April 2, 2014 10:44AM

Another Blow to Campaign Finance Regulation

A quick heads‐​up: The Supreme Court has just handed down its decision in the much‐​anticipated campaign finance case of McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, and free speech won. See Cato’s brief here. Ilya will write more fully about the decision as soon as he’s had a chance to digest it. In the meantime, here’s the opening paragraph from the syllabus:

The right to participate in democracy through political contributions is protected by the First Amendment, but that right is not absolute. Congress may regulate campaign contributions to protect against corruption or the appearance of corruption. See, e.g., Buckley v. Valeo, 424 U.S. 1, 26 – 27. It may not, however, regulate contributions simply to reduce the amount of money in politics, or to restrict political participation of some in order to enhance the relative influence of others. See, e.g., Arizona Free Enterprise Club’s Freedom Club PAC v. Bennett, 564 U.S. ___, ___.

In a word, Buckley was not overruled, as we had hoped, although Justice Thomas would have done so (in his concurring opinion). And the usual dissenters dissented. But chalk this up as one more blow against the campaign finance regulators, from whom we will soon hear that the sky is falling, again.