Some issues, with laws related to the right to vote, divide the court very neatly between conservatives and liberals. The 6 to 3 JudgmentConservative Chief Justice John G. The fighting comments of Roberts Jr. and Liberal Judge Elena Kagan provided only the latest example.
“The government did not show it [the law] Roberts writes, “The anti-corruption goal is more important than the unwarranted purpose of controlling the amount of money in politics,” wrote Roberts.
The outcome was expected after arguments in the case brought by Cruz (Tex.), And Roberts said it was a logical breakthrough in the most controversial cases. Citizens United vs FEC.
“This Court has recognized only one permissible reason for restricting political speech: ‘Quid Pro’ to prevent corruption or to prevent its emergence,” Roberts wrote.
For example, “We reject attempts to reduce the amount of money in politics.” Despite such good intentions, the First Amendment – as this Court has repeatedly emphasized – prohibits attempts to undermine ‘the right of citizens to choose who should rule’. ”Quote from one of the previous cases.
Kagan said it should have been different because post-election contributions to the winning candidate to pay off personal debt carry personal corruption risks.
“It is money to personally enrich a candidate at a time when he can repay support through a vote, a contract, an appointment,” he told Justices Stephen G. Fryer and Sonia Sotomayor wrote in disagreement.
“There is no need for any political genius to see the ultimate risk of corruption – arrangements between risk averse donors and office workers who say, ‘I will make you rich, you will make me rich,'” he continued.
The case involves a somewhat ambiguous part of the McCain-Fincold law, Sense John McCain (R.-Aris.) And Russ Fincold (D.-Vis.).
The amount that federal candidates can raise and use after the election to repay personal debt is $ 250,000. Roberts noted that Cruz, in his 2018 Senate re-election campaign against Democrat Beto O’Rourke, was the most expensive in history, paying $ 260,000 for his campaign the day before the general election.
The government sought to dismiss the case, claiming that Cruz’s injury was “self-inflicted”; He chose the amount that exceeded the limits for a trial case. His campaign raised $ 2.2 million before the election, which could have been used to repay the debt in full.
But the panel of judges hearing the case unanimously disagreed. The flaw in the government’s argument, they said, was that it would require Senator Cruz to avoid injury by subjecting himself to a framework that he accuses is unconstitutional.
Roberts and the majority agreed with the board on the basis of merit. Roberts wrote that the government also seems to have agreed to the rule that “the burden is on candidates who wish to incur expenses on behalf of their own candidacy through personal loans.”
Loans are an important way to “jump-start” a campaign, especially for those in office, he said. He noted that the limits of contributions for post-election candidates would be the same as before elections, thus not having a particularly corrosive effect. He criticized the law as “immunization-prevention-prevention need”.
Roberts said, “In this context, the government has not been able to identify a single case of the Quit Pro Quo scandal – although most states do not limit post – election contributions to repaying candidate loans.”
He rejected the idea that contributions could be seen as a gift to the candidate, rather than complementing him for the money spent on the campaign.
“If a candidate does not have the money to buy a car before taking out a loan for his campaign, repaying the loan will not change in any way,” he wrote.
Starting with how post-election contributions differ, Kagan dismissed them on a point-by-point basis.
At that point, both the candidate and the donor will know what they are getting: the candidate is “deeply grateful” because his personal wealth is affected, and the donors know that “they paid him so much that he will pay them”.
“In the coming months and years, they will receive government benefits – perhaps favorable legislation, perhaps valuable appointments, perhaps lucrative deals,” he wrote. “The politician is happy; Donors are happy. Losing is only for the public. It inevitably suffers from government corruption.
He gave examples of post-election contributions that he said showed such a model, and denied the position of the majority restricting the ability of a candidate to spend his own money to further enhance his campaign.
“The candidate can really Self-Finance everything he wants, “he wrote.” The law is a barrier to his use Of others Money to fund his campaign – fixed (and permitted) contribution limits. And even that third-party control is a trivial one that only applies to post-election (not before) election donations that repay substantial (not small) debts.
“There is no reason for the court to second-guess the congressional experience-based verdict on the special corruption consequences of post-election candidate debt repayments,” he said.
Cruz said the decision was “a wonderful victory for the First Amendment” through a spokesman.
The statement said that the existing law “imposes an unconstitutional ban on free speech, which is unfair to current politicians and the super-rich”. “This important decision will inspire our democratic process and make it easier for those who challenge us to take on and defeat professional politicians.”
The case is Federal Election Commission v. Dead Cruz Senate.
Chiung Min Kim contributed to this report.
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