Gavel Grab

CT Public Financing Law Left Intact

It was the Supreme Court’s decision voiding an Arizona public campaign financing provision that drew widespread attention this week. Less noticed was a Supreme Court action that left intact a challenged aspect of Connecticut’s public financing law.

The high court on Tuesday dismissed an appeal that challenged Connecticut requirements for third party candidates to qualify for public campaign funds, the Associated Press reported.

One day after declaring unconstitutional the Arizona provision, the court on Tuesday “signaled something just as significant: Not all forms of public financing will raise the ire of the justices,” a Washington Post article said.

“It gives some reason to hope that the Supreme Court is not on the war path to eliminate all forms of public financing,” said Tara Malloy, a lawyer with the Campaign Legal Center, a JAS partner on campaign reform issues.

Meanwhile, a federal judge in Florida struck down a provision in that state’s campaign law that mirrored the Arizona provision found unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, according to an Orlando Sentinel article. The Arizona provision for “trigger funds” allowed publicly funded candidates to get additional money when privately financed candidates or independent groups spent more.

On editorial pages across the country, the Supreme Court ruling in Arizona Free Enterprise Club v. McComish (see Gavel Grab) continued to spur controversy. Here are some of the editorials: Arizona Daily Sun, “Judicial activism favors privately funded minority;” Peoria Journal Star, “In America, the people are the ultimate restorers of balance;” and Los Angeles Times, “Another blow to campaign financing reform.”

Among the signed commentaries were these: E.J. Dionne Jr., The Washington Post, “The Supreme Court’s continuing defense of the powerful;” and William Freivogel, St. Louis Beacon, “Roberts court displays robust support of free speech, especially for monied interests.”

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