Friday, June 27, 2008

Alito: Candidates with money should not be penalized

Justice Samuel Alito came out in favor of the little guy in his majority opinion declaring part of the Campaign Reform Act of 2002 unconstitutional.

In this case, the little guy is the poor billionaire who was hurt by rules allowing larger campaign contributions to be given to candidates who are facing people who are dipping into their own wealth for their campaigns:

Writing for the majority, Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. said the amendment required "a candidate to choose between the 1st Amendment right to engage in unfettered political speech and subjection to discriminatory fundraising limitations."

Alito said that by attempting to level the playing field, Congress was in effect attempting to influence voters' choices.

"Different candidates have different strengths. Some are wealthy; others have wealthy supporters who are willing to make large contributions. Some are celebrities; some have the benefit of a well-known family name," Alito wrote. "Leveling electoral opportunities means making and implementing judgments about which strengths should be permitted to contribute to the outcome of an election."

Under the law, he said, those are judgments for voters alone.

In other words, if you are not an incumbent or a billionaire, the odds against you are astronomical. The justices in the majority may consider this to be protection of free speech. It seems apparent that it is protection of free speech for the wealthy.


Anonymous said...

The limits actually favor the incumbents and the established party. Notice the latest push for campaign finance reform came after Ross Perot's 1992 and 1996 runs. This isn't about limiting billionaires' contributions. Ths is about protecting the two established parties.

There's hope for you Randy, but you've got to realize that the Democrats are just as bad as the Republicans.

woodsba said...

Got that right anonymous, it favors incumbents and the two major political parties. So they control the money flow, they control the so called watchdog agencies which oversee the money flow to them (FEC and the Mo Ethics Commission), they control the presidential debates commission (made up of former dnc and rnc directors) and they control our ballot access laws.

Partisan politics are diminishing our democracy and their paralyzing partisanship is diminishing their own ability to govern for the people. Too often it's about what is best for my party rather than what is best for my constituents.