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Score one for the 1st Amendment
Posted by: McQ on Thursday, June 26, 2008

And a resounding whack at McCain-Feingold. In all our excitement about Heller, we sort of looked past this case which challenged a law which imposed special rules in races with candidates who finance their own campaigns:
The law was a response to Supreme Court rulings that forbid limits on the amount that candidates can spend on their own behalf. But Justice Alito wrote that the legislative response was unconstitutional because it “imposes an unprecedented penalty on any candidate who robustly exercises” free speech rights guaranteed by the First Amendment. Rich candidates, Justice Alito said, must “choose between the First Amendment right to engage in unfettered political speech and subjection to discriminatory fund-raising limitations.”

In the case, Davis v. Federal Election Commission, No. 07-320, Mr. Davis’s lawyer argued that the law had an ulterior motive, that of protecting incumbents against rich challengers. The court did not address that point, but the majority did express skepticism about allowing Congress to decide how to level the political landscape.

“Different candidates have different strengths,” Justice Alito wrote. “Some are wealthy; others have wealthy supporters who are willing to make large contributions. Some are celebrities; others have the benefit of a well-known family name.”

“Leveling electoral opportunities means making and implementing judgments about which strengths should be permitted to contribute to the outcome of an election,” Justice Alito continued. “The Constitution confers upon voters, not Congress, the power to choose the members of the House of Representatives.”
His whole point, of course, is money isn't the only advantage a candidate can have and thus attempts by Congress to "level" the field through limiting what someone can spend of their own money to be elected is discriminatory. It levels only one part of the field. As Alito points out, celebrity, rich donors or backers, a famous family name or even incumbency are also advantages enjoyed by some candidates over others. Singling out one "advantage" with no means of leveling the field among other "advantages" doesn't pass Constitutional muster.
 
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"Leveling electoral opportunities means making and implementing judgments about which strengths should be permitted to contribute to the outcome of an election," Justice Alito continued. "The Constitution confers upon voters, not Congress, the power to choose the members of the House of Representatives."
Oh, how I’d love to read:

"Leveling life’s opportunities means making and implementing judgments about which strengths should be permitted to contribute to the outcomes of individual lives," Justice Imaginary continued. "The Constitution confers upon citizens themselves, not Congress, the power to become successful or to fail."
 
Written By: Ron Good
URL: http://northernsubverbia.blogspot.com
As Alito points out, celebrity, rich donors or backers, a famous family name or even incumbency are also advantages enjoyed by some candidates over others. Singling out one "advantage" with no means of leveling the field among other "advantages" doesn’t pass Constitutional muster.
Looks like Alito doesn’t like the crop of candidates that M-F brought us this year, either.
 
Written By: jpm100
URL: http://

 
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