Skip to comments.Supreme Court appears ready to reject Arizona campaign finance law
Posted on 03/29/2011 6:04:37 PM PDT by DeaconBenjamin
The Supreme Court's conservative justices signaled during oral arguments Monday that they would vote to strike down another campaign funding law and make clear that states and cities may not try to "level the playing field" between candidates for public office.
The justices objected to part of an Arizona law that provides public funds to candidates for state office if they agree to forgo private fundraising. The disputed provision gives extra "matching funds" to candidates who face a well-funded and free-spending opponent.
Conservatives and libertarians in Arizona sued and argued that the extra funds unfairly penalized candidates who relied on private fundraising. They lost in the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.
The Supreme Court has been split 5-4 on campaign funding cases, with the conservative bloc in the majority, and that split was evident again.
Last year, the conservative majority said spending on political campaigns could not be limited by law, even to prevent big corporations from using their profits to sway elections. They sounded determined Monday to limit government power to "equalize" spending between a well-funded candidate and a challenger who is trying to keep pace. If so, the court will deal another blow to liberals.
Arizona's voters adopted the Citizens Clean Elections Act in 1998. It offers state candidates a basic grant to run for office and extra "matching funds" if their opponent is spending heavily with private funds. For example, a candidate for the state Legislature who receives a grant of $21,000 to run in a general election can receive up to twice that amount in extra funds to match the spending of his opponent.
"Under our precedents, leveling the playing field is not a legitimate state purpose," said Chief Justice Roberts.
(Excerpt) Read more at latimes.com ...
Good. “Leveling the playing field” is akin to “spreading the wealth.”
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