The ACLU, the First Amendment, and the “Ideological Virus”

September 8th, 2014

Yesterday Ron Collins noted that 6 former leaders of the ACLU have come out, and effectively supported the effort to amend the First Amendment. (My thoughts on the Amendment are here). Thankfully, some at the ACLU are continuing to hold down the protection of our free speech. Ron comments further at NLJ, speaking of an “ideological virus” that has infected the left:

Ronald Collins, a First Amendment scholar who has written about the rift within the ACLU on campaign reform, said Sunday: “With increasing regularity the left is abandoning the cause of free speech whenever it seems to run counter to its brand of liberalism. Regrettably, this ideological virus has infected some ACLU types (and much of liberal left in the legal academy.) Thankfully, there is a fighting contingent in the ACLU that still believes in the First Amendment enough to resist the clamoring calls for censorship.”

Although the vote is scheduled for today, Roll Call reports that Republicans may seek to delay the vote.

Senate Democrats are facing the prospect of Republicans voting to prolong debate on a campaign finance constitutional amendment, a move that could interfere with Democrats’ plans for a barrage of pre-election votes on issues from student loans to the minimum wage to equal pay for women.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has already scheduled a Monday evening vote to cut off debate on taking up a proposal sponsored by Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M. to amend the constitution to effectively overturn the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, which threw out many limits on campaign spending on First Amendment grounds. Republicans vehemently oppose the amendment and it seemed, at least at the outset, that Democrats were planning for a quick defeat.

“Their goal is to shut down the voices of their critics at a moment when they fear the loss of their fragile Senate majority. And to achieve it, they’re willing to devote roughly half of the remaining legislative days before November to this quixotic anti-speech gambit,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell wrote in Politico opinion piece posted late Sunday.