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A threat to the First Amendment

Posted: August 19, 2014 2:00 a.m.
Updated: August 19, 2014 2:00 a.m.

During the Senate’s brief pre-election legislative session in mid-September, Harry Reid, D-Nevada, intends to call up for a vote an amendment to the Unites States Constitution.

This partisan-motivated vote would essentially overturn the U.S. Supreme Court’s opinions on campaign finance and political speech. Alarmingly, it could also limit critical freedoms in our Bill of Rights.

Although amendments to the U.S. Constitution require two-thirds support in both the House and the Senate, and then ratification by three-quarters of the states, Dr. Jerry A. Johnson President and CEO of National Religious Broadcasters, warns that this proposal could have serious consequences for all the “free speech” freedoms of the First Amendment.

It could be, he said, “detrimental to liberty and equality, preparing the way for the government to prefer one voice over another — or to suppress one voice under another.”

This ill-conceived amendment includes a section reiterating the freedom of the press but is silent on the other First Amendment liberties — namely, religion, speech, assembly, and petitioning the government for redress.

Dr. Johnson noted, “In essence, this would establish the press as a super-class of speaker (without defining what the press is), but could well leave expression by the rest of Americans at the mercy of the federal government.”



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