Politics

Debate: Citizens United: Good or Bad?

The Citizens United decision has proven quite controversial, with advocates both for and against it. So why not have a debate?

For those who don’t remember, Citizens United was an organization that made a movie critical of then-candidate Hillary Clinton. The Federal Elections Commission deemed this to be a form of illegal campaign contribution, and fined them. The group appealed all the way to the Supreme Court, which ruled that money is speech, and companies are people, and since you can’t restrict people’s free speech, companies can give as much money as they want to political campaigns.

Resolution

Citizens United is a Good Thing.

Pro

First up, we have Senator Ted Cruz, who thinks Citizens United is a good idea:

Following Sen. Whitehouse’s 30-minute denunciation of dark money, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, used part of his time to defend the landmark Supreme Court case Citizens United that allowed for corporations and unions to spend unlimited money on political ads and other forms of influence campaigns.

“Citizens United concerned whether or not it was legal to make a movie criticizing a politician

On his Senate web page, he adds (emphasis in the original):

The Obama Justice Department took the position that it could fine — it could punish Citizens United for daring to make a movie critical of a politician. The case went all of the way to the U.S. Supreme Court at the oral argument, there was a moment that was truly chilling. Justice Sam Alito asked the Obama Justice Department, ‘Is it your position under your theory of the case that the Federal Government can ban books?’ And the Obama Justice Department responded yes. […] As far as I am concerned, that is a terrifying view of the First Amendment. […] By a narrow five-four majority, the Supreme Court concluded the First Amendment did not allow the Federal Government to punish you for making a movie critical of a politician. And likewise that the Federal Government couldn’t ban books. Four justices dissented, four justices were willing to say the federal government can ban books.”

Con

And now, opposing the motion, please welcome Senator Ted Cruz:

Sens. Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley raised concerns about getting meaningful legislation aimed at Silicon Valley passed because the Biden administration and prominent Democrats, who control Congress, could be beholden to financial ties to technology giants.

“Big Tech are the largest financial supporters of Democrats in the country,” Cruz told the Washington Examiner on Tuesday. “And so, to date, we have seen occasional rhetoric from Democrats directed at Big Tech, but when they’re your single-biggest donors, it shouldn’t be surprising that Democrats have been far less willing to engage in concrete action to rein in Big Tech.”

We hope you’ve enjoyed this debate, and will thank our debaters by contributing to their challengers when they come up for reelection. It’s your free speech, after all.

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