Appearing at the "Watchmen on the Wall" pastor gathering sponsored by the Family Research Council on Thursday, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) told the crowd that Democrats were planning a vote to repeal the First Amendment.
"This year, I’m sorry to tell you, the United States Senate is going to be voting on a constitutional amendment to repeal the First Amendment. I am telling you, I am not making this up...Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has announced the Senate Democrats are scheduling a vote on a constitutional amendment to give Congress the authority to regulate political speech, because elected officials have decided they don’t like it when the citizenry has the temerity to criticize what they’ve done...They don’t like it when pastors in their community stand up and speak the truth."
Cruz and others might continue to push this new theory, but the reality is much different. What Cruz was talking about was actually Senate Joint Resolution 19, which would reverse the recent Supreme Court rulings of unlimited money in politics and campaign financing, most notably the Citizens United case.
“I’ll note this amendment, which has 41 Democratic senators as co-sponsors, 41 Democrats have signed on to repealing the First Amendment...It explicitly says nothing in this new amendment shall abridge the freedom of the press. So the New York Times is protected, but it doesn't say the same thing about the freedom of speech...It doesn't say the same thing about religious liberty, what is says it that politicians in Washington have unlimited constitutional authority to muzzle each and every one of you if you’re saying things the government finds inconvenient.”
Senate Joint Resolution 19 would not restrict public or private speech, religious liberty or any of the other restrictions Cruz spoke about during the Watchmen on the Wall gathering. What it would do, and many support the effort, is allow the federal government to regulate the money that is being thrown around during the election cycle. Money in politics is a major problem and has only gotten worse as the income gap between the top 1 percent and the rest of the United States has widened. Former governor of Minnesota Jesse Ventura called the concentration of wealth to a small elite a "sickness," and if Ted Cruz and others continue to speak as they have, it only confirms the former governor's point.