House Democrat Adam Schiff Introduces Corporate Speech Constitutional Amendment

Obviously, the billionaires love unlimited, undisclosed campaign funding because the billionaires have more money to spend to crowd out the speech of everyone else by definition. Not only do they crowd out the opposition, but they escalate the rhetoric to distract people from reasoned discussion and manufacture unlimited outrage. Outrage helps the ideologues, as ideology is always at the far end of analysis — elementary, emotional, uneducated, and seductive. Anyone can argue ideology. It’s facts and reason that take actual time and effort to explain.

That’s why Anthony Kennedy and the other four partisan Republican hacks overturned 100 years of law and enthroned corporations to use unlimited amounts of money as “speech” in direct contradiction to the First Amendment of the Constitution in the 2010 Citizens United case. From the Adam Schiff proposal:

“Nothing in this Constitution shall be construed to forbid Congress or the states from imposing reasonable content-neutral limitations on private campaign contributions or independent election expenditures.”

Woah, hold up there Adam. There’s nothing “reasonable” about permitting the Supreme Court to determine what is “reasonable.” You’re gonna have to do it tighter than that.

To illustrate the problem with giving the Supreme Court the power to decide what is “reasonable,” take a look at the Fourth Amendment:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized. (Bold emphasis added, because they didn’t have bold font computers when the Constitution was written.)

What is reasonable though? According to a recent 8-1 Supreme Court case, it was “reasonable” to allow police to stop someone for not breaking the law and then use the search and seizure in court. You can’t really make this stuff up, but the Supreme Court can. And not just the Republican hacks, but a whopping EIGHT members of the Court agreed essentially that the police don’t have to know the law. And we have to believe it was just an honest mistake.

I don’t know where you grew up, but we were always told here that “ignorance is no excuse for the law.” Now, EIGHT Supreme Court Justices are telling us the police are allowed to be ignorant of the law. You got that? The police may be ignorant, but you may not be.

The police stopped a guy for a broken brake light, but it was not illegal in the state to have a broken brake light. They searched and found drugs. The man was convicted on the drug charge. Too bad, so sad — the policeman’s incorrect ‘belief’ of the law was just an innocent mistake, so even though the stop was illegal, it was reasonable enough.

Now, we can all be stopped because some officer supposedly believes that the law makes something illegal that the law does not make illegal. And we can be searched. And we can be detained. And we can be inconvenienced. And some of us can even be charged. It’s “reasonable.” Mr. Moderate John Roberts wrote the decision, and even the Bill Clinton appointees Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Steven Breyer signed on, as did Obama choice Elena Kagan.

But Obama appointee Sonia Sotomayor stood alone and had a few things to say all by herself:

Both our enunciation of the reasonableness inquiry and our justification for it thus have always turned on an officer’s factual conclusions and an officer’s expertise with respect to those factual conclusions. Neither has hinted at taking into account an officer’s understanding of the law, reasonable or otherwise…

In short, there is nothing in our case law requiring us to hold that a reasonable mistake of law can justify a seizure under the Fourth Amendment, and quite a bit suggesting just the opposite. I also see nothing to be gained from such a holding, and much to be lost…

To my mind, the more administrable approach–and the one more consistent with our precedents and principles–would be to hold that an officer’s mistake of law, no matter how reasonable, cannot support the individualized suspicion necessary to justify a seizure under the Fourth Amendment. I respectfully dissent.

So, Adam, unless you can fill up the Court with a majority of Sonia Sotomayors permanently, you’re gonna need to pull in the word “reasonable” and be more specific.