Yesterday’s decision by the U.S. Supreme Court striking down the "Millionaire’s Amendment" was a great victory for the First Amendment (you can read CCP’s amicus brief on the case here), strengthening earlier decisions by the court rejecting the notion that Congress can infringe on First Amendment rights in order to "equalize" speech by competing candidates.
Reading the dissent by Justice Stevens, however, should send a chill down the spine of anyone who values political speech free of government management. In his dissent, Stevens explicitly endorses the idea of limiting the quantity of speech in politics. Apparently, all of the ads filling the airwaves encouraging voters to support one candidate or oppose another, or care about this issue or that one, hurt the Justices preference for an "orderly debate," as he puts it.
"… the imposition of reasonable limitations would likely have the salutary effect of improving the quality of the exposition of ideas," Stevens writes. "After all, orderly debate is always more enlightening than a shouting match that awards points on the basis of decibels rather than reasons."
More after the jump