Tuesday, September 27, 2005
As David Savage reports in the Los Angeles Times, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed today to consider the constitutionality of spending limits for political campaigns. If the Supreme Court upholds states' rights to choose spending limits, Americans will be able to dramatically loosen the control the nation's wealthy elites currently exercise over our elections and government.
The case, Randall v. Sorrell (originally Landell v. Sorrell), stems from a 1997 Vermont law which instituted fairly low limits on campaign contributions to candidates ($200 for state house, $300 for state senate; $400 for governor) and an overall limit on the amount political campaigns could spend ($300,000 for governor, $4,000 for state senate, $2,000 for state house).
In upholding the limits, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals found that Vermont had a compelling interest in preventing the reality and appearance of corruption and in protecting the time of candidates and officeholders.
Ever since the Supreme Court passed down the landmark decision Buckley v. Valeo in 1976, people interested in fighting the influence of big money on American elections and government have sought to restore some common sense and fairness to the national jurisprudence dealing with money in politics. Today's decision by the Court to hear the Vermont case is hopefully another step in what has been a long march towards making elections in America about the quality of a candidate's message and leadership ability, not about the amount of money they can raise and spend.
Check out TheRestofUs.org's amicus brief asking the Supreme Court to take the case at our Buck Buckley webpage.