Tom Udall: the anti-first amendment Senator from New Mexico

What a badge of honor for New Mexico; Our senior senator, Tom Udall is the lead sponsor of legislation that would put Congress in control of our free speech rights. Remember, the First Amendment which used to be really popular on the political left. That First Amendment says

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

As Paul Jacob points out at his “Common Sense” commentary, Udall’s proposed Constitutional Amendment, Senate Joint Resolution 19, would rewrite the First Amendment to give powerful congressional incumbents “complete and total control over all money to be raised or spent by their competitors.”

These are the same incumbents that “already enjoy a tremendous name recognition advantage over their challengers.” As Jacob asks, “What happens when incumbents limit campaign spending too low for challengers to compete?”

Good questions. The sad thing is that Udall’s misguided amendment has the support of 35 of anti-speech Democrats including the junior Senator from New Mexico, Martin Heinrich.

To their credit, the ACLU which supports “campaign finance reform,” also supported free speech in the Citizens United case on campaign finance. I’ll be checking with the ACLU to get their views on Udall’s anti-First Amendment amendment.

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11 Replies to “Tom Udall: the anti-first amendment Senator from New Mexico”

  1. Sad fact is these two will be re-elected. They’ll be voted back in from all the sheeple in Alburquerque and northern NM.

  2. Another CATO-funded smear from Gessing.

    No surprise that Gessing wants to make sure the same interests that fund his far-right wing organization can continue to make unlimited undisclosed to donations to organizations without scrutiny.

    Did you know that the CATO Institute gives tens of thousands of dollars to the Rio Grande Foundation and then has the CATO ‘scholars’ in town for events without disclosing it?

    Gessing isn’t one for transparency.

    1. Hey Richard, did you know that the Koch Brothers fund Cato? I just wanted to make sure you didn’t miss that point. Also, we are proud to host scholars from Cato and a wide variety of free market organizations. What’s there to disclose? We took money from Cato? You found out, obviously it has been disclosed.

    2. George Soros. Do your own research and think for yourself. Don’t allow other do dictate your beliefs and opinions to you.

  3. I’m glad someone is calling attention to Sen. Udall’s push for a more authoritarian government. In addition to his efforts to limit political speech, he has been a leader in pushing for Senate rules that limit minority-party rights. He also was one of several Democratic senators who wrote the IRS urging them to crack down on Tea Party groups. All of this adds up to a concerted effort to use the power of government to stifle political opposition.

  4. Wow. Section 2 of this proposed amendment is reason enough to throw it out. Per the 10th amendment, States already have the authority to do such things on their own if they wish. And then rescind them, and then do them again… Making such an amendment at a federal level is just further restriction of individual states’ self-authority.

  5. Am I missing something? I support freedom of speech, arguably with greater zeal than a lot of people are willing to commit to, but this article doesn’t explain at all how this bill infringes on that right. I totally support ending the legal fiction of “corporate personhood”. A person is a person by his/her very nature, independent of subjective interpretation, and our rights are directly consequent of that nature, to be understood through the use of reason. Nobody can “give” or “take” rights; that doesn’t even make sense. That would be like a potter giving a vase the property of “clay” after its creation. Its irrational to suggest that a corporation (or any other organization) is a person or has rights, or that the government can make it so. Could the government pass a law to make the sun blue, despite its actual color? No! As for limiting the funding a political candidate receives, I’m somewhat in agreement, but I think it would be better to outlaw campaign financing altogether. Candidates should only get attention for the merits of their ideas (like every citizen who exercises their right to free speech), not because they were given enough money to buy out the media and prevent their competitors’ voices from being heard.

    1. Yes, I’d say you are missing something. The First Amendment explicitly states, “Congress shall make no law…” That’s as simple as it gets and yet we’ve had decades of campaign finance law restricting speech in the most important area of all…political speech. This has nothing to do with “corporate personhood” or any other nuance of the law and everything to do with “Congress shall make no law…” Once the First Amendment is amended, the First Amendment and free speech are toast.

      The First Amendment wasn’t written just for individuals or even just for US citizens…it was a blanket statement in opposition to political meddling in free speech. I’d like to keep it that way.

    2. Good. Let’s start with removing protection for the NY Times, CBS, NBC, and Universal Studios, corporations all.

  6. For how many years have corporations been defined as “persons” under the law? Many.
    A person has a right to speak. The leftists (I have been a registered democrat for 45 years) gained the most in Citizens United, but the situation now is more equitable.

    Also remember: “We the people” refers not to some amorphous group or collective; they are the individual persons making up the populations of the individual states, not some commune somewhere.

    The fourth estate is more like a fifth column.

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