With opponents like these…

During the first round of oral argument in Citizens United v. FEC, the government’s attorney raised eyebrows by suggesting that it had the authority to ban books.

The New York Times has more, basically explaining that the proponents of campaign finance restrictions would rather not talk about such extreme violations of the First Amendment in favor of just making unfounded accusations about corporate money drowning out other speech:

The discussion of book banning may have helped prompt the request for re-argument…

In an interview, Mr. Wertheimer seemed reluctant to answer questions about the government regulation of books. Pressed, Mr. Wertheimer finally said, “A campaign document in the form of a book can be banned.”

The similar argument by Deputy Solicitor General Malcolm Stewart is featured in pages 26-30 of the transcript of the March 24 argument.

If I were advocating the ability of the government to ban books, I’d be “reluctant” or embarrassed, too…

The Center for Competitive Politics is now the Institute for Free Speech.