In a Skype interview with Huffington Post Live today, super PAC attorney Dan Backer responded to Marc Lamont Hill’s questions about his Supreme Court victory with what appears to be an accidental admission that the entire premise of his argument is flawed.
“I don’t understand why anyone should have their free speech limited to help somebody else feel like they can speak more. The Constitution does not envision the idea of, as the court said, ‘weakening the rights of some and the speech of some in order to enhance or promote the speech of others.'”
But the argument has a clear weakness. HuffPost asked Backer why, if money is speech, bribery is illegal. Shouldn’t bribery be considered an expression of one’s First Amendment rights?
Money quickly transformed in Backer’s reasoning. “The court did not say, and really neither does any serious commentator, that money is speech. Money is not speech. Money is a necessary tool to engage in political speech and political association,” he said.
So whereas last week money was free speech, and therefore money-as-free-speech had to be protected by the most activist Supreme Court in American history, this week money is merely a “necessary tool” for speech — one that billionaires obviously have in abundance, where 99% of Americans do not. This inherently undemocratic arrangement is entirely based on an absurdly-narrow definition of ‘bribery,’ which is why even Mr. Backer has a hard time explaining his own litigation outside the business channel bubble without sounding foolish. The Roberts Court decision simply makes no sense to the vast majority of Americans, so every time he tries to explain it to them, Backer sounds more and more ridiculous.