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U.S. Supreme Court

Law Prof: Some Campaign Finance Laws in ‘Grave Danger’

Posted Jun 27, 2008 7:58 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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The future of some campaign finance laws may be at risk under a U.S. Supreme Court ruling yesterday striking down the so-called “Millionaire’s Amendment,” according to a law professor who is an expert on the subject.

The 5-4 ruling in Davis v. Federal Election Commission struck down a law that permits candidates to accept larger campaign contributions when self-financed opponents spend more than $350,000 of their own money. The law is intended to level the playing field, but the court said it violated the First Amendment rights of candidates who choose to spend their own money and see the the effectiveness of their speech diminished.

Loyola law professor Rick Hasen told the New York Times the decision is “a signal of what is to come. What could easily fall following this case are the long-standing limits on corporate and union spending in federal elections.”

In an interview with the Washington Post, Hasen said corporate and union spending limits “are in grave danger.” He told the New York Sun that the justification for those laws is also based on the idea of political equality. “I think the writing is on the wall,” he said.

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