Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Whose line is it anyway?

Citizens United v. FEC might be the most controversial ruling from the Supreme Court in the last couple of years. The decision struck down a provision in McCain Feingold Act which forbade corporate broadcasts. The Majority ruling was that it violated the 1st amendment’s protection of free speech.

Modern Liberals claim corporations do not have a free speech right because it is an individual, not collective, right. Conservatives mistakenly claim that it is the other way around.

If this disagreement sounds familiar, that is because it is a rehashing of the 2nd amendment debate; except this time, the two have switched sides. In that debate, Conservatives claimed the right to bear arms is an individual, not collective, right. Modern Liberals believed it was a collective right i.e. state militias have gun rights.

Here is a syllogism I would pose to Modern Liberals in regards to Corporations having free speech rights:

Major Premise: Corporations do NOT have a free speech right

Minor Premise: New Organizations, like NY Times and the Wall Street Journal, are Corporations.

Conclusion: News Organizations do NOT have a free speech right.

Is there an error in this reasoning? If so, is it the major or minor premise? Or is there an unstated premise which is missing? Or does the conclusion not follow?

The language of the First Amendment protects a “free press” which is presumably a business. If the Press has free speech rights, then it appears free speech can be a collective right.


  1. I feel like you are using the transitive property too directly here.

  2. Yup me too....even if i dont have any idea...what does author really want to convey....:)