Justice Kennedy, writing for the Court, emphasized that the government’s ban on corporate speech was censorship, pure and simple: “When Government seeks to use its full power, including the criminal law, to command where a person may get his or her information or what distrusted source he or she may not hear, it uses censorship to control thought. This is unlawful.” He added, “The First Amendment confirms the freedom to think for ourselves.”
In today’s opinion, the Court ruled that everyone, including corporations, has the right to speak out about issues and candidates. The government may not restrict the marketplace of ideas: “The civic discourse belongs to the people, and the Government may not prescribe the means used to conduct it.” In other words, the First Amendment rejects government paternalism, instead “entrusting the people to judge what is true and what is false.”
a federal district court judge declared unconstitutional the challenged “Matching Funds” provision of Arizona’s so-called “Clean Elections Act,” striking a blow for the rights of individuals and groups to speak freely during political campaigns. The Institute for Justice is challenging Arizona’s scheme of publicly financing elections, which drowns out the voices of individuals and groups who wish to support privately financed candidates who run against taxpayer-funded candidates in a misguided effort to “level the playing filed.” If a group makes an independent expenditure in favor a privately funded candidate, the unelected bureaucrats at the Clean Elections Commission dole out dollar-for-dollar “matching funds” to the publicly funded candidate. That means that for every dollar an individual or group spends to support the candidate of their choice, over the publicly funded candidate’s initial government subsidy, the government pays an equal amount of money to the political competition. IJ also seeks to preserve the right of individuals to run for public office without having to accept taxpayer funds. Arizona’s public financing scheme punishes candidates who reject the political welfare of public funding by burying them in red tape and giving extra money to their publicly funded opponents. The case is being appealed to the Ninth Circuit, where IJ will again demonstrate that "clean Elections" doesn't level the playing field, it levels the players on the field.