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Crooks and Liars, May 23, 2014: Wacko-Bird Ted Cruz Says Democrats Plan To 'Repeal First Amendment'
Senator Ted Cruz speaking at the Watchmen on the Wall gathering of pastors sponsored by the Family Research Council made an astounding statement that Senate Democrats will vote on a Constitutional Amendment to repeal the First Amendment.
“When you think it can’t get any worse, it does. This year, I’m sorry to tell you, the United States Senate is going to be voting on a constitutional amendment to repeal the First Amendment,” Cruz said, to the audible shock of the crowd.
“I am telling you, I am not making this up,” Cruz said. “Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has announced the Senate Democrats are scheduling a vote on a constitutional amendment to give Congress the authority to regulate political speech, because elected officials have decided they don’t like it when the citizenry has the temerity to criticize what they’ve done.”
“They don’t like it when pastors in their community stand up and speak the truth,” he added.
Senate Joint Resolution 19 of course has nothing to do with repealing the First Amendment free speech rights. It simply would undo the U.S. Supreme Court decisions that gutted campaign financing laws in their highly political 5-4 decisions in the Citizens United and McCutcheon cases. As a proposed Constitutional Amendment it would grant Congress and the states the power to regulate the raising and spending of money and in-kind equivalents with respect to federal and state elections, respectively. In other words...money is not free speech.
Justice Breyer in his dissent in the McCutcheon case earlier this year wrote:
“Taken together with Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, 558 U. S. 310 (2010), today’s decision eviscerates our Nation’s campaign finance laws, leaving a remnant incapable of dealing with the grave problems of democratic legitimacy that those laws were intended to resolve.”
Many legal scholars have written that the conservatives on the Roberts Court overstepped their authority and practiced judicial activism in gutting these campaign finance laws...essentially making it a free for all in spending by big donors. The only way to pull back the power of the court is with a Constitutional Amendment. However, the process to amend the constitution takes a vote of two-thirds of both the House of Representatives and the Senate followed by a ratification of three-fourths of the various state legislatures (ratification by thirty-eight states would be required to ratify an amendment). Or to put it another way, a mere 13 states can withhold approval and block the amendment.
So we should not hold our breath that a constitutional amendment would be passed anytime soon, and certainly not with the likes of Ted Cruz fear mongering with false information.