CCP Academic Advisor and First Amendment champion Joel M. Gora, a Professor of Law at Brooklyn Law School, has written a stellar analysis of the much maligned Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission.
In “The First Amendment…United,” Gora thoroughly recounts the outcomes of the case, defending it as an endorsement of First Amendment protections for the political speech of corporate, labor, and non-profit entities. The decision reversed statutes which had previously made it illegal for these groups to speak out in elections. Aside from the more minor immediate effects, Gora explains that the lasting legacy of Citizens United lies in its enthusiastic support for the First Amendment.
In the article, Gora overviews the arguments of the “reformers,” who wish to regulate the political speech of the aforementioned entities, and illustrates the deficiencies of their viewpoints by comparing them to long-standing First Amendment principles. Ultimately, Gora predicts that the Citizens United decision will enable the further erosion of current speech-chilling regulatory measures-a legacy of the “reformers'” stamp on the existing campaign finance landscape.
Calling the case a “landmark of political freedom,” Gora predicts the decision will result in more political speech, a more knowledgeable electorate, and a healthier democracy. He notes that “the ultimate essence of the Court’s ruling is that under the First Amendment there are no privileged speakers and no pariah speakers.”
As Gora points out, we can thank the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United for helping to make this ideal a reality.
The essay will appear in a forthcoming edition of the Georgia State University Law Review and can be found in our Research Library.