Wednesday, June 9

Supreme Court Blocks Arizona Election Funding -

This is interesting.

"The Supreme Court, in an unusual move, came to the aid Tuesday of well-funded candidates in Arizona and blocked the state from giving extra public money to
those candidates who had agreed to forego private financing."
Essentially the law says that if a candidate agrees to public financing of their campaign and does not raise their own money, they can be given additional public funds to match what is spent by their opponent. A real world example:

"Gov. Jan Brewer was among those who were surprised by the high court's order. She called it "terribly troubling." A Republican, she is being challenged in the
Republican primary by Buz Mills, a wealthy businessman, who has already spent more than $2 million on his race.

Brewer had agreed to public funding and was to receive $707,000 for her campaign. She was also eligible to receive up to $1.4 million in extra matching funds because Mills, her opponent, had vastly outspent her. The Supreme Court's order means she will not receive the extra money later this month."
So the timing is troubling--the Court decision having an immeidate impact on a pending election.

Also troubling, I think, is the reasons given by the Court:

"It is the latest sign the high court's conservative bloc is skeptical of legal rules to limit election spending or to equalize the spending between wealthy and
not-so-wealthy candidates.
Two years ago, the court in a 5-4 decision intervened on a behalf of a wealthy candidate for Congress from upstate New York and struck down the so-called 'Millionaire's Amendment.' That measure, part of the McCain-Feingold Act, allowed a candidate to raise more money through larger donations if his opponent was spending lavishly. Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. called it a 'drag' on the free-speech rights of the millionaire candidate because he was penalized for spending more on his race."
The Court has ruled here on similar First Amendment grounds.

But I don't think this is a free speech issue. I think we have a jurisdictional problem. This case should never have come before a Federal court. Arizona should be free to conduct its elections as it sees fit, to include financing issues. This underscores what's wrong with Incorporation Doctrine as a new example of Federal control over what was supposed to be the domain of the States.

H/T: Jeff Goldstein at Protein Wisdom

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