President Obama called the decision, "a major victory for big oil, Wall Street banks, health insurance companies and the other powerful interests that marshal their power every day in Washington to drown out the voices of everyday Americans."
The First Amendment reads: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."
Wikipedia explains that "The First Amendment to the United States Constitution is part of the Bill of Rights. The amendment prohibits the Congress from making laws "respecting an establishment of religion", impeding the free exercise of religion, infringing on the freedom of speech and infringing on the freedom of the press. In the 20th century, the Supreme Court held that the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment applies the First Amendment to each state, including any local government."
As much as it is common practice now to mistrust or blame the media, the fourth estate is a valuble part of our Democracy. The media can and has been the eyes and ears of the people, albeit filtered through the corporate ownership and advertisers who sustain it. Will the ability of corporations to pay heavily to support campaigns and issue impact the media outlets that depend on those advertising dollars and the corporations other product and image advertising?
What doe you think?
Does expensive mass media advertising constitute the kind of free speech that the Constitution's authors had in mind?
What about viral marketing via social media? Is that more like the freedom of expression they understood and intended to protect?
How will corporate funds impact our decision making and elections?
Will low to middle income Americans be represented in their best interests?
Are they now?
Is American business and unrestrained capitalism?
If capitalism works so well, why are people looking to government to bring back the jobs?
Do corporations have the same rights as individuals?
Some high court decisions have put boundaries around free speech, using community standards and public policy arguments. This decision seems to me to lean in the direction of an almost Kantian, categorical interpretation of the First Amendment.
What do you think?
For additional information there are several key sources:
The Bill of Rights
California State University, Long Beach's Center for first Amendment Studies.
Find Law directory exploring the First Amendment
A deeper look from Cornell University