Features

January/ February 2014 The Corporate “Free Speech” Racket

How corporations are using the First Amendment to destroy government regulation.

By Haley Sweetland Edwards

Obama’s ability to shift the Court has been immeasurably strengthened by the Senate’s decision this past fall to end the filibuster for judicial appointments. He should use that power decisively and quickly. But that’s not the same as moving the Court “to the left,” at least on this issue. Rather, what’s needed are jurists dubious of both liberal First Amendment purism and radical corporate libertarianism. What’s needed are moderate judges willing to admit that when it comes to commercial information, old-guard conservatives like Rehnquist were right, and so too was Justice John Marshall, when he wrote in 1819, “A corporation is an artificial being, invisible, intangible, and existing only in contemplation of law.”

Haley Sweetland Edwards is an editor of the Washington Monthly.

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