- Oct 1, 2013
See no evil, hear no evil appears to be the mantra of those urging the Supreme Court to strike down the federal aggregate contribution limits, which currently allow an individual to give as much as $48,600 in total contributions to candidates in an election cycle, as well as $74,600 to political parties and PACs.
This approach is typified by the recent op-ed of Bradley Smith in the Wall Street Journal, “The Next Battle in the Fight for Free Speech” (September 30, 2013).
- Oct 2, 2013
Those who have been following the Supreme Court case, McCutcheon v. FEC, know that it is a challenge to the $123,200 federal limit on how much an individual can give, in aggregate, to candidates, political parties and PACs in a single election cycle. What they may not realize, however, is that the plaintiffs and some of the amici curiae who filed in their support—in particular Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who has requested and received time to participate in the oral argument next week—have also made an even more extreme request of the Supreme Court: namely, that the Court overturn the key legal principle that the “standard of review” (what the government has to show to justify regulation) is different for limits on campaign contributions than limits on campaign expenditures.
- Aug 5, 2013
The startling discovery that 32 dead people have donated nearly $600k to political candidates and parties since 2009 officially puts the number of confirmed reports of zombie donors well above the number of confirmed reports of zombie voters. This raises the obvious question that if concerns of hypothetical zombie voters warrant restrictive photo ID requirements for voters, then shouldn’t instances of actual zombie donors warrant restr
- Jul 31, 2013
The American public’s opinion of Congress is at an all-time low. A NBC/WSJ poll released six days ago reveals that 83% of Americans are dissatisfied with the job Congress is doing. In fact, according to a Think Progress poll published in January, Congress is even less popular than cockroaches and colonoscopies.
Voting Rights Institute Wraps a Week of Practical Voting Rights Litigation Instruction Led by Field ExpertsJul 3, 2013
Last week, the Campaign Legal Center and American University’s Washington College of Law wrapped up the first annual Voting Rights Law Institute. The four-night Institute afforded law students and practitioners training on enforcement of voting rights law, particularly cases brought to enforce Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, and the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments to the Constitution. Unless Congress acts quickly to revise the coverage formula under Section 4, Section 2 cases will be the primary means of enforcing the Voting Rights Act after the controversial decision issued last week by the Supreme Court in Shelby County v. Holder, struck down the Act’s coverage formula thus eliminating Section 5 cases.
- Jun 28, 2013
- Jun 27, 2013
While we continue to lament Tuesday’s blow to the Voting Rights Act in the Shelby County decision, it is imperative that we remember that the fight is not nearly over. That theme was certainly on display at the second evening of the Voting Rights Institute.
The Voting Rights Institute is a new program launched by the Campaign Legal Center and American University’s Washington College of Law with the mission of training the next generation of voting rights litigators. The Institute took on added importance as voting rights advocates attempt to protect the right to vote free of discrimination in a post-Shelby County world.
The “battleground has been moved,” Gerry Hebert told those in attendance at the Institute. And thus the field must not be ceded, the battle against discrimination must go on.
Day One of the Voting Rights Institute: One the Eve of Shelby, Instructing Attorneys and Law Students About the Realities of Section 2 LitigationJun 25, 2013
This morning, in Shelby County, Alabama v. Holder, the Supreme Court struck down the coverage formula of Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act, effectively gutting Section 5 of the Act requiring “covered” states under Section 4’s formula to “pre-clear” changes in voting law with the federal government before they can take effect. Without a coverage formula, there are no covered states to pre-clear; without pre-clearance, minorities and civil rights litigators are left without an essential weapon in the arsenal for combating discriminatory voting practices.
The Voting Rights Act: Does the City of Boerne Case or the "Congruence and Proportionality" Test Have Anything To Do With the Voting Rights Act?Jun 12, 2013Much of the debate in the pending Shelby County case centers on whether the remedy in Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act is “congruent and proportional” to the evidence of violations, as the Supreme Court first began requiring in 1997 in City of Boerne v. Flores. However, simply reading City of Boerne and the cases following it suggests that this is not the right test for evaluating the constitutionality of Section 5, and that applying it would be wholly without precedent.
- Jun 6, 2013
In light of the FEC’s gridlocked paralysis and the recent controversies at the IRS, many grow increasingly concerned that federal authorities are simply unwilling or unable to ensure meaningful disclosure of the independent spending unleashed by the Citizens United decision. It is thus heartening to see that states are leading the way on the transparency front. Case in point, yesterday New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced new regulations that will require certain non-profit organizations that engage in political spending in New York State elections, including 501(c)(4) “social welfare” groups, to disclose their donors to the public.