In a controversial decision on Monday, the Supreme Court of the United States judged that an Ohio law which prevented groups from making false political statements was unconstitutional. The decision from the Court was unanimous that the group challenging the law should have been allowed to erect billboards stating that Representative Steve Driehaus (D-Ohio) of supporting “taxpayer funded” abortion.
The billboards were a response to the Democratic Congressman’s support of the Affordable Care Act. It was, and in some ways still is, a common attack from the right to try and associate universal healthcare with a practice fundamentalist conservative’s have a gut-level, moral opposition to.
The group was prevented from erecting the billboards when Driehaus filed a complaint against Susan B. Anthony List (SBA List), the group behind the billboards, and lower courts decided with Driehaus. The group contended that its First Amendment right to free speech included the right to make false political speech.
In a statement, SBA List President Marjorie Dannenfelser said, “Today’s decision by the court is a step toward victory for the freedom of speech and the broad coalition of groups who have supported SBA List throughout this case. The truth or falsity of political speech should be judged by voters, not by government bureaucrats.”
Increasingly, political groups are backed by corporate money and special interests. Speech that represents the actual interests of the people is harder and harder to hear. This Supreme Court doesn’t seem too concerned at all that it’s setting us on a path where only the richest and wealthiest will have any influence in politics. The rest will be crowded out and drowned in the waves of lying lobbyists with money to burn.