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Supreme Court 'out of control' in Az case, says Post

Move to stay Clean Elections funds 'unwarranted'

The U.S. Supreme Court is "out of control" on the subject of campaign finance regulation, says a a Friday editorial in the Washington Post.

The Post calls the high court's move to halt Clean Elections matching funds an "unwarranted intervention."

From "More judicial activism on campaign finance rules":

For more than a decade, elections for state office in Arizona have been conducted under a voluntary system of public financing. Among other provisions, participating candidates receive additional public funds if their wealthy or otherwise well-funded opponents choose not to take part in the system and to spend more than a specified amount. Some would-be big spenders challenged the law, claiming that the extra public funds violated their free speech rights. In advance of deciding whether to hear that case, the justices took the extraordinary - and extraordinarily unwise - step of issuing an emergency order to block the state from dispensing the extra funds.

The editorial takes issue with the stance, backed by conservative Arizona think-tank the Goldwater Institute, that the rights of candidates with money to burn are violated when more fuel is dumped on the rhetorical fire:

The notion that wealthy or well-funded candidates have their First Amendment speech rights violated because of extra money that flows to their opponents turns the notion of free speech on its head. Under Arizona's system, no one's speech is being silenced or squelched. There is more speech, not less, because competing candidates get extra money to have their voices heard in the clamor of an expensive campaign.

***

Those who complain about judicial activism might start with the current court's campaign finance jurisprudence.

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The Clean Elections Commission has asked Gov. Jan Brewer to call for a special session of the legislature to "reduce teh unfair effects of the ruling" by the high court, the agency said in a press release.

The commission is also exploring whether an earlier ruling by the U.S. District Court may allow it to provide funding to candidates impacted by the stay on an emergency basis.

"Candidates ran using the Clean Elections system with the understanding that the current funding levels would be in place for the entire election cycle," said Todd Lang, the commission's executive director, in a press release.  

"The legislature can remedy the situation by increasing the funding amount to the level expected by the people when they passed the Clean Elections Act or by allowing participating candidates to drop out when funding is reduced."

What's your take?

Should Arizona continue to give limited matching funds to candidates who are outspent by those who don't run within the Clean Elections system?

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1 comment on this story

1
Jun 11, 2010, 3:36 pm
-0 +0

Clean Elections are another example of voters wishes/desires/wants in action. 
The Supremes want to see all forms of communism made illegal.

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