Supreme Court Declines to Hear Challenge to Connecticut Public Financing Program

Today, the U.S. Supreme Court denied certiorari in Green Party of Conn. v. Lenge, leaving undisturbed the decision of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals to uphold the qualifying criteria of the Connecticut state public financing program.

The petitioners in Green Party had argued that the state eligibility and qualification requirements for public funding imposed an unconstitutional, discriminatory burden on minor-party candidates.  The Second Circuit, however, found that under "exacting" scrutiny, Connecticut's program does not unconstitutionally discriminate against minor-party candidates.  This decision stands after the Supreme Court's denial of certiorari.

"This is good news for the health of public financing and particularly welcome in light of yesterday's controversial ruling by the Supreme Court," Legal Center Counsel Tara Malloy said.  "But even taking into account yesterday's McComish decision regarding Arizona's Citizens Clean Elections Act, it is now fair to surmise that public financing systems are on strong constitutional footing provided that they do not rely on 'trigger provisions.'"

On February 22, 2011, the Legal Center, as part of legal team led by attorneys from Public Citizen and WilmerHale, filed a brief in the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of defendant-intervenors Common Cause of Connecticut et al., urging the Court not to grant a petition for certiorari.