Tuesday, February 15, 2005
As John Zicconi reports in The Barre Montpelier Times Argus, the Second Circuit has decided en banc (all thirteen of the circuit's appellate judges) to let stand an August 2004 decision by a three-judge panel of the Second Circuit to uphold Vermont's spending limits for state government races.
The case will now either proceed on appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court or return to the district court judge to ensure that Vermont's law is narrowly tailored to meet its stated goals of both fighting corruption and the appearance of corruption and reducing the massive amounts of time candidates have to spend raising funds for their candidacy.
The Second Circuit's decision comes but a few short months after the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear a case in which the City of Albuquerque was defending its spending limits. (TheRestofUs.org had filed an amicus brief urging the Supreme Court to hear that case.)
Spending limits are one of several excellent tools we have for restoring some sanity to our process of electing our representatives. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court's hurried and oft-maligned reasoning in the 1976 case Buckley v. Valeo said that spending limits were unconstitutional. That court's decisions have not always lasted however - witness Dred Scott and Plessy v. Ferguson - and getting the Court to revisit that case may open up new doors to folks who want politics in America to be a competition of ideas, not dollars.
Check out our Buck Buckley page for more info.