Monthly Archives: December 2003

A New Year’s BCRA Challenge

I’m still editing the BCRA case for the election law supplement. There are two errors in footnote 72 of the joint Stevens/O’Connor opinion. I’ll post the name of the person who first sends me an e-mail identifying both errors.
Happy New Year!
UPDATE: Adam Charnes found two errors, including one I did not find. So he wins, but there is still another error in the footnote, which I would surmise was added at the last minute. Here is what Adam found:
1. The correct cite isn’t “42 U. S. C. A.

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Sunstein on McConnell v. FEC / McConnell typo

On December 21, the Washington Post published this oped by Cass Sunstein on the BCRA decision. I have expressed skepticism of the particular kind of Court deference in the BCRA opinion that Sunstein here praises, and I’ll be writing about that in the coming weeks.
In editing the McConnell decision for the special 2004 update to the Election Law casebook that I coedit with Dan Lowenstein, I ran across the following typo in C.J. Rehnquist’s partial dissent:
“[P]olitical parties often foster speech crucial to a healthy democracy [citation], and fulfill the need for like-minded individuals to ban together and promote a political philosophy.” 72 U.S.L.W. at 4089 (my emphasis). One might better describe members of Congress as the group of like-minded individuals that “banned together” some direct corporate and union spending on electioneering communications.

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Catching up

While I was gone, the 11th circuit upheld disclosure requirements for section 527 political organizations and the three-judge court hearing the Texas redistricting lawsuit made some important rulings. Ed Still has the details here and here respectively.
Blogging will remain light for the next two weeks.

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Florida Felon Disenfranchisement Case Reversed by 11th Circuit

See the opinion in Johnson v. Bush here. Plaintiffs challenged Florida’s felon disenfranchisement law and the district court granted summary judgment for the state defendants. The appellate court remanded the case for further factual findings on both equal protection and Voting Rights Act claims related to Florida’s law on felon disenfranchisement. One judge dissented. Thanks to How Appealing for the pointer.

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Commisioner Smith on Regulating 527s

See this very important interview that FEC Commissoner Brad Smith gave to the A.P. Here’s a snippet of why Smith thinks that the FEC may have to treat the 527s as political committes subject to FEC regulation:

    Smith said that while he hasn’t formally made up his mind, he believes the court’s ruling may require the FEC to treat the new groups just like regulated political committees. As such, they would be limited to accepting no more than $5,000 in donations from each individual, and be banned from taking corporate or union money.
    It also would require them to disclose their finances and spending to the FEC.
    Smith said the high court ruling seems to eliminate the court’s previous “express advocacy” standard, which meant the FEC could regulate groups that spent money expressly calling for a candidate’s election or defeat.

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