By Javier ManjarresLast week, Senator Charles Schumer of New York took a very aggressive position against 1st Amendment Freedom of Speech on the Senate floor-
“I believe there ought to be limits because the First Amendment is not absolute. No amendment is absolute. You can’t scream ‘fire’ falsely in a crowded theater. We have libel laws. We have anti-pornography laws. All of those are limits on the First Amendment,” he said. “Well, what could be more important than the wellspring of our democracy? And certain limits on First Amendment rights that if left unfettered, destroy the equality — any semblance of equality in our democracy — of course would be allowed by the Constitution.
“And the new theorists on the Supreme Court who don’t believe that, I’m not sure where their motivation comes from, but they’re just so wrong. They’re just so wrong.” Senator Charles Schumer
Essentially, Senator Schumer is clamoring for a neutered interpretation of the first amendment that is so narrow, it would render the First Amendment almost meaningless. Schumer lumps political speech that just happens to be subsidized by corporations together with porn, libel, and slander- such a cynical view of the 1st Amendment that likely indicates that Senator Schumer knows he is losing the broader political debate.
The Shark Tank received a response to Schumer’s remarks from his Senate colleague Mike Lee-
“Sen. Schumer’s comments are unfortunate. It appears he is suggesting to further limit Americans’ free speech rights, not because there has been any allegation of a corrupting influence, but because he does not like the kind of speech that is influencing the public. That seems to me to be antithetical to the intent of the Free Speech Clause. The Founders sought to protect speech in a way that would foster a broad range of opinions and ideas and encourage individuals to participate in democracy. I can appreciate that Sen. Schumer is frustrated that there are many who disagree with him on the issues, and that those opinions are influencing the public. But that is exactly the kind of speech the Founders sought to protect, not limit.” –Senator Mike Lee (R-UT)
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