Slippery slope: Muddy mess

Monday, February 18, 2008

"Hillary: The Movie" will be a blockbuster -- if the U.S. Supreme Court gives the First Amendment a thumbs-up.

David N. Bossie, who released the 90-minute documentary on Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., is targeting the liberal presidential candidate and, more importantly, the free speech-rationing 2002 Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act.

The act effectively blocks everyone's freedom of speech by limiting Mr. Bossie's nonprofit corporation's ability to promote the film. The law silences "electioneering communications" (financed by corporate or union money) 30 days before a primary election and 60 days before a general election if the ads clearly identify a candidate for federal office.

A three-judge panel had ruled the film really is a campaign ad and, therefore, names of the film's investors and their contributors must be disclosed under the "reform" law. Bossie wants the Supreme Court to reverse the decision.

Judges as film critics -- "Hmmmm, is this Michael Moore movie artistic or political?" -- court disaster. As does allowing them to decide which politically controversial books, magazines, plays, art exhibits, concerts and the like will be banned from using the public airwaves.

As slippery slopes go, this one's a muddy mess that the Supreme Court would be wise to dry out.