Thursday, January 29, 2015
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Court must recognize influence

By
March 7, 2011 |

In its efforts to protect our freedom of speech, the United States Supreme Court often treads a very fine line. The challenge for the court is determining when a particular type of speech unduly threatens the public’s well-being.

In a recent case, the court decided that distasteful speech was not unduly harmful, presumably because, while the speech in question might have been distressing, the distressed could safely have chosen to ignore it. But the court has set limits on speech that it believes could put lives in jeopardy, such as calling out “fire” in a crowded place, and risking the trampling of people trying to escape.

When the court determined that monetary contributions to politicians are protected speech, it may have strayed across the line into an ethical and legal swamp. Protecting the spoken and written word is one thing. Protecting the political mantra — “money talks” — is another story. It is close to condoning bribery.

When lobbyists argue the merits of legislative and regulatory action, enlightenment can result. However, the practice of special interests paying for specific govermental actions is nothing short of corrupt. Sadly, the way Washington politicians appear to work is by adhering to a pay-to-play script behind closed doors and then covering their sins by releasing sugar-coated sound bites to the press.

When it comes to big issues, lobbyists tend to be the most knowledgeable people in Washington. The public is well-served when lobbyists from all sides of an issue work to educate the most challenged people in Washington, politicians. But things can still go wrong. The public interest can and does get lost when the merits of competing arguments are set aside and policies favored by the most generous campaign donors are adopted.

The next time the Supreme Court gets to act on the constitutionality of “money talks,” it ought to cleanse itself of the appearance of suborning corruption and prohibit the unseemly sale of legislative and regulatory outcomes.

Sterling Chaykin

Davis

Comments

comments

Letters to the Editor

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

     
    ‘Huck’ and ‘Tom’ float old Arboretum dock to removal

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Work continues to modernize Davis Healthcare Center

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1

     
    Holman continues to educate and inspire

    By Daniella Tutino | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Biologists: Raising California dam would harm salmon

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2 | Gallery

     
    Teens arrested after midnight joyride

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

     
    Overweight video game avatars ‘play’ worse than fit ones

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3 | Gallery

    Meet the mayor for coffee at Peet’s

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Author joins radio show

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

    Make your own SoulCollage on Sunday

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

     
    Calling all chicken owners: Apply for coop crawl, share information

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    Walk through Quail Ridge Reserve on Feb. 14

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Hopmans named associate vice provost for global affairs

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

     
    Review motivation to refresh your healthy-habits plan

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6 | Gallery

    Tips to protect skin this winter

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6

     
    For health and healthy appearance, there’s just one quick fix

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

    NAMI-Yolo examines inpatient services at potluck

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

     
    Measles outbreak grows

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A9

    .

    Forum

    Basement living, with attitude to match

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

     
    50 years since Ash Hall

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A10 | Gallery

    Can climate change bring us together?

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A10

     
    Paso Fino coming to a vote

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

    .

    Sports

    Aggies still looking for record hoops win

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

     
    Blue Devil Hammond has a huge day at home

    By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Pent up? Join Davis’ latest athletic event

    By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Two in a row for Devil boys

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

    UCD roundup: Aggie football players crack the books

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2

     
    Youth roundup: Harper hoopsters off to hot start

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

    Treys send Toronto past Kings

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

     
    .

    Features

    What’s happening

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A8

     
    College Corner: Have wanderlust? Go overseas for college

    By Jennifer Borenstein | From Page: A8

    District learns from bomb threat incident

    By Kellen Browning | From Page: A8

     
    It’s Girl Scout Cookie time!

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A8 | Gallery

    Feenstra-Fisher wedding

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A9

     
    .

    Arts

    Show explores the evolution of dance

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

     
    A rose by any other name — if there is one

    By Michael Lewis | From Page: A11

     
    Acclaimed guitarist Adrian Legg to play at The Palms on Saturday

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A11 | Gallery

    .

    Business

    .

    Obituaries

    James George Tingus

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    .

    Comics

    Comics: Thursday, January 29, 2015

    By Creator | From Page: B6