Legal Briefs

Wisconsin Right To Life v. Federal Election Commission

By Erik S. Jaffe
November 14, 2005
Joining forces with the Center for Competitive Politics, the Goldwater Institute, the Reason Foundation, Institute for Justice, and the Claremont Institute, we filed a pair of briefs in two separate appeals arising out of FEC proceedings against Wisconsin Right to Life, a nonprofit pro-life advocacy brief. In these briefs, written by Cato friend (and former Clarence Thomas law clerk) Erik Jaffe, Cato argues that provisions of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance “reform” act are unconstitutional when applied to non-profit issue advocacy groups. Campaign finance law currently prohibits such groups from publishing ads advocating a position within 60 days of an election, whenever the ads mention elected officials. The provision flagrantly flouts the First Amendment (which was written, after all, to secure the right to peacefully call for government action). Jaffe’s briefs highlights just how far we have travelled from the unqualifed “freedom” of speech the Framers wrote the First Amendment to protect.

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