You can almost hear Linda Greenhouse of The New York Times (the Mother Jones of the Supreme Court press contingent) gasp in dismay in her article in todays paper. Somehow after all these years of satisfying her deepest whims, the Court decided to throw open the door to legal challenges made against McCain-Feingold on First Amendment grounds.
Ms. Greenhouse, the breathlessly fervent biographer of the author of Roe v. Wade (Becoming Justice Blackman) cant understand it, as her piece plainly illustrates. Why only two years ago, she wails, the Court in a 5 to 4 decision seemed to spurn free speech challenges. Now on the very day that pro-lifers by the thousands marched in Washington, the court rules that both the government as well as a special three-judge federal court had misinterpreted its earlier decision foreclosing future challenges to advertising restrictions they had slapped on advertisements and corporate sponsors.
Not only that, to Greenhouses almost violent distaste, the justices vacated the lower courts decision as it applied to an advertisement not just a groupbut a right-to-life groupsought to broadcast on Wisconsin television. This after Linda and The New York Times editorial board thought that they had their monopoly on their own privately controlled speech locked up: only to see the specter of dissent that would pollute the airwaves and possibly interfere with establishmentarian control over the peoples right to know. Not only did the Roberts Court change direction but given that Sam Alito will be in all likelihood coming on board soon, there are going to be some grey days for Linda.