Supreme Court Ruling a Blow to 'Reform' More Than Victory for Free Speech

Today the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that it was unconstitutional to ban interest groups from running issue ads close to an election. The McCain-Feingold Act bans any issue ads by interest groups that mention a candidate running for reelection from airing within 60 days of a general election (and 30 days before a primary), even if the ad does not expressly advocate voting for or against the named candidate.

The way Ariane de Vogue of reports it, the ruling is not a victory for free speech and political participation, but a blow to "reform." (emphasis mine):

Reigniting the debate over campaign finance regulation, the Supreme
Court struck down a part of the 2002 Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act on

That legislation, also known as the McCain-Feingold law,
restricts corporations and labor unions from broadcasting ads at
election time using general funds. Proponents of campaign finance
reform fear Monday's ruling will create a major loophole in the
legislation and cause an influx of so-called "sham issue" ads that
McCain-Feingold was created in part to combat.

Meanwhile, Bloomberg News seems to think that the Supreme Court has given interest groups the "power" to run said ads. In truth, the Court recognized that McCain-Feingold violated free speech rights in the first place.

June 25 (Bloomberg) -- The U.S. Supreme Court gave companies, labor
unions and interest groups more power to run broadcast ads before
elections, limiting the reach of a federal campaign-finance law.

5-4 ruling today marks a shift for the court, which in 2003 upheld the
law, including a provision that restricts pre- election ads. The court
today said that provision couldn't be constitutionally applied to three
ads aired by a Wisconsin anti- abortion group in 2004.

Neither news agency mentioned that a principal author of the legislation deemed unconstitutional, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), is running for President in 2008.

Judiciary Campaigns & Elections 2008 Presidential Wire Services/Media Companies Online Media