On Thursday, the Supreme Court struck down several key restrictions on corporate campaign contributions. While many lament the expected influx of yet more corporate cash into an already compliant political system, does anybody really think McCain-Feingold had accomplished much of an improvement? These regulations only affect those who cannot afford the lawyers, accountants, and other professionals who spend their careers finding ways to circumvent the spirit of the laws.
There are two key elements to the court's conclusion: the constitutional prohibition of free speech restrictions and the status of the corporation as a person. Libertarians should not complain about the court's conclusions with respect to the first element. The government must abstain from interfering with any person's political contributions, monetary or polemical.
In the past the court has seen fit to abridge first amendment rights in cases where the government has a compelling interest. Campaign finance laws have usually rested on this basis, relying on the court's acknowledgement of the need for balancing a variety of interests. In throwing out McCain-Feingold, the Supreme Court can be seen as effectively reining in these deviations from the letter of the law. A strictly defined freedom of speech should certainly be defended.