[U.S. President Barack] Obama has presided over a massive expansion of secret surveillance of American citizens by the National Security Agency. He has launched a ferocious and unprecedented crackdown on whistleblowers. He has made more government documents classified than any previous president. He has broken his promise to close down the controversial Guantánamo Bay prison and pressed on with prosecutions via secretive military tribunals, rather than civilian courts. He has preserved CIA renditions. He has tried to grab broad new powers on what defines a terrorist or a terrorist supporter and what can be done with them, often without recourse to legal process. The sheer scope and breadth of Obama’s national security policy has stunned even fervent Bush supporters and members of the Washington DC establishment.
What is “speech”? And to whom does it belong?
“[T]he concept that government may restrict the speech of some elements of our society in order to enhance the relative voice of others is wholly foreign to the First Amendment.”
- Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas in United States v. Automobile Workers, 352 U.S. 567 (1957)
“The Court has thus rejected the argument that political speech of corporations or other associations should be treated differently under the First Amendment simply because such associations are not ‘natural persons.’”
- Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, 558 U.S. 08-205 (2010)
“The act of occupation, this court has determined as a matter of law, is not speech.”
- Suffolk County (Mass.) Superior Court Judge Frances McIntyre, in a decision regarding the legality of Occupy Boston, 7 December 2011
So, corporations are “people” entitled to free “speech” in the form of spending an unlimited amount of money to influence the outcomes of elections in the United States, but the Occupiers’ reason for existing isn’t “speech”?