Another Walk for Campaign Finance Reform: This One with #SCOTUS Disrupter in Scorching California

Press release via email: Californians Begin 480-Mile March for Democracy from L.A. To Sacramento Marchers demand “one person, one vote” political equality, an end to Big money corruption in politics Los Angeles, CA – On May 17th, dozens of activists led by the grassroots organization 99Rise will depart Los Angeles City Hall to embark on a 480-mile “March for Democracy” across the state of California to raise awareness and mobilize…

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“Federal court strikes down state rule on political issue ads”

Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel: A federal appeals court has struck down state rules regulating campaign-style issue ads, but the practical impact of the decision is blunted because the rules had already been sidelined by another lawsuit 3 1/2 years ago. Wednesday’s decision by the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago likely ends a legal battle that has played out in state and federal court since 2010. It began when the state Government…

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After McCutcheon, New RNC Challenge to Soft Money Rules

On the day the Supreme Court decided McCutcheon, I wrote in Slate: Third and most dramatically, the court seems to open the door for a future challenge to what remains of the McCain-Feingold law: the ban on large, “soft money” contributions collected by political parties. These contributions were banned because it had become clear that political parties were becoming conduits for access between elected officials and big donors. Today Roberts rej…

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Just a Quick Thought on the John Doe Case and Its Troubling Implications for Campaign Finance Law

Yesterday I linked to this Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article about a new federal court decision.  As the article described it, “a federal judge ordered a halt Tuesday to the John Doe investigation into campaign spending and fundraising by Gov. Scott Walker’s campaign and conservative groups, saying the effort appeared to violate one of the group’s free speech rights.” I am crashing under a number of impending deadlines, which will i…

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“Prosecutors say McDonnell fixated on justice’s remark”

Times Dispatch: Federal prosecutors say former Gov. Bob McDonnell is putting too much stock in Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy’s declaration that “ingratiation and access … are not corruption.” Kennedy made the statement in his 2010 Citizens United ruling. In that campaign finance case, the court ruled that the government cannot stop corporations and unions from spending money to back or denounce candidates. Chief Justice John G. Ro…

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“State Aggregate Limits and Proportional Bans under McCutcheon”

New report from CCP. “Policymakers in the District of Columbia and the 18 states with aggregate limits and proportional bans should strongly consider repealing these speech-stifling regulations in order to comply with the precedent set in the McCutcheon decision and avoid a likely successful legal challenge. Additionally, repealing these regulations will also enhance the First Amendment freedoms of the citizens residing in each of these st…

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More on Justice Breyer’s Citation to Book Not in the Record

The other day I noted that Justice Breyer cited to unavailable scholarship in his McCutcheon dissent. I updated the post to reflect that Derek Muller had made those points when the opinion was released, something I had missed.  Here’s another reference I missed, from Collins and Skover’s introduction to the SCOTUSBlog McCutcheon symposium: Reliance on secondary sources While James Madison and  The Federalist Papers  were quoted by th…

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Today’s Must-Read: Liptak Talks to Justice Stevens About Citizens United, McCutcheon

For one thing, in this column Justice Stevens confirms the rumors swirling for years that Justice Souter wrote the first draft of a Citizens United dissent.  (I called for its release in this Slate column.) The draft dissent, which has not been made public, questioned the majority’s attempt to recast a modest case into a blockbuster that would overrule major precedents and allow unlimited campaign spending by corporations and unions. The draft…

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“Change the Constitution in Six Easy Steps? It Won’t Be That Simple, Justice Stevens; From campaign finance to political gerrymandering, the retired Supreme Court justice skips hard arguments in his new book in favor of unrealistic, poorly drafted solutions. “

I have written this book review for The Daily Beast. It begins: Reading retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens’s new book, Six Amendments: How and Why We Should Change the Constitution, I was reminded of an old Steve Martin routine from his standup days. “First, get a million dollars,” Martin explains in “You Can Be a Millionaire and Never Pay Taxes.” Then if the tax collector comes to your door asking why you didn’t pay taxes on your m…

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Perhaps for First Time, Justice Breyer’s McCutcheon Dissent Cites Unavailable Forthcoming Scholarship

…here, the second with a link to a now-expired HUP page) about it when McCutcheon was released–but, sadly, the only response was of interest, not of anyone who could identify any precedent. Interestingly, the HUP link identifying the forthcoming book was available when McCutcheon was released, but it appears that HUP has now moved the page to here: http://www.hup.harvard.edu/catalog.php?isbn=9780674729001 Another question I had is, who se…

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Linda Greenhouse on McCutcheon

NYT: This time, five justices did actually manage to toss something out the window: the post-Watergate system of campaign finance regulation. Only Justice Clarence Thomas, who refused to sign the four-justice plurality opinion by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. because it didn’t go far enough, would have explicitly overturned the court’s foundational precedents in this area. The chief justice tried in his own opinion to persuade readers that…

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“McCutcheon Attorney Files New Challenge To Contribution Limits for Traditional PACs”

Bloomberg BNA: An attorney who helped launch the successful challenge to the cap on individual campaign contributions recently decided by the Supreme Court has filed a new lawsuit challenging limits on contributions by traditional political action committees (PACs) that contribute to candidates (Stop Reckless Economic Instability Caused By Democrats (Stop Reid) v. FEC, E.D. Va., No. 14-397, filed 4/14/14). Attorney Dan Backer of DB Capitol Strat…

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“Supreme Court Protester Sentenced to Time-Served”

Tony Mauro: In a statement to the judge, Newkirk said he had spoken out at the Supreme Court and broken the law “in the tradition of civil disobedience” to draw attention to the court’s 2010 Citizens United ruling and the then-pending McCutcheon campaign finance case. “Our democracy is greatly threatened” by the court’s decisions weakening restrictions on campaign money, Newkirk told McKenna. “The Suprem…

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Updated/Final Versions of Some of My Articles on Campaign Finance, Voting Rights

I’ve posted an updated version, including a short discussion of McCutcheon, of Super PAC Contributions, Corruption, and the Proxy War over Coordination, forthcoming in the Duke Journal of Constitutional Law & Public Policy. I have posted the final version of Three Wrong Progressive Approaches (and One Right One) to Campaign Finance Reform, 8 Harvard Law & Policy Review 21 (2014) I have posted the final version of Shelby County and…

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The Court and Institutional Realism: McCutcheon

…is going on politically,” knows nothing will happen, and is therefore deceptively hiding the truth about McCutcheon’s effects.  Put another way, we can ask:  should McCutcheon – and cases like it — be decided differently based on the Court’s judgments of “political realism” about how the political branches and regulatory agencies are likely to respond? McCutcheon is thus a perfect example of what I have…

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“COMMENTARY: Free speech just got more expensive”

Jusus Baird of Religion News Service has written a commentary which begins: Dear Supreme Court justices: When I heard about the McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission ruling, it made me plotz. I’m a rabbi, so I know much more about the Talmud than about torts. But if there’s any group that can compete with scholars of constitutional law, it’s rabbis. Your recent decision was all about the First Amendment and free speech. As I understand it, l…

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“The war against American citizens”

Katrina vanden Heuvel WaPo column: In 1971, before becoming a Supreme Court justice, Lewis F. Powell Jr. penned a memo to his friend Eugene Sydnor of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce advocating a comprehensive strategy in favor of corporate interests. Powell wrote, “Under our constitutional system, especially with an activist-minded Supreme Court, the judiciary may be the most important instrument for social, economic and political change.” In last…

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A Tale of Two Campaign Finance Appeals at SCOTUS: Why No Push to Allow Corporate Contributions to Candidates?

…e Court is going about dismantling what’s left of campaign finance limits. After the Supreme Court decided McCutcheon v. FEC, striking down the aggregate limits on federal contributions, it disposed of two other cases it had been holding since McCutcheon. In one case, James v. FEC, also involving federal aggregate limits, the Court sent the appeal back to the district court to reconsider in light of McCutcheon. That’s sort of standard…

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“GOP creates new fundraising group after McCutcheon ruling”

Byron Tau reports: In the wake of a major campaign finance ruling from the Supreme Court last week, the three major Republican Party committees have formed a new joint fundraising effort that will allow them to collect big checks from major donors. According to documents filed with the Federal Election Commission, the newly formed Republican Victory Fund is a joint fundraising committee composed of the Republican National Committee, the National…

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“In Chevron Case, FEC Brings Clarity to the Federal Contractor Ban and Super PACs”

Covington‘s Inside Political Law: The rules on corporate contributions to Super PACs were made clearer today when the Federal Election Commission (FEC) released its finding that Chevron Corporation’s $2.5 million contribution in 2012 to the Congressional Leadership Fund (a Super PAC) had not violated the bar on government contractors making contributions in federal elections. Public Citizen and several environmental groups had alleged tha…

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