OK, so the United States Supreme Court has just decided that is all right for people to lie during a political campaign. Well, no, that’s not exactly right, they decided it is all right for a political group to distort the truth about a candidate’s position.
Actually, that’s not exactly correct either. The U.S. Supreme Court said that a group that wanted to put up a billboard in Ohio could challenge an Ohio elections law that prevented political entities from misstating the truth in political advertisements.
The billboard was to state that this particular candidate was supporting the use of federal tax dollars to promote abortion. The candidate alleged that their proposed billboard was lying and had asked the billboard be prevented from being put up under the provisions of this statue. Who was right? Did the billboard lie?
Wait a minute. There’s more. After all was said and done, the owner of the billboard refused to put it up for fear of a lawsuit. On top of that, U.S. Rep Steve Driehaus, a Democrat from Cincinnati, who was being opposed by Republican candidate Steve Chabot, lost his re-election bid without having to answer the billboards statements.
Even more importantly, the question of whether or not anyone’s rights to free speech were violated was then eventually examined by several Ohio courts: after a federal judge said the suit didn’t matter because the request to invoke the law was actually withdrawn by Driehaus, the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati agreed ,stating essentially that the whole matter was moot.
So, considering that the Ohio Elections Commission never really had to make a decision as to whether or not the billboard violated this particular law, why did the U.S. Supreme Court agree to weigh in at all. More confusing, since they did agree to consider the matter, why didn’t they just either strike the law down and be done with it or say, yes, it’s a good law and leave it at that?
As it turns out, many other states have similar laws. Think of all those lawyers in Alaska, Colorado, Florida, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, Oregon, Tennessee, Utah, West Virginia and Wisconsin who might be denied the opportunity to makes gobs of money if the Supreme Court actually had ruled Yay or Nay.
So, why didn’t they at least just agree with the other courts in Ohio and say the issue in Ohio was null and void, for nothing was ever put up that gave anyone a reason to invoke this law. Think of how much hot air such a decision would have prevented from being expelled in at the very least the State of Ohio’s courtrooms.
With the nation’s highest court making such a stellar decision, everyone can now walk away after reading their ruling and go ahead and file more lawsuits in all of these states each and every time some other political entity decides to agree or disagree with a political candidates’ viewpoint and is potentially denied the right to publish it or post it or advertise it. Hallelujah! This truly is freedom of speech at its very best!
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