Tuesday, March 7, 2017

First Amendment and Campaign Finance

In 2014, Riddle v. Hickenlooper, the 10th Circuit struck down a Colorado Statute that effectively limited Individual Campaign Contributions to Write-In Candidates to $200 while permitting Donors to give up to $400 to Candidates who ran in Primaries.

The Statute had been challenged principally on Equal Protection Grounds, but the First Amendment Status of Campaign Contributions was also front and center.

In a concurring opinion, Judge Neil McGill Gorsuch, President Trump's Supreme Court nominee, argued that “the act of contributing to political campaigns implicates a ‘basic constitutional freedom,’ one lying ‘at the foundation of a free society’ and enjoying a significant relationship to the right to speak and associate—both expressly protected First Amendment activities.”

That language may suggest that Gorsuch is broadly sympathetic to the idea that Money in Politics is just another Form of Expression, and would be skeptical of Campaign Finance Limits.

On the other hand, Gorsuch cautioned against adopting a Level of Scrutiny for Campaign Contribution Cases, noting that it wasn’t necessary to do so in order to resolve the Case, and that the Supreme Court’s decisions had been unclear about what level of scrutiny applies.

CLICK HERE to read the 22 page (PDF) decision.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker
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