Justice Alito defends court's ruling in Citizens United
WASHINGTON — Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito is defending the court's 2010 decision in the Citizens United case that helped fuel hundreds of millions of dollars of spending by independent groups in the just-concluded campaign season.
Alito told roughly 1,500 people at a Federalist Society dinner last week that the First Amendment protects political speech, whether from an individual or a corporation. His comments to the overwhelmingly conservative and Republican crowd were part of his broader analysis of arguments put forth by the Obama administration in recent years that Alito said would curtail individual freedoms in favor of stronger federal power.
He said opponents of the 5-4 decision have conducted an effective but misleading public relations campaign by stressing that the court extended free speech rights to corporations.
Alito rattled off the names of the nation's leading newspapers and television networks, all owned by corporations and possessing acknowledged rights to print and say what they wish about politics and government.
“The question is whether speech that goes to the very heart of government should be limited to certain preferred corporations; namely, media corporations,” he said. “Surely the idea that the First Amendment protects only certain privileged voices should be disturbing to anybody who believes in free speech.”
The justice in his speech on Thursday dealt with high court cases involving religion, private property, surveillance, immigration and health care.
Taken together, Alito said, the views put forth by the government begin to suggest a vision of society “in which the federal government towers over people.” He noted that in several cases, not a single justice endorsed the Obama administration's arguments.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Maryland might owe federal government millions for health care exchange
- Fraternity’s racist chant among its traditions, University of Oklahoma finds
- Gun used by agent who helped jail Capone headed to museum
- National briefs
- Report: Prepare to drill for oil in Arctic
- Global warming is slowing down the circulation of the oceans — with potentially dire consequences
- Excessive use of solitary found for juveniles in Baltimore jail
- Sen. Reid follows same old script for Democrats as he endorses Schumer as successor
- 30 new species of flies found in L.A. experiment
- GOP budget proposal guts federal spending, health care
- Clinton wiped private email server ‘clean’