Geoffrey R. Stone of the University of Chicago wrote:
Just as it is not the business of Columbia University to declare some views “right” and other views “wrong,” it is similarly not the business of the United States Senate to enact resolutions condemning the constitutionally protected expression of private citizens.
But it is not a legitimate role for the Senate of the United States to pass formal resolutions condemning the expression of constitutionally protected views. Do the supporters of this resolution honestly believe that it would be appropriate for the Senate to officially condemn those who question the integrity of Vice President Cheney, or the wisdom of Justice Scalia, or the candor of President Bush? Such expression, like MoveOn.org’s attack on General Petraeus, is not only protected by the First Amendment, but it is essential to the functioning of a self-governing society. For the very same reasons that Columbia University should not declare particular ideas, perspectives, or questions “out of bounds,” the United States Senate should similarly foster “uninhibited, robust, and wide-open” debate and not attempt to intimidate citizens by official public condemnation. Such a tactic smacks of the abuses of the McCarthy Era.
The freedom of speech can be ugly, but interference from the state is much, much worse. -- Jim