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This Afternoon

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Those so favored are free to speak

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For the purposes of discussion, we once again must remind ourselves what the First Amendment to the Constitution actually says: “Congress shall make no law ... abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.” This presumably would preclude the majority party in Congress from advancing legislation to stifle or gag potential critics, at a time when Congress and its rulers stand in general public disfavor, on the eve of an election when absent restrictions on political speech they could sustain losses, possibly severe. Of course, to take this theme to its logical end, the vulnerable party must “carve out” exemptions tailored to its supporters, free them to maneuver, to spend and speak on its behalf. More arbitrary exemptions could soothe large political organizations — make a deal with them, lest they be tempted to fight back.

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