It is astonishing how many people who run for elected office do not understand, much less
support, the fundamental American freedoms they pledge to uphold.
Such was the case when Republican Sen. John McCain and Democratic Sen. Russ Feingold decided that the country needed to stop some Americans from criticizing politicians before an election.
This is such a blatant violation of the right to free speech that it's shocking that politicians dare to suggest it. Yet Congress passed the McCain-Feingold act and President George W. Bush signed it.
The law prohibited corporations and unions from using their general treasuries to fund "electioneering communications"— broadcast spots — mentioning a candidate within 30 days before a primary election or 60 days before a general election.
That is precisely when Americans most need to comment on those who would run their lives.
Only by a frighteningly narrow margin did the U.S. Supreme Court hold in the Citizens United case that it is unconstitutional to ban free speech by limiting independent statements sponsored by corporations, associations and unions.
Wikipedia's summation will do: "The majority argued that the First Amendment protects associations of individuals in addition to individual speakers, and further that the First Amendment does not allow prohibitions of speech based on the identity of the speaker."