
<http://members.myheritage.org/site/R?i=zR2wGshGrdVEkcfIGD2JIQ..> , are
individuals "who have been helped by or volunteered in one of the nation's
2,300 pregnancy resource centers," which operate almost entirely without
public funding.

* Over the past year, the Obama administration has missed many
opportunities to strengthen our national security in an increasingly
dangerous world, writes Heritage expert Mackenzie Eaglen.
<http://members.myheritage.org/site/R?i=4dXYx4HzAQOppXDLwKwE3A..> Though
the President appropriately stated that the war in Afghanistan is not
optional, his plan falls short of success. In addition, the President's
policies of engagement have sacrificed important foreign policy and military
advantages, which down the line may have real national security

> In Other News

* President Obama is calling for the largest regulatory overhaul of
the financial sector since the 1930s
<http://members.myheritage.org/site/R?i=phrud1ETQmQNjXRfukFazA..> . The
President's plan, which would impose restrictions on many of the largest
financial institutions, tries to use government power to fix a problem
government helped create.

* The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has
retracted its 2007 claim that the Himalayan glaciers are likely to disappear
by 2035. The IPCC now says there is little scientific evidence to back up
their claim
<http://members.myheritage.org/site/R?i=b43hR-qTQHkkJmPZFZVVSQ..> .

* Liberal radio network Air America has folded
<http://members.myheritage.org/site/R?i=xuWJ0VRJEAQUh-2yVNhIjg..> . The
company blames declining ad revenues and other market challenges for its

* According to the AP
<http://members.myheritage.org/site/R?i=V_tf9hoslxT8NxDUbptiCg..> , "the
number of newly laid-off workers seeking jobless benefits unexpectedly rose
last week, as the economy recovers at a slow and uneven pace."

* Unemployment rose in 43 states last month.

Amanda Reinecker is a writer for MyHeritage.org-a website for members and
supporters of The Heritage Foundation. Nathaniel Ward, the Editor of
MyHeritage.org, contributed to this report.

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