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Supreme Court Upholds Campaign Finance Rules
Associated Press ^ | June 16, 2003 | Anne Gearan

Posted on 06/16/2003 8:29:54 AM PDT by AntiGuv

The Supreme Court ruled Monday that the government can ban campaign contributions from advocacy groups, a warm-up decision to the showdown over the broader new campaign finance law.

Justices rejected a constitutional challenge to the 32-year-old federal donation ban, which applies to groups with a point of view on issues such as gun rights and abortion.

The case, involving a North Carolina anti-abortion organization, was a prelude to the court's handling of the 2002 campaign finance law.

By a vote of 7-2, the court said the right to free speech does not trump Congress' goal of limiting the corrosive effects of corporate money in politics.

Advocacy organizations maintain that their members should be allowed to pool their money and use it to elect candidates who support their issues.

The government maintained that the groups could be used to circumvent individual campaign donation limits, with little public disclosure about the source of the money.

"Any attack on the federal prohibition of direct corporate political contributions goes against the current of a century of congressional efforts," Justice David Souter wrote for the majority.

Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist and Justices John Paul Stevens, Sandra Day O'Connor, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer agreed with Souter. Justice Anthony M. Kennedy agreed with the outcome.

Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas dissented.

The donation ban is not directly related to the court's review of the new campaign finance law, commonly known as McCain-Feingold for its congressional sponsors - Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Russell Feingold, D-Wis., but the ruling will be closely watched for clues to what the justices might do.

The court has scheduled a special session in September, a month ahead of the start of its regular term, to consider the law that bans corporate, union and unlimited contributions - known as soft money - to national party committees.

The new law also bars a range of interest groups, including those financed with corporate or union money and those that do not disclose their donors, from airing ads mentioning federal candidates in their districts the month before a primary and two months before a general election.

When Congress rewrote the campaign finance rules, it did not change the 1971 law that makes it unlawful for any type of corporation to give money to a federal candidate or political party.

Currently only individuals, political parties,political action committees and other campaigns can contribute to federal candidates and national party committees. The court's ruling Monday maintains that status quo and continues a trend in which the high court has been willing to uphold limits on contributions.

In 2001, the court ruled that political parties could not spend unlimited amounts of money if they coordinated their efforts with a candidate. And in 2000, the court voted to back Missouri's contribution limits to state campaigns.

Elizabeth Garrett, a law professor at the University of Southern California, said the case is important because issue-oriented nonprofits have become increasingly important in campaigns.

She said it also means that provisions in the new campaign finance act that require nonprofit corporations, as well as for-profit corporations and labor unions, to use separate funds to pay for political advertisements are more likely to survive the court's review.

"The decision is a green light for other laws regulating these organizations and their involvement in campaigns, such as aggressive disclosure laws," said Garrett.

The case is Federal Election Commission v. Beaumont, 02-403.


TOPICS: Breaking News; Constitution/Conservatism; Government; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: cfr; cfrlist; maccainfeingold; scotus; scotuslist; silenceamerica; supremecourt
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The general consensus appears confident that the Supreme Court will strike down McCain-Feingold; I'm not so sure..
1 posted on 06/16/2003 8:29:55 AM PDT by AntiGuv
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To: AntiGuv
The general consensus appears confident that the Supreme Court will strike down McCain-Feingold; I'm not so sure..

The offending portion of McCain-Feingold that the court certainly will strike down is the ban on advertizing shortly before the election. It is a clear violation of the First Amendment. I don't care too much about the other stuff.

2 posted on 06/16/2003 8:32:38 AM PDT by Thane_Banquo
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To: AntiGuv
By my reading this decision does not affect much since any group can just form a PAC and go its merry way. Do I misread it?
3 posted on 06/16/2003 8:34:24 AM PDT by justshutupandtakeit (RATS will use any means to denigrate George Bush's Victory.)
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To: AntiGuv; Admin Moderator
Dammit, you beat me. Admin Moderator, kill my post please.
4 posted on 06/16/2003 8:34:45 AM PDT by Lazamataz (POLICE TAGLINE DO NOT CROSS POLICE TAGLINE DO NOT CROSS POLICE TAGLINE DO NOT CROSS POLICE TAGLINE D)
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To: AntiGuv
At first I believed that when the President signed the bill, making it law, it didn't matter, because the Supreme Court would over turn it. However, since then, I have decided this is not the way to protect the nation, relying on the Supreme Court to stop the damage that has already been done.
5 posted on 06/16/2003 8:35:18 AM PDT by Pan_Yans Wife (Lurking since 2000.)
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To: Thane_Banquo
The offending portion of McCain-Feingold that the court certainly will strike down is the ban on advertizing shortly before the election. It is a clear violation of the First Amendment.

Read this decision, and subsequently -- as I did -- lose some of your certainty in this regard.

6 posted on 06/16/2003 8:36:02 AM PDT by Lazamataz (POLICE TAGLINE DO NOT CROSS POLICE TAGLINE DO NOT CROSS POLICE TAGLINE DO NOT CROSS POLICE TAGLINE D)
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To: AntiGuv
By this ruling, I am more confident that McCain Feingold will be struck down. This ruling gives the court the political cover to do so. This ruling only says that Congress can make laws restricting campaign contributions. Those laws still have to fit into the definition of what is constitutional.
7 posted on 06/16/2003 8:36:37 AM PDT by Pukin Dog (Sans Reproache)
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To: All
Now, where were those people who said that CFR will be shot down by the SCOTUS?

I know this is not that decision, but this decision indicates where SCOTUS is likely to go.

The 1st Amendment will, at that time, be officially repealed.


8 posted on 06/16/2003 8:37:24 AM PDT by Lazamataz (POLICE TAGLINE DO NOT CROSS POLICE TAGLINE DO NOT CROSS POLICE TAGLINE DO NOT CROSS POLICE TAGLINE D)
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To: Pukin Dog
By this ruling, I am more confident that McCain Feingold will be struck down.

I disagree. I hope you are right.

9 posted on 06/16/2003 8:38:28 AM PDT by Lazamataz (POLICE TAGLINE DO NOT CROSS POLICE TAGLINE DO NOT CROSS POLICE TAGLINE DO NOT CROSS POLICE TAGLINE D)
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To: AntiGuv
bttt
10 posted on 06/16/2003 8:39:42 AM PDT by Lady Eileen
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To: Congressman Billybob
PING.
11 posted on 06/16/2003 8:39:45 AM PDT by Constitution Day
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To: Lazamataz
Bush was a jackass for signing this law, but still, the Supreme Court will overturn the ban on individual groups advertising.

You can't have a clearer violation of the 1st amendment.

12 posted on 06/16/2003 8:42:32 AM PDT by dead
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To: dead
You can't have a clearer violation of the 1st amendment.

Since when did THAT stop 'em???

13 posted on 06/16/2003 8:43:09 AM PDT by Lazamataz (POLICE TAGLINE DO NOT CROSS POLICE TAGLINE DO NOT CROSS POLICE TAGLINE DO NOT CROSS POLICE TAGLINE D)
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To: Thane_Banquo
SCOTUS is going to split the CFR up - some parts will be upheld, some will not. Someone working on the case pointed out to me, it's ALWAYS within 60 days of SOME election, so that part will certainly go.

That person has also promised to let me know when it is time to get out the sleeping bags to line up for tickets. I was trying to suck up & get one, but was informed that there are so many parties to the case, there won't even be enough "real" tickets for all the attorneys, so the only way for a regular person to go is to line up.
14 posted on 06/16/2003 8:44:24 AM PDT by nina0113
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To: dead
Maybe they'll say independent ads are like shouting "fire!"...
15 posted on 06/16/2003 8:45:45 AM PDT by Tauzero (the zero-arbitrage assumption is a self-fulfilling prophecy)
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To: Pukin Dog; Thane_Banquo; Lazamataz
By this ruling, I am more confident that McCain Feingold will be struck down.

I genuinely fail to see how that could be the case. How would you reconcile the Court's key campaign finance rulings of recent years, including this one, with a strike down of McCain-Feingold?

By a vote of 7-2, the court said the right to free speech does not trump Congress' goal of limiting the corrosive effects of corporate money in politics.

That's a fairly powerful statement; it's the very alleged essence of McCain-Feingold to accomplish just that task. Perhaps not the issue advocacy ads in particular, but the remainder of McCain-Feingold revolves about just that principle.

In 2001, the court ruled that political parties could not spend unlimited amounts of money if they coordinated their efforts with a candidate. And in 2000, the court voted to back Missouri's contribution limits to state campaigns.

However, this 2001 ruling would appear to bear relevance on the issue advocacy limitations. It would seem to indicate that the Court will find a 1st Amendment right to issue advocacy ads, but permit some level of significant restriction to ensure that they're not at all coordinated with particular campaigns. It's an open question how the Court may seek to accomplish such a judgment.

I'm not at all confident that McCain-Feingold or any part of that will get struck down in a meaningful fashion.

16 posted on 06/16/2003 8:46:02 AM PDT by AntiGuv (™)
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To: justshutupandtakeit
Looks like it, from the story. So NRA starts a PAC. Big deal.
17 posted on 06/16/2003 8:46:10 AM PDT by ninenot (Joe McCarthy was RIGHT, but Drank Too Much)
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To: AntiGuv
i was really surprised to see a 7-2 decision on this one.
18 posted on 06/16/2003 8:48:27 AM PDT by jethropalerobber
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To: AntiGuv
Whew! Title is scarier than the article.
19 posted on 06/16/2003 8:53:13 AM PDT by Sloth ("I feel like I'm taking crazy pills!" -- Jacobim Mugatu, 'Zoolander')
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To: nina0113
SCOTUS is going to split the CFR up - some parts will be upheld, some will not. Someone working on the case pointed out to me, it's ALWAYS within 60 days of SOME election, so that part will certainly go.

Okay. Sounds like you have an inside scoop. I am relieved, a little. We shall see.

20 posted on 06/16/2003 8:54:02 AM PDT by Lazamataz (POLICE TAGLINE DO NOT CROSS POLICE TAGLINE DO NOT CROSS POLICE TAGLINE DO NOT CROSS POLICE TAGLINE D)
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To: dead
Bush was a jackass for signing this law,. . .

This is the biggest understatement since Noah said, “It looks like rain.”

21 posted on 06/16/2003 8:55:48 AM PDT by SUSSA
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To: AntiGuv
I'm not so sure, either. One thing I've noticed is a campaign loss is not always a total loss and vice versa. The people supposedly on your side will melt like butter on a hot pan to opposition if they think they can "retain" power by giving in. It's like legislating while holding your breath. On the other hand, principles show and fighting is bolder when you're the party on the outs. A Republican would likely never have achieved welfare reform, and a Democrat might never have accomplished CFR or the homosexual agenda garbage our guys are now frozen before. I'm not sure why this is true, but think about it. It is true.
22 posted on 06/16/2003 8:58:27 AM PDT by RAT Patrol (Congress can give one American a dollar only by first taking it away from another American. -W.W.)
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To: AntiGuv
By a vote of 7-2, the court said the right to free speech does not trump Congress' goal of limiting the corrosive effects of corporate money in politics.

It doesn't?!?

Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

Looks like we currently have seven idiots on the bench who think the Constitution is "living."

23 posted on 06/16/2003 9:03:44 AM PDT by B Knotts
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To: Lazamataz
Would a, I told you so, count?
24 posted on 06/16/2003 9:05:42 AM PDT by TLBSHOW
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To: B Knotts
If I can't afford to speak, what good is it? Try regulating the press a tad -- even their money -- and see what happens. OUTRAGE! That's what. Their little mention in the 1st is an adsolute you see. Religon - bah! Speech - negotiable! Press - the be all end all. Conservative groups need to agressively buy their own media outlets and newspapers. It's the only thing ultra-protected.
25 posted on 06/16/2003 9:16:39 AM PDT by RAT Patrol (Congress can give one American a dollar only by first taking it away from another American. -W.W.)
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To: AntiGuv
Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas dissented.

Is it me or do these two seem inseparable on decisions?

26 posted on 06/16/2003 9:18:19 AM PDT by Lunatic Fringe (Tip the Pizza guy!)
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To: Thane_Banquo
I agree with -- it is the advertising before the election I believe they are going to strike down -- wasn't there a severabililty clause put into it.

Actually except for the advertising I don't have a problem since it raised the limit to $2000 which is helping us more than the RATs.
27 posted on 06/16/2003 9:31:27 AM PDT by PhiKapMom (Bush Cheney '04 - VICTORY IN '04 -- $4 for '04 - www.GeorgeWBush.com/donate/)
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To: AntiGuv
By a vote of 7-2, the court said the right to free speech does not trump Congress' goal of limiting the corrosive effects of corporate money in politics

JMO, but there are no quotation marks in that quote.

From previous experience of reading the AP, it could be editroializing the news by the reporter.

Wouldn't surprise me one bit.

Of course this ruling holding up a 32 year old law was written by Souter, so anything is possible, but I don't think that even Souter would use such inflammatory language like "corrosive effects of corporate money in politics".

These days I don't give the benefit of the doubt to the liberal media.

I could be wrong, but the lack of quotation marks makes it suspect to me.

28 posted on 06/16/2003 9:32:45 AM PDT by Dane
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To: nina0113
Thanks for posting that -- heard the same thing!

People need to relax until the ruling comes down!
29 posted on 06/16/2003 9:33:28 AM PDT by PhiKapMom (Bush Cheney '04 - VICTORY IN '04 -- $4 for '04 - www.GeorgeWBush.com/donate/)
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To: *CFR List; *Silence, America!; *SCOTUS_List
http://www.freerepublic.com/perl/bump-list
30 posted on 06/16/2003 9:38:18 AM PDT by Libertarianize the GOP (Ideas have consequences)
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To: Congressman Billybob
I would love to hear your take on this and what, if any, indication it might give as to how SCOTUS might rule on CFR.
31 posted on 06/16/2003 9:38:25 AM PDT by kayak (Do not bet against the success of freedom. - GWB 5/9/03)
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To: AntiGuv
Read carefully:

By a vote of 7-2, the court said the right to free speech does not trump Congress' goal of limiting the corrosive effects of corporate money in politics.

That is not a powerful statement at all, just a statement of fact. It only affirms that Congress is within it's rights to legally limit free speech under constititional considerations, as always. There are plenty of legal limitations to free speech, such as the "yelling FIRE in a crowded theater" and so on. This statement means nothing, as it only parrots what is already known. The courts are only acknowledging the current law.

In 2001, the court ruled that political parties could not spend unlimited amounts of money if they coordinated their efforts with a candidate. And in 2000, the court voted to back Missouri's contribution limits to state campaigns.

Again, this statement only backs the premise that certain restrictions on campaign contributions are legal. Neither this, or the other statement is relevant with respect to issue-advocacy groups, because it does not address the primary restriction in McCain-Feingold regarding limiting speech within a certain time frame before an election. There is no way to constitutionally defend a suggestion that previously legal speech, can be made illegal by it's proximity to an election. No way can that be defended at all. Legal speech now, is legal speech always. Restricions can only be made on WHAT can be said, not on WHEN you can say it.

I believe that the courts have only made that distinction clear, so that they have an easy explanation, when McCain-Feingold is struck down.

32 posted on 06/16/2003 9:39:58 AM PDT by Pukin Dog (Sans Reproache)
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To: Dane
The relevant section of the 1971 Campaign Act - 2 U.S.C. § 441b - "prohibits corporations and labor unions from making direct campaign contributions and independent expenditures in connection with federal elections." By finding that the statute similarly applies to nonprofit political advocacy groups, the Court is essentially placing them on the same 'playing field' as corporations & labor unions. As such, the AP representation is probably quite accurate considering this ruling.

That being said, it'll be another day or so before I can read over the actual ruling at FindLaw or some other source, so I can't be 100% positive.
33 posted on 06/16/2003 9:43:21 AM PDT by AntiGuv (™)
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To: SUSSA
Wrong again.

Bush was brilliant for signing this law. It is now off the table as a political issue, especially when Bush and Republicans will almost always raise more money then Democrats do.

The courts are the proper place to decide the issue, so that it can go away forever. Bush prevented more and more draconian versions of this bill from going forward under Democrat administrations in the future, with potential left leaning courts supporting them. You cannot guarantee a conservative court forever, so the time is now to remove the issue from further consideration, before some leftist judges can actually agree to these limitations regardless of their attacks on the constitution.
34 posted on 06/16/2003 9:45:01 AM PDT by Pukin Dog (Sans Reproache)
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To: AntiGuv
The general consensus appears confident that the Supreme Court will strike down McCain-Feingold; I'm not so sure..

Houston, we've had a problem. We've had a main B bus undervolt.

35 posted on 06/16/2003 9:46:19 AM PDT by steveegg (Close only counts in horseshoes, hand grenades, air-burst artillery and thermonuclear weapons)
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To: AntiGuv
As such, the AP representation is probably quite accurate considering this ruling.

Huh, here is the original AP quote,

By a vote of 7-2, the court said the right to free speech does not trump Congress' goal of limiting the corrosive effects of corporate money in politics

And here is the quote that you found on FindLaw,

The relevant section of the 1971 Campaign Act - 2 U.S.C. § 441b - "prohibits corporations and labor unions from making direct campaign contributions and independent expenditures in connection with federal elections."

Now there is one word missing from the AP quote but is found within the quote you looked up on FindLaw,

the word is "union"

36 posted on 06/16/2003 9:48:30 AM PDT by Dane
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To: Pukin Dog; PhiKapMom; nina0113
See my post #33 and place this ruling within the context of McCain-Feingold.

The Supreme Court has essentially ruled that nonprofit, independent political advocacy groups may be regarded in the same manner as corporations and labor unions. The primary restriction - or more accurately, the primary objective - of McCain-Feingold, insofar as issue advocacy is concerned, involves the limitation of their expenditures towards influencing federal elections. The key point of dispute is whether money=speech. The Court has essentially stated that money does not equal free speech within this context.

If the Court is to maintain consistence in its jursiprudence (whatever that's worth) then it would near certainly pass a judgment that limits the expenditures of issue advocacy groups by some manner or another. Whether that's precisely the solution arrived at by McCain-Feingold, or some other solution short of the full breadth of the Campaign Finance Act, remains yet to be seen...

37 posted on 06/16/2003 9:49:10 AM PDT by AntiGuv (™)
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To: Dane
That's all fine & good, but it's inconsequential to the matter at hand. Whether Souter's ruling and/or media reports note the limitations on labor unions, or only those on corporations, is meaningless, because under the law they are regarded as identical.
38 posted on 06/16/2003 9:51:31 AM PDT by AntiGuv (™)
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To: Pukin Dog
Bush was brilliant for signing this law.

Lenin was brilliant for overthrowing the Tzars.

39 posted on 06/16/2003 9:52:01 AM PDT by Lazamataz (POLICE TAGLINE DO NOT CROSS POLICE TAGLINE DO NOT CROSS POLICE TAGLINE DO NOT CROSS POLICE TAGLINE D)
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To: Lazamataz
I'm digesting the actual ruling (PDF version here now. I'll know whether to be at all relieved soon (I hope).
40 posted on 06/16/2003 9:53:06 AM PDT by steveegg (Close only counts in horseshoes, hand grenades, air-burst artillery and thermonuclear weapons)
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To: Lazamataz
Say, Laz. You still anywhere near Chicago and free on the 28th? We're throwing a surprise party for Hitlery (see this thread for details) and you're invited.
41 posted on 06/16/2003 9:54:35 AM PDT by steveegg (Close only counts in horseshoes, hand grenades, air-burst artillery and thermonuclear weapons)
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To: Pukin Dog
The courts are the proper place to decide the issue, so that it can go away forever. Bush prevented more and more draconian versions of this bill from going forward under Democrat administrations in the future

I have been trying to get the Chicken Little Crowd to grasp that since this issue came up...

42 posted on 06/16/2003 9:54:41 AM PDT by hobbes1 ( Hobbes1TheOmniscient® "I know everything so you don't have to" ;)
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To: steveegg
Thanks for the link! Didn't know it was up already.
43 posted on 06/16/2003 9:55:11 AM PDT by AntiGuv (™)
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To: hobbes1
'Strategery' is a hard thing for some to grasp.
44 posted on 06/16/2003 9:55:58 AM PDT by Pukin Dog (Sans Reproache)
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To: Dane
Here's the first paragraph of Souter's ruling:

Since 1907, federal law has barred corporations from contributing directly to candidates for federal office. We hold that applying the prohibition to nonprofit advocacy corporations is consistent with the First Amendment.

45 posted on 06/16/2003 9:56:46 AM PDT by AntiGuv (™)
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To: Dane
JMO, but there are no quotation marks in that quote.

From previous experience of reading the AP, it could be editroializing the news by the reporter.

Wouldn't surprise me one bit.

The decision is in PDF form here, and my version of Adobe Reader couldn't find a single instance of "corrosive" anywhere.

46 posted on 06/16/2003 9:56:49 AM PDT by steveegg (Close only counts in horseshoes, hand grenades, air-burst artillery and thermonuclear weapons)
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To: Pukin Dog
Except for the fact that the constitution has this tidbit

"or abridging the freedom of speech"

Abridging the financing of speech abridges speech

It seems to me a good way to take the issue off the table would have been to make an articulate argument that limits on speech are wrong even if the speech in question isn't popular. Instead he has ignored the constitution to make himself popular.

In terms of brilliance its right up there with the prom queen wanabe doing the football team to garner votes.

47 posted on 06/16/2003 9:57:14 AM PDT by rudehost
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To: AntiGuv
That's all fine & good, but it's inconsequential to the matter at hand. Whether Souter's ruling and/or media reports note the limitations on labor unions, or only those on corporations, is meaningless, because under the law they are regarded as identical

But it is a 32 year old law. CFR(McCain/Feingold) is brand new. The only thing that really bothers me is the 30 day and 60 day ad bans and I still think they will be shot down.

Also I was just pointing out the bias of the reporter with her leaving out the word "union" in regards to the original law.

48 posted on 06/16/2003 9:57:22 AM PDT by Dane
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To: AntiGuv; steveegg
I'd be happy to cut & paste sections from the [22-page] ruling if neither of you have the full version of Acrobat (I do).
49 posted on 06/16/2003 9:58:42 AM PDT by Constitution Day
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To: Pan_Yans Wife
At first I believed that when the President signed the bill, making it law, it didn't matter, because the Supreme Court would over turn it. However, since then, I have decided this is not the way to protect the nation, relying on the Supreme Court to stop the damage that has already been done.

That argument was advanced by 10% of the posters on this board, and roundly denounced by the other 90%. In this case I hope I'm wrong, and SCOTUS throws this whole unconstitutional mess out the window.

50 posted on 06/16/2003 10:00:52 AM PDT by NittanyLion
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