The Supreme Court by its recent decision Randall v. Sorrell of the 26th of June 2006 struck down a law of the state of Vermont which severely limited the amount of money a candidate for state offices can raise and spend. The Supreme Court's rationale was based on the violation by such laws of the First amendment of the Constitution of the United States. This Amendment which insures citizens' freedom is highly protected in the United States. For example, it is impossible in the United States to sue someone for racist declarations because it would infringe the freedom of speech.
Actually, the Randall v. Sorrell decision is not surprising given that it is coherent with the previous US Supreme Court's decisions. Indeed, The Buckley v. Valeo case law of the 30th of January 1976 is an essential decision as regards campaign finance law in the United States because it is the starting point for the judicial analysis of the constitutionality of campaign finance restrictions. Known as the money equals speech decision, Buckley has been widely criticized ever since as a threat for the integrity of the electoral process. As one of the more shaping decisions for campaign finance law in the United States it is an important target in the debate about campaign finance reform.
In this paper, I will seek to understand how the Buckley decision has affected subsequent campaign finance legislation and litigation. I will argue that Buckley restricted the possibilities of campaign finance regulation and so that a real regulation of the electoral process implies to overrule Buckley.
[...] In this paper, I will seek to understand how the Buckley decision has affected subsequent campaign finance legislation and litigation. I will argue that Buckley restricted the possibilities of campaign finance regulation and so that a real regulation of the electoral process implies to overrule Buckley. After explaining what exactly the Buckley decision is, I will highlight the fact that Buckley narrowed the field of campaign finance law as it made corruption the only compelling interest for campaign finance restrictions. [...]
[...] Moreover, post-Buckley decisions on finance limits directed at Political Action Committees have tracked the distinction between expenditures and contributions set forth in Buckley. What about the interest in equalizing the speaking power of voters? As said earlier, Buckley considered that corruption was the only government interest compelling enough to justify restrictions of the First Amendment. It means that all the other reasons advanced by the FECA's representatives were considered as insufficient, such as avoiding that candidates spend all of their time in fundraising, improving the quality of the debate and avoiding uninformative advertisements made by groups of special interests or making elected officials to feel responsible towards their constituencies more than towards groups. [...]
[...] Despite criticism of Buckley, the case has shape the campaign finance law regulation in the United States. Buckley was important in the development of campaign finance law and it is still important in that it is one of the principle issues in the debate about reform of campaign finance law. The call for more equality and integrity in the electoral process is strong. We still have to keep in mind that the overruling of Buckley is likely to have a ripple effect on a lot of related areas of the First Amendment US Supreme Court's jurisprudence. [...]
[...] Corruption as the only compelling interest for campaign finance regulations. A very narrow conception of corruption at the core of the decision. There were several reasons according to the government for implementing regulations in the electoral process like creating more competitive elections, or equalizing the influence of citizens. However, the Court held that preventing “corruption or the appearance of corruption” was the only reason compelling enough for restricting the political speech. In doing so, Buckley put the concept of corruption as the center of campaign finance law. [...]
[...] Green Superintending democracy: the courts and the political process, Akron, Ohio: university of Akron Press Kathleen M. Sullivan, Gerald Gunther, First Amendment Law, New-York: foundation Press Terry Eastland, Freedom of expression in the Supreme Court: the defining cases, Washington D.DC: Ethics and Public Policy Center Dworkin, Curse of American Politics”, N. Y Rev. of Books, October Foley, Equal-Dollars-Per-Voter: A constitutional Principle of Campaign Finance” Column. L. Rev (1994). [...]
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