First Amendment lawyer Floyd Abrams laid into The New York Times yesterday for attacking the Supreme Court’s controversial Citizens United decision.Abrams wrote a letter to the editor responding to a NYT editorial about a recent talk Justice Samuel Alito gave on Citizens United.
In that talk, Alito essentially called news outlets hypocrites for wanting the media but not corporations to have free speech rights.
In the 2010 Citizens United decision, the Supreme Court ruled that corporations and unions have a First Amendment right to spend freely on political campaigns as long as they don’t give directly to candidates.
The Times argued in its editorial that news outlets deserve rights other corporations shouldn’t have because of the “vital role” the press plays in our society.
Abrams, who represented the Times in the Pentagon Papers case, pointed out that before Citizens United, The Times could endorse candidates while it was a felony for nonmedia corporations to do so.
“It should come as no surprise that the same First Amendment that was held to shield the press in landmark cases of the past now shields such speech as well,” Abrams wrote in the letter reported earlier by the blog Legal Insurrection.
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