Democratic Platform Calls for Constitutional Amendment Limiting Free Speech

September 4, 2012 - 2:31 PM
Democratic Convention

First Lady Michelle Obama waves to volunteers during a sound check for the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., on Monday, Sept. 3, 2012. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

(CNSNews.com) The 2012 Democratic Party platform includes language calling for a constitutional amendment restricting free speech rights during elections, saying that the Supreme Court decision in the Citizens United case should be overturned.

“Our opponents have applauded the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United and welcomed the new flow of special interest money with open arms. In stark contrast, we believe we must take immediate action to curb the influence of lobbyists and special interests on our political institutions,” the 2012 platform says.

“We support campaign finance reform, by constitutional amendment if necessary,” it adds.

In its 2010 decision, the Supreme Court said that the government could not restrict the political speech of activist groups or other independent organizations by limiting how much money they could spend during an election cycle. The court also struck down federal limits on when independent groups could engage in election-related activities such as running television ads or publishing political materials.

During oral arguments, the Obama administration argued that federal campaign finance laws allowed the government to ban the publication of books, pamphlets, or any other material it felt qualified as election-related communications.

By calling for a constitutional amendment – as President Obama has in the past – the Democratic Party is saying it supports an amendment restricting the First Amendment rights affirmed by the Supreme Court. Such restrictions, by the Obama administration’s own admission, would allow the government to ban the publication of books, pamphlets or any other type of material by independent political groups.

Such an amendment would also allow the government to restrict how much money independent groups could spend, effectively putting a cap on how much political speech such groups can engage in.