The First Amendment might be on the mend. Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral argument challenging the constitutionality of Vermont’s far-reaching campaign finance system.
Like an unruly teenager, Vermont challenged tradition by drafting the law in defiance of good standing Supreme Court precedent. Vermont’s law limits how much candidates can spend to get their message out and sets dramatically low contribution limits.
Several Supreme Court justices seemed skeptical of Vermont’s attempt to ration political speech by controlling the amount of money that can be spent on campaigns. Under the First Amendment, no state has the authority to tell candidates how much they can speak or to limit how much information citizens can receive.
Vermont’s brash disregard for the First Amendment should not go unnoticed in Arizona. Our state’s Clean Elections system teeters dangerously on the precipice of violating the First Amendment and is currently undergoing legal challenges in the federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Our American political system relies greatly on the freedom to think and speak as much and as often as we see fit. Randall v. Sorrell is a good opportunity for the Supreme Court to restore protection of core political speech.
Join the Goldwater Institute and the nation’s leading experts on campaign finance issues at our upcoming discussion on Arizona’s Clean Election’s Experiment.