You owe it to the republic to read the New York Times excerpts of Justice Scalia’s dissent in the Supreme Court’s disasterous ruling (5-4) upholding campaign regulations. Calling the ruling “a sad day for freedom of speech,” Scalia noted that the court has now blessed a version of campaign finance that “cuts to the heart of what the First Amendment is meant to protect: the right to criticize the government.”

Meanwhile, writing for the majority, Justices O’Connor and Breyer fret about campaign contributions to national party committees that “have a corrupting influence or give rise to the appearance of corruption.”

Appearance of corruption? At odds here are two different views of the voter: the voter who needs protection from bad ideas and the voter capable of thinking. Scalia: “The premise of the First Amendment is that the American people are neither sheep nor fools, and hence fully capable of considering both the substance of speech presented to them and it’s proximate and ultimate source. If that premise is wrong, our democracy has a much greater problem to overcome than merely the influence of amassed wealth.”