The Left’s Attempt to Repeal
the First Amendment

September 12, 2014

UPDATE: On Thursday, the Senate rejected S.J. Res.19 by a vote of 54-42.

September 10, 2014

UPDATE: On Monday, the Senate voted 79-18 to consider S.J. Res. 19. Several Republicans voted to advance the amendment in order to argue against it during debate, with the intention of voting no on the amendment itself. S.J. Res. 19 is still expected to fail in the Senate.

September 8, 2014

UPDATE: This week, the Senate is expected to consider S.J. Res. 19, a proposed constitutional amendment which would give Congress and state governments vast new authority to regulate speech. The measure is expected to fail, but it nevertheless emphasizes the desire of many liberals to restrict political dissent. Please see this excellent op-ed by former Solicitor General Theodore B. Olson explaining the dangers of the proposed amendment.

This attempt to gut the First Amendment also highlights the dangers of an Article V convention. Although S.J. Res. 19 depends upon congressional approval, progressive groups pursuing the same goal embrace a convention as a way of achieving it. In some states, legislation has been introduced calling for a constitutional convention to consider amendments that would roll back protections for free speech.

June 2, 2014

First AmendmentDissatisfied with ignoring the Constitution through judicial supremacy and executive overreach, liberals in Congress now want to repeal its essential provisions, starting with the First Amendment. Tuesday, June 3, the Senate Judiciary Committee is holding hearings about S.J.Res.19, “Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States relating to contributions and expenditures intended to affect elections.” Leftist senators are suggesting this amendment in response to recent Supreme Court decisions that have found campaign finance restrictions unconstitutional.

Senator Ted Cruz describes the meaning of this proposed amendment, which has 41 cosponsors:

Proponents of the amendment also say it would just “repeal Citizens United” or “regulate big money in politics.” That is nonsense. Nothing in the amendment is limited to corporations, or to nefarious billionaires. It gives Congress power to regulate-and ban-speech by everybody.

Indeed, the text of the amendment obliquely acknowledges that Americans’ free-speech rights would be eliminated: It says “[n]othing in this article shall be construed to grant Congress the power to abridge the freedom of the press.” Thus, the New York Times is protected from congressional power; individual citizens, exercising political speech, are not.

Fortunately, the bill has little chance of gathering the required two-thirds majority support in the Senate, let alone enough support from the House of Representatives or the states. Nevertheless, S.J.Res.19 is a dangerous effort by liberals, and highlights the lengths they will go to in order to silence political opponents. Eagle Forum will continue to track this amendment in Congress and keep you updated.