High Court Declares VT Campaign Finance Law Unconstitutional

The Supreme Court yesterday declared a Vermont campaign finance law unconstitutional, as it capped gubernatorial campaign contributions at a mere $300,000. The majority argued the limit is far too low to allow candidates to adequately reach voters with their message. In the 6-3 decision, Justices Souter, Stevens, and Ginsburg voted against free political speech. A Wall Street Journal editorial describes the dissenters’ opinion as such:

Justice Stevens seemed to think it would be great for democracy if candidates were able to spend nothing to promote their message to voters over the airwaves; then, he wrote, every campaign might be like the Lincoln-Douglas debates. We’re not sure what century he’s living in, but let’s hope Randall is the beginning of the Court’s migration back to common sense on money and political speech. 

Luckily, the other six judges had enough sense to uphold the First Amendment.