Free Listening

Peter Ferrara Rush’s fans have rights, too quotes a question asked by Justice Scalia during oral arguments in Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission.

“Do you think that there’s a possibility that the First Amendment interest is greater when what the government is trying to stifle is not just a speaker who wants to say something but also a hearer who wants to hear what the speaker has to say?”

The right of free speech implies a right to listen. Without listeners, the speech would be wasted. In the case of talk radio, the listeners have a many to one ratio. The rights of large numbers of people are threatened by proposed censorship.

Peter Ferrara points out other cases in which the same concept has been raised. Will the Supreme Court up hold those precedents? Will a majority of the court side with Justice Scalia?

I am not convinced that we can depend on either contingency coming to pass. We need to apply maximal political pressure to prevent the passage and enforcement of censorship laws and regulations. Representatives and Senators must be made to fear for their jobs if they support censorship, its our first line of defense. The initial case against McCain-Feingold confirmed the magnitude of the risk we take in relying on the last line of defense.

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