Election Law Decision Overturns Arizona Ruling

Jun 28, 2011 - LegalZoom News Sources
In a 5-4 ruling, the conservative side of the bench ruled that the notion that the government may match the funds of a private donor in a lopsided campaign would be a direct violation of the constitution.

A change in the election laws of the nation may stand to affect the outcome of many races across the country, as questions concerning the funding for campaigns have pushed another case to the highest level of law, the Supreme Court.

The high court decided that a key provision of Arizona's clean elections law was potentially unconstitutional due to a violation of the First Amendment, according to the Lewiston Sun Journal.

In a 5-4 ruling, the conservative side of the bench ruled that the notion that the government may match the funds of a private donor in a lopsided campaign would be a direct violation of the constitution. The outcome said that wealthy campaign contributors would be reluctant to provide large sums of money to a candidate if they felt that their efforts would be matched by the government, the news source reported.

"Laws like Arizona's matching funds provision that inhibit robust and wide-open political debate without sufficient justification cannot stand," Roberts wrote in the decision.

The court also noted that candidates who work hard to secure the funding would be punished for their actions under the current law, as their opponent may not need to put in as much effort, according to the Maine Public Broadcasting Network.