July 10, 2009
Supreme Court invites us to make our case
By James Wilson

Quote of the Day: "But does 'the press' mean the media....? You think in 1791 there were ... people running around with fedoras that had ... little press tickets in (them)? Is that what 'press' means? Doesn't it cover the Xerox machine? Doesn't it cover the ... right of any individual to ... write, to publish?" -- Justice Anton Scalia

Subject: Supreme Court invites us to make our case

Do you have a right to Freedom of the Press, or do only the New York Times and the major broadcasters have that right? As it stands now...

  • The major established corporate media companies can spend unlimited amounts of money influencing federal elections, but you cannot.
  • You are subject to the limitations of the campaign finance laws, but media companies are not.
  • The media companies have Freedom of the Press, but you do not.

The campaign finance laws have...

  • Protected incumbents by making it almost impossible for challengers to raise money
  • Destroyed your ability to infuence who your representatives will be
  • Gutted your rights to free speech, free association, and freedom of the press
  • Silenced you, and people like you, for the benefit of incumbents and the established corporate news media

We want to change this. We've made one stab at doing so before, but we believe we have a much better chance now. Let me explain...

Starting in 2002 we initiated a lawsuit that attempted to overturn the campaign finance laws. Our tools for doing this were...

  • An organization called 
  • A lawsuit that featured several co-plaintiffs, including Congressman Ron Paul as our lead plaintiff
  • An excellent legal strategy developed by our attorneys, William J. Olson, Herb Titus, and John Miles

Previous attempts to overturn the campaign finance laws argued that these laws restrict the Freedom of Speech. The government counter-argued that money is not speech and that therefore, by some twisted logic, Congress can control how campaign money is raised and spent. The courts agreed. This created a situation in which...

  • Challengers have great difficulty raising sufficient funds to unseat incumbents
  • The established corporate news media have undue and overwhelming influence on American elections, because they're not subject to the same laws you are

To fully understand that second point, just think about how the establishment media treated Ron Paul during the 2008 presidential campaign. They constantly tried to make it look like Ron Paul was unworthy of consideration. Media companies can spend unlimited amounts of money influencing how Americans think about candidates, but YOU cannot.

When we last tried to challenge the campaign finance laws, our attorneys, in a stroke of brilliance, sidestepped the failed free speech arguments of the past, and instead argued that Freedom of the PRESS is the crucial issue...

  • Freedom of the Press is an individual right, not just an institutional right
  • Freedom of the Press is a distinct right, which any grammarian can see by simply reading the First Amendment
  • The right of Freedom of the Press REQUIRES capital - Xerox machines, handbills, and broadcasting facilities aren't free
  • The campaign finance laws infringe this individual right
  • Failure to protect the Freedom of the Press for individuals would eventually lead to encroachments on the freedom of the institutional press too

We lost the case, but we may have planted seeds in the minds of some of the Justices. These seeds could eventually grow into victory. Witness, for instance, our quote of the day from Justice Scalia.

In fact, it seems like our new day in court may finally have arrived, because...

The High Court has asked for new briefs in a campaign finance case involving Citizen's United, one of our co-plaintiffs in the original case.

From what we can tell it seems like the Supreme Court may be realizing that it can no longer exempt "news stories, commentaries, and editorials" of the corporate broadcasting companies from FEC financial and disclosure requirements, while forcing such requirements on "non-media" corporations.

This could be a "break in the dam" that could eventually wash away the "incumbent protecting," anti-First Amendment, campaign finance laws. We need your help to seize this opportunity. We need to fund the creation of an amicus curiae ("friend of the court") brief that will reassert our "freedom of the press" arguments. We're on a tight deadline to make this happen...

  • The brief must be filed with the Supreme Court by the end of the month
  • Our attorneys must begin work now to meet that deadline
  • This means we need unscheduled and un-budgeted funding to pay for this work, immediately
  • Immediately means this week -- today!
  • In other words, this is URGENT!

Please help with a tax deductible contribution to the Downsize DC Foundation using our secure contribution form at 

If you make a $60 or above contribution to this effort, we'll send you a printed copy of the brief, as it was filed according to Supreme Court specifications, once it's completed and submitted to the Court. If you're mailing your check, please be sure to include your email address. If you're giving online, we'll send it to the address you used on the contribution form.

We're not doing this alone. We have other partners helping pay the legal expenses. But honestly, we're not going to be very effective here if there aren't some $1,000, $500, and $250 contributions made to this effort, today. 

We need assistance from all who can provide it. If you can't afford to make a $60 or more contribution, but you can afford a smaller amount, we'll send you an email with a pdf of the brief, once it's completed and filed with the Court. Make your contribution on our secure form and be sure to give us your email address so we can send you the pdf file of the brief.

This really is a great opportunity to help restore the First Amendment and free elections. Let's not miss the chance.

Please contribute what you can to make sure this brief gets written and filed on time. But we need your financial help to make it happen!  

Did I mention that this is urgent?

Jim Babka
Downsize DC Foundation

P.S. If you're mailing your check, please make it out clearly to the "Downsize DC Foundation" as most checks come in for The mailing address, which is provided on the secure form, is...

1931 15th St.
Cuyahoga Falls, OH 44223

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