In a rare television appearance, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia defended the Court’s controversial decision in Citizens United, calling political donations a form of speech.
Justices don’t traditionally comment on cases that are pending or the Court just ruled on, leaving the high court’s decisions on the Obama administration health care law and Arizona’s immigration law off the table. Scalia, the court’s longest-serving justice, was not afraid to discuss Citizens United, one of the Court’s most controversial decisions in recent years. He said money in the form of political contributions is speech, and therefore should not be limited.
“I think Thomas Jefferson would have said, ‘The more speech, the better.’ That’s what the First Amendment is all about, so long as the people know where the speech is coming from,” he said on CNN’s Piers Morgan Tonight. “You can’t separate the speech from the money that facilities the speech.”
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To separate speech and money, he said, was “utterly impossible.” “Can you tell newspaper publishers you can only spend so much money in the publication of your newspaper? Would they not say this is abridging my speech?”
When challenged over the difference between a newspaper and someone who was “buying the election,” as Piers Morgan put it, Scalia said that newspapers endorse campaigns all the time. “They’re almost in the business of doing that.”