If you are a stripper in a nightclub, or an aluminum siding salesman phoning Americans at suppertime, your activities are fully protected by the First Amendment. That is the import of last week's decision thwarting the Federal Trade Commission's Do Not Call list. But if you are a political organization like the American Civil Liberties Union or the National Right to Life Committee, you may not run advertisements 60 days before a general election urging Americans to vote for or against any candidate. That is the state of the law at this moment.
So the kind of speech the founders were most keen to protect -- explicit political expression about important public policy matters -- is slapped down, while invasions of privacy are not. The Supreme Court recently heard arguments for and against the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law, and we can hope that they will give it the heave ho. But honestly, how can it be possible, in a nation that claims to love freedom, that political speech must be rescued by the Supreme Court, while commercial speech is permitted to barge into your very home?
Tuesday, September 30, 2003
Mona Charen notes this irony.
Posted by Betsy Newmark at 6:46 AM