'Peoples' Rights Amendment' Would End Free Expression

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COMMENTARY | A group of liberal lawmakers, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, are proposing to alter the First Amendment to the Constitution to remove the right to free speech from corporations, according to the Daily Caller.

The move is a reaction to the Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission that declared restrictions on corporate political spending to be unconstitutional. The so-called "Peoples' Rights Amendment" is designed to reverse this decision by removing Constitutional protections from "corporations, limited liability companies or other corporate entities established by the laws of any state, the United States, or any foreign state, and such corporate entities are subject to such regulation as the people, through their elected state and federal representatives."

The effect of the amendment, according to a number of legal scholars, including UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh, would be to strip constitutional protections from entities such as newspapers, cable news networks, internet news outlets, non profits, and churches. This would in turn place heavy restrictions on the rights of individuals who use media outlets to express opinions.

A newspaper columnist would still be free to express an opinion, but the newspaper would not be free to print it. A radio talk show host would be free to comment on issues of the day, but a radio network would not be free to broadcast it. A movie director would be free to express a vision that has a political element, but a movie studio would not have the right to produce that vision into a movie nor a theater the right to show it. People wanting to exercise their First Amendment rights would be reduced to handing out printed broadsheets or ranting on street corners.

Church run entities such as hospitals and schools which are resisting the Obama administration birth control mandate would now no longer have a constitutional basis to do so. Indeed, churches would no longer have the freedom to express religious doctrine of any kind.

According to CNS News, Pelosi claimed that the goal of the "People's Rights Amendment" was to reduce the role of money in politics. That would seem to include money to buy newsprint, bandwidth, and video recording media.

The effect would be to effectively destroy the right to free expression and to institute a regime of fascism in the United States.

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