Lamest First Amendment Argument Ever

April 12th, 2010at 07:19am Posted by Eli

You have got to be kidding me…

Arizona voters approved the creation of Clean Elections in 1998. Participating candidates collect a certain number of $5 donations and agree not to accept money from special-interest groups in exchange for a lump sum of public money to fund their campaigns. Candidates can get additional public funds if an opponent running as a traditional candidate spends more money than the Clean Elections candidate received initially.

Those matching funds are the focus of a lawsuit filed in 2008 by the Goldwater Institute on behalf of several Republican candidates, including state Treasurer Dean Martin, Sen. Bob Burns of Peoria, Rep. John McComish of Phoenix and Rep. Nancy McLain of Bullhead City. The traditional candidates argued that they limited their own campaign spending to avoid triggering additional public contributions to Clean Elections opponents, chilling their own freedom of speech.

U.S. District Court Judge Roslyn Silver agreed, issuing a ruling in January that matching funds violate First Amendment freedom of speech because they cause non-participating candidates to limit their campaigning, fundraising and spending.

Clean Elections supporters appealed. In February, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit agreed to allow the Citizens Clean Elections Commission to continue matching funds for participating candidates until the court could rule. That same month, the U.S. Supreme Court denied a request that matching funds be halted.

So it should be okay to outspend your opponent so copiously as to drown them out, but not okay for them to receive public campaign financing so they can keep up with you?  Admittedly, I am not a lawyer, but I can’t believe a judge actually ruled favorably on such a transparently bullshit argument.  There is literally nothing preventing these candidates from spending more money other than the desire to prevent their opponents from receiving more money.  That’s a far cry from actual suppression of free speech.

Entry Filed under: Constitution,Elections,Politics,Republicans,Wankers


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