- Supreme Court Declines to Review Important Ninth Circuit Decision Upholding Washington State Ballot Measure Disclosure Laws
- Legal Center Urges Supreme Court to Uphold Arizona Public Financing System
- Legal Center Files Supreme Court Brief in Connecticut Public Financing Case
- Legal Center Coordinates Broad Range of Amici in Supreme Court Defense of Arizona Public Financing
- Legal Center Urges Senate Democratic Leaders to Defeat Effort to Use FY 11 Spending Bill to Kill Presidential Public Financing System
Supreme Court Declines to Review Important Ninth Circuit Decision Upholding Washington State Ballot Measure Disclosure Laws
On February 22, the U.S. Supreme Court denied certiorari in Human Life of Washington v. Brumsickle, the latest in a string of challenges to disclosure laws across the country to appeal to the High Court. The denial leaves standing the well-reasoned and important decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upholding Washington state disclosure laws that require ballot measure advocacy groups like Human Life of Washington to register and report their financial activities as “political committees.”
“The Supreme Court’s denial of certiorari in Human Life of Washington is a strong blow to anti-disclosure efforts nationwide and signals a sentiment among a majority of the Supreme Court’s justices that the Ninth Circuit, and other courts following it, are correctly applying Supreme Court precedent in upholding effective campaign finance disclosure laws,” said Legal Center Executive Director J. Gerald Hebert.
The Campaign Legal Center filed an amicus brief in the Ninth Circuit supporting the State of Washington’s defense of its disclosure laws and applauds the hard work of the state’s Attorney General and his staff.
Legal Center Urges Supreme Court to Uphold Arizona Public Financing System
On February 22, the Campaign Legal Center filed an amici brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in McComish v. Bennett to defend Arizona’s public financing program for state electoral campaigns. McComish marks the first time that the Supreme Court has considered the constitutionality of a public financing measure for over three decades.
In the amici brief, the Legal Center urges the Supreme Court to avoid consideration of broader constitutional questions that are not before the court. It also emphasizes that the Supreme Court strongly endorsed the constitutionality of the presidential public financing system in its 1976 decision in Buckley v. Valeo, and argues that the legal principles set forth in Buckley compel the conclusion that the trigger provisions of Arizona’s program are also constitutional. The amici states that as the Court found in Buckley, the Arizona program is an “effort, not to abridge, restrict, or censor speech, but rather to use public money to facilitate and enlarge public discussion and participation in the electoral process.”
The amici brief was filed by the Legal Center on behalf of itself and the following public interest groups: Democracy 21, the League of Woman Voters of the United States, the League of Women Voters of Arizona, Public Citizen, CREW, the Sierra Club and New Jersey Appleseed Public Interest Center.
To read the full brief, click here.
Legal Center Files Supreme Court Brief Opposing Certiorari in Connecticut Public Financing Case
Also on February 22, 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 in Green Party of Connecticut v. Lenge. The Green Party challenged Connecticut’s public campaign financing law on the ground that the law imposes an unfair or unnecessary burden on the electoral opportunities of minor parties.
The brief in opposition to certiorari argues that the Second Circuit correctly applied Buckley to the Connecticut law and facts of this case, giving the Supreme Court no grounds for reviewing the decision. It further argues that no conflict exists among lower courts on this point of law, and that the issue itself is not one of national importance worthy of the Supreme Court’s limited resources.
Other members of the legal team defending Connecticut’s public financing law are attorneys from Democracy 21, Hogan Lovells, and the Brennan Center for Justice.
To read the brief, click here. To view the Legal Center’s press release summarizing the brief, click here.
Legal Center Coordinates Broad Range of Amici in Supreme Court Defense of Arizona Public Financing System
On February 22, a broad range of individuals and organizations – from organized labor and the Committee for Economic Development to former Wyoming Republican Senator Alan Simpson and Connecticut Democratic Senate candidate Ned Lamont - filed amici briefs with the U.S. Supreme Court in support of Arizona’s public financing program for state electoral campaigns.
The Campaign Legal Center served as coordinator of amici in the case McComish v. Bennett in addition to filing its own brief with Democracy 21 and six other public interest groups.
More than a dozen amici briefs are now posted on the Campaign Legal Center website and additional briefs will be added. To link to all the amici briefs, click here. To view the Legal Center’s press release summarizing its brief, click here.
Legal Center Urges Senate Democratic Leaders to Defeat Effort to Use FY 11 Spending Bill to Kill Presidential Public Financing System
On Thursday, February 24, the Campaign Legal Center, along with ten other reform groups, sent a letter urging Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), Senate Majority Whip Richard Durbin (D-IL) and Senate Democratic Conference Vice Chair Charles Schumer (D-NY) to “exercise your Senate leadership positions to take all steps necessary to defeat any effort by Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell or any other Senator to kill the presidential public financing system by attaching an amendment to the FY 11 Spending Bill.”
The letter noted tremendous appreciation for the leadership these Senators have provided previously on campaign finance and lobbying reforms, and urged the Senators to defeat efforts to destroy one of the most important reforms to come out of the Watergate scandals.
The reform groups that signed the letter included: Americans for Campaign Reform, the Brennan Center for Justice, the Campaign Legal Center, Common Cause, CREW, Democracy 21, the League of Women Voters, the People For the American Way, the Public Campaign, Public Citizen, and U.S. PIRG.
To view the letter, click here.