Earlier this week, an obscure law professor at American University’s Washington College of Law suggested to the Senate Judiciary Committee that criminalizing political speech is no different than criminalizing prostitution.
The professor, Jamie Raskin, made his constitutional declaration at a Judiciary Committee hearing on Tuesday, reports CBS DC.
“There are lots of forms of purchase and exchange that we criminalize, for example, buying sex,” the professor told the august Senators in attendance. “We don’t say if someone wants to purchase the services of a prostitute, well that is just an expression of their speech.”
The topic of the Senate hearing was a long-shot, Democrat-proposed constitutional amendment that would override “Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission” and other decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court which hold that corporations, labor unions and other groups are exercising protected speech when they support or criticize politicians.
Raskin doesn’t like those political speech-protecting court decisions. His argument is that entities and individuals who provide financial support to politicians are no different than a person who bangs a prostitute and then pays for the service.
Thus, the logic goes, if the government cannot prohibit people from spending money to influence politics, how can it prohibit anyone from participating in the sex-trafficking industry? Because one is protected by the First Amendment, the other should be as well.
Raskin believes he is making a serious moral argument.
“I think it is because we believe that within the governmental process and electoral process there are right reasons for those who hold public office to make decisions and there are wrong reasons,” the professor said, according to Raw Story.
One of his major concerns about political speech is bribery and corruption.
“A wrong reason is the money you are either going to put into your pocket or huge amounts of money that you’re going to put into your campaign,” he said at the Senate hearing.
American University is, of course, best known for employing the two worst school presidents in the history of education. (SLIDESHOW: College administrators gone wild)
In 1990, Richard Berendzen resigned as American’s president after a woman alerted police because she had received disturbingly obscene phone calls. Those calls were traced to Berendzen’s office.
In 2005, Benjamin Ladner was fired for using school funds for excessive world travel, limo rides, and – what every serious college president naturally requires – a personal French chef.
This fall, fulltime tuition for law students at American University will be $48,662. This amount includes no living expenses.