- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 23, 2009

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

So-called campaign finance reform groups, outraged over the recent decision of a federal appeals court to invalidate certain campaign finance restrictions on independent political groups, are spuriously accusing the judges of overreaching in Emily’s List v. FEC (“Campaign-giving restriction is nullified,” Web, Saturday).

“Reform groups strongly condemned the ruling as overly broad because two of the three judges — all appointed to the Washington-based court by Republican presidents — declared the restrictions to be First Amendment violations,” according to The Washington Times.

Campaign finance regulations affect core First Amendment freedoms, and in this case the Federal Election Commission — by regulating independent groups — clearly infringed on the free speech rights of Emily’s List and other independent groups.

Since 1976, in the landmark Buckley v. Valeo, which “reformers” in the past have urged the Supreme Court to overturn, the court has afforded broad protection for independent speech.

Now that federal courts are knocking down campaign finance restrictions, “reformers” are suddenly howling about “judicial activism.” Invalidating a statute or regulations in conflict with the First Amendment of the Constitution isn’t judicial activism, and citizens who care about their free speech rights should cheer the Emily’s List decision.

SEAN PARNELL

President

Center for Competitive Politics

Alexandria

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