Lungren: Major Victory for the First Amendment

Jan 21, 2010

The Ranking Republican on the Committee on House Administration Applauds SCOTUS Decision to Overturn Unconstitutional Restrictions on Free Speech


WASHINGTON - Today, the Committee on House Administration's Ranking Republican Dan Lungren, R-Calif., issued the following statement on the United States Supreme Court's 5-4 ruling in the Citizens United v. the Federal Election Commission case - overturning restrictions banning free speech:  


"I am extremely pleased with the Court's reversal of prior rules that allowed the infringement of free speech based upon the organizational character of the speaker. The Court's conclusion that political speech is central to the First Amendment's meaning and purpose is indisputable, and I find the Court's return to that focus essential to preserve the most important form of speech that is ingrained in our culture.   


"The dire need for this decision became evident when the FEC's lawyer stood before the Court and attempted to defend the government's right to ban certain entities from publishing books, of all things, that some might consider political speech.  The Court rightly recognized this autocratic attempt to ban books as unconstitutional censorship that reached far beyond the scope of the First Amendment.    


"Similar to Congressional attempts to force American taxpayers to fund political campaigns they don't support, restricting political speech violates the Constitution and degrades the very principle of our republic - the protection of choice and freedom.  


"Congress so often, and usually too quickly, assumes that restricting political spending will remedy the public's perception of political corruption.  Instead of rethinking its closed-door processes that limit transparency and obscure the legislative process, Congress opts to dictate how others exercise their right to free speech via political spending. 


"I thank Citizens United for its tireless efforts to protect free speech, in all of its manifestations, for all Americans.  Today's decision is a major victory for the First Amendment."


For more information, please contact the Committee press office at (202) 225-8281.