Skip to comments.Half-Right on McCain-Feingold
Posted on 05/03/2003 10:01:24 AM PDT by randita
May 3, 2003
Half-Right on McCain-Feingold
A three-judge federal court in Washington issued a split decision yesterday in a lawsuit challenging McCain-Feingold, the landmark law aimed at reducing the corrupting role money plays in politics. The decision upheld important parts of the law but struck down other sections that Congress rightly considered critical to reforming the electoral process, and that fully conform to the Constitution. The Supreme Court should quickly review the case and restore the law in its entirety.
The panel that decided yesterday's case did not distinguish itself. The package it produced was so big, so ungainly and so dense that two of the judges furnished a 20-line chart, itself migraine-inducing, to guide the beleaguered reader. On the basis of an initial reading, however, the decision has much to cheer advocates of reform. It sustains large parts of the ban on "soft money," a major source of big contributions from corporations, unions and rich people, and an important means by which special interests exert influence over government policy. The court also ruled in favor of limits on corporate and union financing of sham "issue ads," which purport to discuss issues but actually serve as campaign commercials for individual candidates.
But the panel struck down important parts of McCain-Feingold and weakened others. The decision upholds a weak version of the issue-ad ban, a restriction written into the law as a backup, rather than the more powerful version Congress included in the statute as its first choice. And even though many important regulations on soft money will remain in place, the court struck down some restrictions that are important to stopping interest-group money from polluting politics.
McCain-Feingold was challenged by a wide array of special interest groups ó from the National Rifle Association to the A.F.L.-C.I.O. ó that are used to using money to buy influence in Washington. They have attacked the law under the rallying cry of free speech. But the reasonable rules imposed by the law fall squarely within the Supreme Court's precedents, which have repeatedly, and recently, affirmed the right of Congress to impose limits on campaign contributions and expenditures to maintain the integrity of the electoral process.
The Supreme Court needs to hear this case quickly, not only because the issues are important but also because yesterday's decision did so little to clarify them. The special interests are no doubt already hard at work looking for loopholes. Yesterday's ruling should be stayed in the interim by the Supreme Court, so it can consider McCain-Feingold before the law is even partly dismantled ó and before any more improper influence can be brought to bear on the political process.
Obviously. But of course they fail to point out their self-interest in the editorial.
That is so right. These people are seriuosly a bunch of Stalinists.
A stay would of course allow the NYT to have great influence in the next election.
Hopefully SCOTUS will not issue a stay. That at least minimizes the damage from the new law.
Anyone know if SCOTUS can prevent implementation of any part of the law until they review it in full?
Don't want to offend their fellow leftists, I suppose...
Then, we should buy our own sham newspapers so we can actually participate in the coversation without having to beg from some stinkin' liberal editor.
You are correct, so this comment from the NYT has me concerned: On the basis of an initial reading, however, the decision has much to cheer advocates of reform.
I would have hoped they were more upset with this ... it's not a win for freedom of speech after all, just 1/2 a loaf.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.