Free Speech

Sure, talk is cheap. But the right to talk is priceless. Here’s what Goldwater is doing to defend that right.

<p>Sure, talk is cheap. But the right to talk is priceless. Here’s what Goldwater is doing to defend that right.</p>

The town of Oro Valley, whose local government does not mirror its idyllic surroundings, was Arizona's retail development subsidy capitol until its town council declared a moratorium on the practice last year. Now it is distinguishing itself in another way: as the states leading suppressor of political expression.

Somehow, even the most mundane topics, like license plates, come alive when the government gets involved.  Throughout America, states offer specialized license plates bearing any number of pointed messages.  In Arizona, you can express your sense of “transplantation awareness;” your commitment to animals; or your eco-consciousness.  Similar schemes nationwide are leaving federal courts in a constitutional quagmire:  Should state governments decide which viewpoints can be expressed on license plates? 

Most Americans probably assume they can gather with friends and neighbors to say whatever they want about politics to whoever is willing to listen. They presume that the First Amendment protects their right to get together and buy yard signs, publish newsletters, or pay for radio or TV ads urging people to vote for or against a candidate -- and to do so free of government interference.

Arizonans have the right to bear arms nearly everywhere in this state without having to register anyone or anything with the government.  Likewise, as mighty as the pen might be, no one should be forced to register themselves (or their pen) before communicating with elected officials about legislative reform. Yet, Arizona has done just that through its overreaching lobbying laws.

Pharmaceutical sales are coming under criticism based on what appear to be legitimate but rare abuses of pharmaceutical salespeople promising more from a drug than they should and doctors allowing themselves to be pressured into prescribing. Unfortunately, these isolated incidents are being held up as evidence of the need for vast new government intrusion and regulation of the pharmaceutical industry’s marketing practices. While certainly well intentioned, these efforts are likely to negatively affect doctors and patients.

Case Background

Does the government have the right to deny business permits because neighbors complain? The Arizona Supreme Court said no in its ruling on the Goldwater Institute’s case, Coleman v. Mesa.

As often happens during election season, the media has been up in arms about “secret funds” being spent by independent groups on messages meant to support or oppose candidates.

This month marks Justice Clarence Thomas’ 20th anniversary on the U.S. Supreme Court. Emerging from one of the most tumultuous confirmation battles in history, Justice Thomas has become one of the greatest Supreme Court justices in the Court's history.

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