Editorials: Is there a First Amendment right to lie in politics? | David Schultz/Cleveland Plain Dealer
Should candidates or groups say whatever they want about an opponent, issue or themselves and have it protected as a form of free speech? Recently, the U.S. Supreme Court decided that a group had a right to challenge an Ohio law banning false campaign statements. While case law suggests the law will be declared unconstitutional, there is a compelling argument that electoral lies ought not to receive First Amendment protection. There should be outer limits on what can be said in campaigns in order to promote democracy and the integrity of the electoral process. Lying is wrong; even children know it. Philosopher Immanuel Kant asserted that deceivers lie to make themselves an exception to a rule that they expect everyone else to follow. We live in a world where we conform actions, make judgments and act as if others were truthful. Liars profit by taking advantage of this trust. If trust did not exist, then business would never exist. Contracts would be meaningless, promises futile.