Archive for February, 2010

Freedom of Speech should not be limited due to the identity of the speaker

Thursday, February 25th, 2010

I posted earlier regarding my column on the Citizens United decision. Here are a few other thoughts that cut from the column.

In his State of the Union Address, President Barack Obama criticized the decision saying “the Supreme Court reversed a century of law to open the floodgates for special interests – including foreign corporations - to spend without limit in our elections. I don’t think American elections should be bankrolled by America’s most powerful interests.”

Writing for The National Law Journal, Tony Mauro writes “For high court, a rare rebuke”:

Critics who have parsed the remarks point out that the Court in Citizens United left a century-old law intact-the Tillman Act of 1907, which bars direct corporate contributions to candidates. Instead, the Court struck down more recent statutes and precedents affecting independent expenditures – legally different from direct contributions – by corporations. And on the foreign-corporations point, Citizens United explicitly declined to rule on the issue, and other laws undisturbed by the decision regulate foreign participation in U.S. elections.

But aside from that, President Obama seems to believe that the wealthy or powerful should not have the same freedom of speech as you or me. (If you’re reading this and are wealthy or powerful, I don’t meant to exclude you…I’m sticking up for you.) It is troublesome for the State to begin limiting speech because of the identity or characteristics of the speaker. Americans do not lose their freedom to speak as they grow in wealth or power.

For that matter, the Court recognized that corporations with great wealth include some media corporations. There was a media exemption written into the now invalidated law which the Court described as an admission of the law’s failure to uphold free speech, by treating some corporations differently from other corporations because of what purpose they serve.

The Court noted the long tradition that the government cannot limit speech based on the identity of the speaker; and limiting speech based on the wealth of the speaker would do just that. While the Court recognized the state does provide certain advantages to corporations over individuals who combine to create them “such as limited liability, perpetual life, and favorable treatment of the accumulation and distribution of assets” that this does not mean a corporation must forfeit its freedom of speech in exchange of those recognitions.

RR: “Citizens United” & Free Speech; Rejecting Early Voting; Karl Rove & Alan Nunnelee

Thursday, February 25th, 2010

Here are three more columns that should catch the blog up on my recent columns.

This week I wroted about the “Citizens United v FEC” decision handed down by the U.S. Supreme Court. I looked at its impact on federal elections, Mississippi’s campaign finance laws and how it will have little impact here, and a few more cases coming up that the Court could use to further define our national campaign finance laws. You can read it at the Madison County Journal online: Perry / A win for the First Amendment

There are various concerns about early voting: it increases the opportunity for election fraud, lengthens the campaign season and diminishes political debate, creates logistical challenges for election officials, and substitutes a civics of convenience for our citizen fellowship. I discussed the early voting bill currently before the Mississippi legislature and expanded on those concerns in my column two weeks ago. One item that I mentioned, that is often underlooked when people talk about early voting, is that it is not the same as absentee voting. If you vote absentee and change your mind, you can show up on election day and cast a vote and that absentee is purged. But if you do early voting, there is no way to change your vote. Plus, this bill doesn’t remove absentee balloting (or the fraud connected to it in many counties), it just adds an additional system to corrupt. More details in my column at the Madison County Journal online: Perry / Rejecting early voting

Finally, I enjoyed interviewing Karl Rove recently as he appeared at a fundraiser for Alan Nunnelee in his challenge to unseat Democratic Congressman Travis Childers in Mississippi’s First Congressional District. We talked about Nunnelee’s race, the then recent win by Republican Scott Brown in Massachusetts, and the liberal control of Congress. Its all in the Madison County Journal online: Perry / Nunnelee, judgement on Pelosi

RR: Three books on Dixie Mafia

Thursday, February 25th, 2010

I recently read three books on the Dixie Mafia: “Dream Room: Tales of the Dixie Mafia” by Gulf Coast attorney Chet Nicholson; “Mississippi Mud: Southern Justice and the Dixie Mafia” by Edward Humes; and “The State Line Mob: A True Story of Murder and Intrigue” by Buford Pusser biographer W.R. Morris.

These three books will take you from the Tennessee line to Mississippi Gulf Coast with trips through Las Vegas, Atlanta, and Angola Prison in Louisiana. From prostitution to illegal gambling to various scams and murder, a seedy cast of characters make for an entertaining read - sometimes painful when you remember that these are true stories. You can read my recap of the three books in the Madison County Journal: Perry / Three books reveal Dixie Mafia

RR: Gov Barbour and Jobs; Recessions and Advertising; Voter ID Gets Signatures

Thursday, February 25th, 2010

Time to play catch up on a few more of my recent columns.

In January, Governor Haley Barbour called a business roundtable to discuss his job creating priorities for the legislative session. He discussed job training and how despite a recession, Mississippi can still create new high-paying jobs. He expressed his opposition to tax amnesty and tax increases. You can read the column at the Madison County Journal Online: Perry / Barbour’s business roundtable

In April of last year, the New Yorker ran a great piece on how businesses can position themselves to grow during a recession as their competitors shrink, and be prepared for strategic expansion following a recession. People can do that, too, and many are using these uncertain times to get additional education or training, or to start their own businesses. I wrote about that and my own job prospects and you can read it in the Madison County Journal: Perry / Growing during a recession

Finally, the Mississippi Republican Party and the Personhood Initiative appear to have done something that only twice has succeeded before: collected enough signatures to have an issue placed on the ballot in Mississippi. I wrote about both and the other pending initiatives in the Madison County Journal: Perry / Success of voter ID drive

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