Free Speech might mean you can take out ads 60 days before an election

So free speech actually means that you can take out ads to discuss political issues 60 days before an election? At least that is what a 2-1 majority on the DC circuit court says. I realize that this is an extreme version of the first amendment given that it states "Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech," but it seems like a somewhat possible interpretation, right? Possibly I am missing something else, but where does it say Congress shall make no law except for regulations governing statements by people through corporations that they have formed?

Amendment I - Freedom of Religion, Press, Expression. Ratified 12/15/1791.

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.

The case was brought by Wisconsin Right to Life, which has been fighting the restrictions since 2004, claiming they infringe on its First Amendment guarantee of free speech, among other grounds.

Using its corporate treasury, the group had paid for advertisements denouncing Senate filibusters of judicial nominees and urging viewers to contact either Senator Russell D. Feingold, who was up for re-election that year, or the state’s other Democratic senator, Herb Kohl, who was not.

Under the 2002 McCain-Feingold campaign finance law, groups wanting to broadcast advertisements that name federal candidates within 60 days before a general election, or 30 days before a primary, are required to follow strict rules on how they pay for them. The law requires that donors be disclosed and caps contributions to prevent secretive groups from advocating for or against candidates in thinly disguised advertisements known as issue ads. . . .

[The Democrat Nominee on the Panel warned} “This is clearly a shift in direction and invites the use of corporate money,” Mr. Foley said, adding: “You can run ads about any policy issue you want to and you can name members of Congress in the ads. You can use corporate money for any ad that fits this profile.”


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3/26/2007 6:15 AM  

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