DISCLOSE Act: Is there a chill in the air?

Citizens United notes and warns of the dangers of laws that can chill speech a number of times.  (Quotations below from Citizens United.)

  • Prolix laws chill speech for the same reason that vague laws chill speech:  People “of common intelligence must necessarily guess at [the law’s] meaning and differ as to its application.”
  • The interpretive process [of drawing lines based on particular speakers] itself would create an inevitable, pervasive, and serious risk of chilling protected speech pending the drawing of fine distinctions that, in the end, would themselves be questionable.  First Amendment standards, however, “must give the benefit of any doubt to protecting rather than stifling speech.”
  • Applying this standard would thus require case-by-case determinations. But archetypical political speech would be chilled in the meantime. “‘First Amendment freedoms need breathing space to survive.’”
  • As the foregoing analysis confirms, the Court cannot resolve this case on a narrower ground without chilling political speech, speech that is central to the meaning and purpose of the First Amendment.
  • In the exercise of its judicial responsibility, it is necessary then for the Court to consider the facial validity of §441b.  Any other course of decision would prolong the substantial, nation-wide chilling effect caused by §441b’s prohibitions on corporate expenditures.
  • Consideration of the facial validity of §441b is further supported. . . [due to the fact that] substantial time would be required to bring clarity to the application of the statutory provision on these points in order to avoid any chilling effect caused by some improper interpretation.
  • As additional rules are created for regulating political speech, any speech arguably within their reach is chilled.
  • The ongoing chill upon speech that is beyond all doubt protected makes it necessary in this case to invoke the earlier precedents that a statute which chills speech can and must be invalidated where its facial invalidity has been demonstrated.
  • Austin’s antidistortion rationale would produce thedangerous, and unacceptable, consequence that Congress could ban political speech of media corporations. See McConnell, 540 U. S., at 283 (opinion of THOMAS, J.) (“The chilling endpoint of the Court’s reasoning is not difficult to foresee: outright regulation of the press”).
  • Limits on independent expenditures, such as §441b, have a chilling effect extending well beyond the Government’s interest in preventing quid pro quo corruption.
Is there any indication that the authors of the DISCLOSE Act were sensitive to Citizens United’s “chilling” points?

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