Constitutional Law

Connecticut's Matching Funds Struck Down

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Today the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit overturned the subsidies that Connecticut provides to publicly funded candidates for state office so they can match the campaign spending of their privately funded opponents. The court ruled that Connecticut's matching funds impose an unconstitutional burden on freedom of speech because they are triggered by the spending of privately financed candidates and independent groups. In effect, the subsidies punish nonparticipating candidates for exceeding spending limits, which the Supreme Court has ruled unconstitutional when they are imposed directly.

Connecticut's campaign finance system is very similar to Arizona's, which the Supreme Court is expected to consider next term. While the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit upheld Arizona's matching funds in May, the 2nd Circuit found its opinion unpersuasive, saying the attempt to equalize spending is "clearly unconstitutional" under the reasoning of Davis v. FEC, the 2008 decision in which the Supreme Court rejected a provision of federal law that raised contribution limits for candidates facing wealthy, self-financed opponents.

The 2nd Circuit decision, Green Party of Connecticut v. Garfield, is here (PDF). I discussed the challenge to Arizona's "clean elections" system in a column last month.

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  1. The isea that more money equals more power (i.e., freedom) is so silly. Who on earth woould think that an extremely wealthy man was freer in any sense (say, freer to travel the seven seas) than a poor man? It’s just silly.

    1. Edward, you’re posting a lot today. Did the halfway house upgrade to a cable modem or something?

    2. Who’s stopping the poor man? That’s kidnapping, you know.

      1. Nothing is stopping him. That’s what I mean. He just has to poay for the ticket, and he’s free to go.

        1. Max|7.13.10 @ 6:56PM|#
          “…(say, freer to travel the seven seas)…”
          And “freedom” indicates the availability of resources to do, oh, something like take a vacation? Or, say, buy a new sports car? Is that your definition of “freedom” bunky?
          Might be a strange definition of “freedom”, but actually it indicates a brain-dead fucktard’s ignorance of the English language, right Max?

    3. So you agree that money provides freedom, and then you want to ban money. Why do you hate freedom, Max?

      There isn’t a fixed lump of freedom. You seem like the kind of person who would keep blacks slaves in order to make yourself freer.

  2. Don’t come crying to me when Congress is full of rich people who pass laws to favor the wealthy.

    1. This is intentionally funny right?

      1. Are you serious? Are you serious?

        1. I hope Hobie is ignoring how much money I’ve made in the real-estate market…

  3. Wow, is anyone surprised by this?

    Lou
    http://www.privacy-tools.es.tc

  4. Can America’s courts just take over the government already? Seriously, I would like nothing more than to to turn on the TV news and see Clarence Thomas in an army suit holding a rifle declaring himself president. And executing half of congress.

    1. Only half of Congress?

  5. Only half of Congress?

    Well, you’d start with half. Pour encourager les autres.

  6. We have a very similar law in Floriduh. One of our candidates for governor (who is self-financing his campaign) recently filed a challenge to it. I didn’t think he had a snowball’s chance but I may be wrong. First time that’s ever happened.

  7. There’s something wrong here. If speech is supposed to be harmless (which when you get down to it is the justific’n for freedom of speech), then how can it be considered punishment for the speech of those who oppose you for election to be subsidized?

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