Unfortunately, the problem of “rights” is even larger than just religion, as adjudicated in the Hobby Lobby case, because first amendment to the Constitution also states: “Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press…” The Roberts Court has effectively declared in the case of funding political campaigns that restrictions on contributions are a restraint of freedom of speech. The problem with the Court decision is that it doesn’t address the question of what occurs when the combination of massive amounts of money combine with high technology to assure that the predominant publicly disseminated “speech” dealing with elections is that of the wealthiest one tenth of one percent of the population. In effect, the multi-million dollar megaphones of the rich drown out the views of anyone else. Yes, those without that kind of funds can speak, but their words go largely unheard.
In certain respects, this isn’t a new problem. Because of their position and wealth, the founding fathers had greater access to the press, and often used it, at times not in the noblest of ways, to further their own interests and ends, but because of the lack of instant communications, a press that was largely local, and diverse regional interests, none of them had access to the entire society either continuously or in real time, nor did they have the ability to buy ink and exposure in all media outlets in all states. They could not and did not conceive of the media concentration and penetration that exists today. Their interest was to assure that all views had a chance to be heard.
Yet in citing the Constitution to allow unlimited political contributions and “independent” political media expenditures that are effectively unlimited by individuals who can keep the amount of their contributions hidden, as well as their very identity unknown, the Roberts court has effectively undermined the very goals of the founders in crafting and adopting the first amendment, because the combination of money and technology effectively diminishes the freedom of speech of those who lack both money and access to technology, and, not incidentally, diminishing any public “right to know.”
Yet the far right trumpets this as a victory for free speech when it is really a victory for anonymous plutocratic propaganda.