Early Reports on McCutcheon Oral Argument: Agreggate Limits Likely to Fall, But Not Clear If Standard of Review Will Change


Chief Justice John Roberts said that telling an individual he can give the legal maximum of $2,600 per election to only a handful of candidates for Congress “seems to me a very direct restriction” on First Amendment rights.

The court did not appear willing to call into question all contribution limits in its first major campaign finance case since 2010.


More to come




NY Times “Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., who probably holds the crucial vote, indicated that he was inclined to strike down overall limits on contributions to several candidates, but not a separate overall limit on contributions to several political committees.”

USA Today

SCOTUSBlog: “Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., who may well hold a decisive vote in this case, wondered aloud whether there was any way to deal with the problem of rich people writing very large checks that would not also inhibit wider participation in the money side of politics….Will the Court start all over with the issue of limiting campaign contributions, as it did four years ago with independent campaign spending, opening the money floodgates further?  Maybe, but there was almost nothing heard in Court on Tuesday that would suggest any such boldness.”



LA Times


CQ Roll Call




ABC News

I’ve explained in Slate that the most important question is not IF the limits fall but HOW.  A broad ruling could endanger all campaign contribution limits.

Also, to understand McCutcheon you’ve got to know the history of Buckley v. Valeo.  I tell its story in The Nine Lives of Buckley v. Valeo (in First Amendment Stories (Garnett and Koppelman eds.)

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