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August 12, 2019 • 11:59 am

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Jester's CourtroomLegal tales stranger than stranger than fiction: Ridiculous and sometimes funny lawsuits plaguing our courts.
While IRS Scandal Deepens, Liberals Undertake a Rewrite of the First Amendment Print
By Timothy H. Lee
Thursday, May 15 2014
[W]hereas the Founding Fathers drafted the First Amendment to protect the freedoms of speech and association, Senators Reid, Schumer, Udall and Bennet want to rewrite the First Amendment to restrict them.

This week, the ongoing Internal Revenue Service (IRS) scandal entered a new and more serious phase.

Although the scandal reconfirms the sanctity and importance of the First Amendment freedoms of speech and association, some on the left are pursuing precisely the opposite course.  

Newly released documents reveal that the IRS campaign to suppress the First Amendment rights of libertarian and conservative groups was not limited to “a few rogue agents in Cincinnati.” Rather, the scheme was apparently centered in Washington, D.C. The documents plainly expose how IRS headquarters directed the harassment, how Senator Carl Levin (D – Michigan) pressed IRS officials to pursue the effort and how disgraced official Lois Lerner’s denials were false. The documents also contradict the White House’s explicit assurances on the matter, including President Obama’s own claim that “not a smidgen” of corruption existed. And just as with the ongoing Benghazi scandal, the new documents were obtained not via voluntary disclosure by the Obama Administration as should be the case, but via Judicial Watch legal action.

Nevertheless, Senators like Harry Reid (D-NV), Charles Schumer (D-NY), Tom Udall (D- NM) and Michael Bennet (D–CO) seek to amend the First Amendment in a way that would curtail, not deepen, its protections.

The First Amendment itself was intentionally framed by the Founding Fathers in clear, concise and straightforward terms:

“Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or of the right of the people to peaceably assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

Despite that clarity, two centuries of judicial interpretation have often resulted in an incomprehensible, contradictory, Byzantine morass. Several decades of so-called “campaign finance reform” have only complicated matters even further.

But now Senators Reid, Schumer, Udall and Bennet seek to thrust the First Amendment into the realm of the absurd. It merits quoting their proposed Constitutional amendment in full to gain a true sense of their effort to improve upon James Madison and the other Founding Fathers: 

“Section 1. To advance the fundamental principle of political equality for all, and to protect the integrity of the legislative and electoral process, Congress shall have the power to regulate the raising and spending of money and in-kind equivalents with respect to Federal elections, including through setting limits on –

(1)    The amount of contributions to candidates for nomination for election to, or for election to, Federal office; and

(2)    The amount of funds that may be spent by, in support of, or in opposition to such candidates.

Section 2. To advance the fundamental principle of political equality for all, and to protect the integrity of the legislative and electoral processes, each State shall have power to regulate the raising and spending of money and in-kind equivalents with respect to State elections, including through setting limits on –

(1)    The amount of contributions to candidates for nomination for election to, or for election to, State office; and

(2)    The amount of funds that may be spent by, in support of, or in opposition to such candidates.

Section 3. Nothing in this article shall be construed to grant Congress the power to abridge the freedom of the press.

Section 4. Congress and the States shall have power to implement and enforce this article by appropriate legislation.” 

In other words, whereas the Founding Fathers drafted the First Amendment to protect the freedoms of speech and association, Senators Reid, Schumer, Udall and Bennet want to rewrite the First Amendment to restrict them.

Isn’t that precisely the problem at the heart of the IRS targeting scandal?

Note in particular the Senators’ desire to exempt “the press” from their restrictions. Why should The New York Times or CBS News be granted privileges unavailable to everyday citizens? If the Senators truly valued “the fundamental principle of equality for all” as they say, they wouldn’t be protecting powerful media corporations at the expense of individuals. Not to mention the inherent advantage their rewrite would provide incumbent politicians.

James Madison and the Founding Fathers knew what they were doing in drafting the First Amendment, and the Constitution more generally. Their work led to the most free, prosperous and powerful society in human history.

So now Americans must ask themselves whom they trust: the Founders, or Harry Reid and Chuck Schumer?

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"It needs to be stressed that Tlaib and Omar aren't mere 'critics' of Israel, as the media incessantly claims. Critics would find fault with policies of the nation's government -- which, in Israel's case, has oscillated from left to right, from hawkish to dovish, for more than 70 years. Critics have been traveling to Israel forever. Critics of Israel serve in the nation's parliament and openly and…[more]
 
 
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