The decision in Citizens United v. FEC incited much debate and hand-wringing. Are companies people? Is corporate speech protected? Does the metaphor of the market apply to freedom of speech and, if so, does that mean more regulation or no regulation?
One thing it did not anticipate, however, was more transparency.
The New York Times reports today that Citizens United contains within it the lances by which to slay the opaque shadows of corporate interests said to soon dominate the airwaves and field of public debate. The opinion and those who wrote it, notably, Scalia, would have the free and open expression of corporate interests, but only if they are held responsible for their statements.
Says Robert Scalia, “Requiring people to stand up in public for their political acts fosters civic courage, without which democracy is doomed.”
It is not a complete revocation of the unbridled free-market conceit equating speech to a marketplace. But it does impart caution into the notion that if it’s a marketplace, then we should eliminate all regulation forthwith.