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The Story of Shaun McCutcheon's Campaign Finance Case in the High Court - Podcast

Free Speech & Election Law Practice Group Podcast
Shaun McCutcheon May 16, 2014

Outsider Inside the Supreme Court: A Decisive First Amendment Battle

“There is no right more basic in our democracy than the right to participate in electing our political leaders,” said the U.S. Supreme Court in striking down the federal biennial limit on contributions to non-candidate committees. In his new book, Outsider Inside the Supreme Court: A Decisive First Amendment Battle, plaintiff Shaun McCutcheon explains how he sought to achieve positive change in the political process in bringing his lawsuit. On our Teleforum, Mr. McCutcheon described his road to the nation's highest court, and his quest to bring needed change to Washington by giving more candidates an opportunity to compete in the political arena and offer expanded ideas in the public marketplace.

Featuring:

  • Shaun McCutcheon, owner and Chief Executive Officer, Coalmont Electrical Development Company and Author, Outsider Inside the Supreme Court: A Decisive First Amendment Battle

The First Amendment and Campaign Finance: Assessing the Recently-Decided McCutcheon v. FEC Case - Podcast

Free Speech & Election Law Practice Group Podcast
Bradley A. Smith April 09, 2014

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Stating that “There is no right more basic in our democracy than the right to participate in electing our political leaders,” on April 2, 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the federal biennial limit on contributions to non-candidate committees. News coverage of the decision explains that it effects only a small handful of donors, but characterizes it as important nevertheless. How sweeping is the decision, and how important might it prove to be in coming elections? Is the Court now positioned to continue to favor the First Amendment over the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act?

Featuring:

  • Prof. Bradley A. Smith, 2013-14 Judge John T. Copenhaver Visiting Endowed Chair of Law, West Virginia University College of Law and Josiah H. Blackmore II/Shirley M. Nault Designated Professor of Law, Capital University Law School and former Chairman, Federal Election Commission

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McCutcheon v. FEC - Post-Decision SCOTUScast

SCOTUScast 4-7-14 featuring Derek Muller
Derek Muller April 07, 2014

Derek MullerOn April 2, 2014, the Supreme Court issued its decision in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission. This case involves constitutional challenges to federal election laws that limit, over the course of a two-year election cycle, the total amount a person may contribute to so-called “non-candidate committees,” such as political parties and political action committees. Petitioner McCutcheon contends that these limits are based on no “constitutionally cognizable interest” and therefore violate the First Amendment on their face, or alternatively, as applied to contributions to national party committees. In addition, McCutcheon contends, the limits are numerically so low as to be constitutionally invalid on that basis as well, both on their face and as applied. Finally, McCutcheon argues that federally imposed limits on contributions to candidate committees likewise violate the First Amendment for lack of a “constitutionally cognizable interest.”

In an opinion delivered by Chief Justice Roberts, the Court held by a vote of 5-4 that the aggregate limits violate the First Amendment, as they do little to prevent quid pro quo corruption or the appearance thereof, yet seriously restrict participation in the democratic process. Justices Scalia, Kennedy, and Alito joined the Chief’s opinion. Justice Thomas wrote an opinion concurring in the judgment. Justice Breyer wrote a dissenting opinion, joined by Justices Ginsburg, Kagan, and Sotomayor. The decision of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia was reversed and remanded.

To discuss the case, we have Derek Muller, an Associate Professor of Law at the Pepperdine University School of Law.