David Cole


Judging from the rhetoric of the dissenting Justices, the Supreme Court's decision in Austin v. Michigan Chamber of Commerce, which upheld limits on corporate campaign speech, marked a revolution in First Amendment jurisprudence. Justice Kennedy branded the majority a "censor," and characterized the result as "the most severe restriction on political speech ever sanctioned by this Court. " Justice Scalia warned that by accepting the majority's rationale, "the First Amendment will ultimately be brought down. But dissenters' rhetoric, like campaign speech itself, must be taken with a grain of salt.

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