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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Sept. 13, 2009 24 Elul 5769

Taking On The Book Banners

By George Will



http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Last March, during the Supreme Court argument concerning the Federal Election Commission's banning of a political movie, several justices were aghast. Suddenly and belatedly they saw the abyss that could swallow the First Amendment.

Justice Antonin Scalia was "a little disoriented" and Justice Samuel Alito said "that's pretty incredible." Chief Justice John Roberts said: "If we accept your constitutional argument, we're establishing a precedent that you yourself say would extend to banning the book" — a hypothetical 500-page book containing one sentence that said "vote for" a particular candidate.

What shocked them, but should not have, were statements by a government lawyer who was only doing his professional duty with ruinous honesty — ruinous to his cause. He was defending the mare's-nest of uncertainties that federal campaign finance law has made and the mess the court made in 2003 when, by affirming the constitutionality of McCain-Feingold's further speech restrictions, it allowed Congress to regulate speech by and about people running for Congress.

The government lawyer was trying to justify the FEC's 2008 decision that McCain-Feingold required banning "Hillary: The Movie" from video-on-demand distribution. The lawyer said, in effect:

Don't blame me. McCain-Feingold orders people to shut up when political speech matters most. It bans "electioneering communications" (communications "susceptible of no reasonable interpretation other than as an appeal to vote for or against a specific candidate") paid for by corporations in the 30 days before primaries and 60 days before general elections. Corporations include not only, or primarily, the likes of GM and GE; corporations also include issue advocacy groups, from the National Rifle Association to the Sierra Club. So, yes, if a book published (as books are) by a corporation contains even a sentence of election-related advocacy, the book could — must — be banned by the federal government, and not just during the McCain-Feingold muzzle period.


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Stunned, the court ordered that the case be reargued Sept. 9. On Aug. 30, a New York Times story included a delicious morsel about Fred Wertheimer, an indefatigable advocate of increased government control of the quantity, timing and content of campaign speech — speech about the composition of the government:

"In an interview, Mr. Wertheimer seemed reluctant to answer questions about the government regulation of books. Pressed, Mr. Wertheimer finally said, 'A campaign document in the form of a book can be banned.' "

Last Wednesday, Elena Kagan, the new solicitor general, said, in effect: Relax, the FEC has never taken enforcement action concerning a book under McCain-Feingold. Yes, but the FEC deadlocked about prosecuting George Soros under another section of federal campaign law because he did not make required reports of money spent on his promotion of his 2004 book attacking George W. Bush — money that might, or might not, have been "independent expenditures" for "express advocacy."

On Wednesday, Chief Justice Roberts said: "We don't put our First Amendment rights in the hands of FEC bureaucrats." Actually, before he and Alito joined the court, it allowed Congress to put our rights into those meddlesome hands. Hans A. von Spakovsky, a former FEC commissioner, says there are 568 pages of FEC regulations, and 1,278 pages of the Federal Register have been filled with explanations and justifications of those regulations. For James Madison, 10 words sufficed: "Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech."

The FEC's ever-thickening fog of legal hairsplitting makes it impossible to draw any bright line telling Americans what political speech is and is not legal. Nevertheless, supporters of government rationing of political speech say the court should not reverse itself regarding McCain-Feingold because stare decisis — adherence to precedents — is virtuous.

Oh? The court's finest modern moment, Brown v. Board of Education in 1954, effectively reversed Plessy v. Ferguson (1896). Yes, the court upheld McCain-Feingold just six years ago, but egregious and mischievous mistakes should be corrected before they produce torrents of bad precedents.

Defenders of McCain-Feingold say that allowing political spending by corporations will unleash too much speech. Steve Simpson of the Institute for Justice replies:

"Freeing corporate speech will lead to what more speech always leads to — a debate. Wal-Mart will support President Obama's health-care reform, as it has done, but the National Retail Federation will oppose it, as it has done. . . . Corporations do not speak with one voice any more than individuals do."

Regulations controlling political speech inevitably multiply and become increasingly indecipherable and unpredictable. The court should take the country up from McCain-Feingold, to Madison.


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