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Campaign contributions ruling stymies states

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posted on Jan, 23 2010 @ 04:29 AM
Campaign contributions ruling stymies states

Ian Urbina, New York Times

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Link to source

Another unforeseen consequence of the decision by the SCOTUS is States Rights.
The roliing back of 102 years of legislation by the Conservative Justices with no regard for the disastrous chain of potential events is begining to show more victims.

This is only the beginning. This aspect was not covered on the other threads.

This is assured to not go over well with the Conservative base. How will Republicans and Democrats react?

From the article

In Wisconsin, conservative and pro-business groups on Friday said they are considering a lawsuit to block a proposed law that would ban corporate spending during political campaigns.

And in Kentucky and Colorado, lawmakers looked for provisions in their state constitutions that may need to be rewritten.

A day after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the federal government may not ban political spending by corporations or unions in candidate elections, officials across America were rushing to cope with the fallout, as laws in 24 states were directly or indirectly called into question by the ruling.

"One day the Constitution of Colorado is the highest law of the state," said Robert Williams, a law professor at Rutgers University. "The next day it's waste paper."

The states that explicitly prohibit independent expenditures by unions and corporations will be most impacted by the ruling. (California allows corporate and union contributions to candidates, subject to the same limits as individual contributions.) However, the decision has consequences for all states, because they are now effectively prohibited from adopting restrictions on corporate and union spending on political campaigns.

In his dissent to the 5-4 ruling, Justice John Paul Stevens highlighted the burden placed on states. "The Court operates with a sledgehammer rather than a scalpel when it strikes down one of Congress' most significant efforts to regulate the role that corporations and unions play in electoral politics," he wrote. "It compounds the offense by implicitly striking down a great many state laws as well."

For now, the decision does not overturn all the state laws in question, but it is only a matter of time, experts said, before the laws will be challenged in the courts or repealed by state legislatures.

Because the state laws are vulnerable, it is unlikely that officials will continue enforcing them, experts said.

States that can expect to see the biggest and most sudden influx of money are those - like Ohio and Florida - where it is relatively expensive to run campaigns and where races are competitive, said Ray La Raja, a political science professor at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. He predicted corporate spending would increase in states where control of state governments hangs in the balance.

The ruling left many state lawmakers frustrated and uncertain how to proceed.

"It's absolutely outrageous and we've got to find a way to deal with it," said Michael Gronstal, the Senate majority leader in Iowa, where lawmakers were exploring how they might keep at least some of the restrictions on political expenditures in the current state law.

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