It often takes little more than a wink from the GOP to make Glenn Greenwald spit fire and brimstone. But after the Supreme Court decided to overturn years of campaign finance laws, the lefty blogger--and constitutional lawyer--was level-headed. After staying mum on the issue for a day and a half, Greenwald gave a measured but firm endorsement of the Court's ruling.
Though he admitted to being "deeply ambivalent" about the decision, Greenwald argued that protecting the First Amendment trumped the negative consequences envisioned by pundits.
The First Amendment is not and never has been outcome-dependent; the Government is barred from restricting speech -- especially political speech -- no matter the good results that would result from the restrictions. That's the price we pay for having the liberty of free speech. And even on a utilitarian level, the long-term dangers of allowing the Government to restrict political speech invariably outweigh whatever benefits accrue from such restrictions.The post drew an avalanche of comments and criticism. The anger burned hottest at Salon itself, where irate readers flooded the comments box with dissertations of their own. Prompted by nearly 1,000 replies, Greenwald defended his argument in this post. He did not shy away from thumping his readers' mistakes.
Those who argue that (1) corporations have no First Amendment rights and/or (2) restrictions on money cannot violate the free speech clause should stop pretending that the 4 dissenting Justices agreed with you. They didn't. None of the 9 Justices made those arguments.