June 8th, 2010
12:17 PM ET
5 years ago

High court temporarily blocks Arizona election reform law

Washington (CNN) - The Supreme Court has blocked for now a state election law that gives "matching funds" to help underfunded candidates in Arizona.

The justices, in a brief order Tuesday, temporarily told state officials not to distribute money under the Clean Elections law, which provides extra, taxpayer-funded support for office seekers who have been outspent by privately funded opponents or by independent political groups.

A federal appeals court in April approved parts of the sweeping campaign reform law. A group of mostly conservative groups –including several current and former Republican state legislators - filed the emergency appeal with the high court, saying their free speech rights were being hurt, and their private fundraising efforts would be stifled because of public election financing. They have succeeded in their efforts for now, while state campaigning is under way in an election year.

The Supreme Court's order allows a more thorough, detailed appeal to be filed in coming weeks by supporters of the law. There was no indication when the plaintiffs would seek to file such an petition.

The case is McComish v. Bennett (09A1163).


Filed under: Campaign finance • Supreme Court
soundoff (31 Responses)
  1. hobart

    Leave to this fascist Supreme Court to completely come down on the side of corporations over the rights of individuals. This is just one more example of the utter hypocrisy of Republicans and Tea Baggers. The absolutely are in the pockets of Wall Street and turn their noses up at Main Street.

    When did the Party of Lincoln transform itself into the party of totally selfish, I've got mine and the hell with yours, heartless bastards?

    Why do Republicans, and their lifetime appointed Supreme Court Justices so HATE main street Americans?

    June 8, 2010 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  2. SocialismBad

    So if some Nazi or Communist candidate is "underfunded" will Arizona give THEM money too??!!

    Candidates need to raise their own money. No government entity at ANY level should be giving taxpayer dollars to ANY candidate. It is tantamount to election tampering in my book.

    June 8, 2010 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  3. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    QUESTION: What constitutes an "underfunded candidate"?
    I mean, if their more popular opponent has a 'war chest' of say $12 million, and the other candidate has only been able to raise $6 million, would he/she be considered elegible for matching funds?

    I'm not very clear on this ruling. What if you can't raise funds because people just DON'T LIKE YOU? Should you then be entittled to this TAXPAYER funded support?

    Obama was a privately funded opponent, who turned down monies from the DNC specifically set aside for his campaign AND corporate contributions, and he still blew everyone out of the water with his 'war chest'. Can't help but wonder if this is an early attempt to set the stage for 2012.

    Good luck with that!

    Obama 2012.

    June 8, 2010 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  4. Pam

    I like that election law....it attempts to make the election more fair....which is exactly why the Republicans want it removed!!

    June 8, 2010 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  5. Randolph Carter, I'm no expert but...

    See, actually they're doing us a favor. By ensuring that the wealthy and powerful remain unchallenged they can continue their master plan to save the planet. Some may call it class warfare without realizing that it's a brilliant environmental program. By creating a society with a few haves and many have-nots, we're saving oodles of energy. Think about it, if everyone was middle class and lived in a 300k sq. ft. house and drove a gas-guzzling SUV 25 miles each way to work, our dependence on and use of foreign oil would skyrocket. Income disparity, export of jobs and dismantling the social safety net will save much more energy than cap and trade ever could. I urge you all to write to your congress critters and thank them for their continued support of these policies. They are what makes this country the best in the world. And you thought they were evil. Have a nice day!

    June 8, 2010 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  6. Hows that oil slick coming along Rush?

    Well we know who controls this supreme court dont we,the global corporations.

    June 8, 2010 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  7. JLP

    It would be a fair law if all election funding was public money, or if all was priviate money. If public, establish a threshold of support that a prospective candidate must have to receive state funds.

    June 8, 2010 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  8. Tulsa

    Once again, Republicans don't want anyone but the rich to be able to run for elected office.

    Screw them.

    June 8, 2010 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  9. johnnyhouse

    Why is that a surprise with all the Liberals who are on there now making your laws. The Arizona law is almost an exact duplicate of our immigration laws this crowd is suppose to be enforcing on our borders.You wanted change , you got it.

    June 8, 2010 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  10. Duane Bernard, Tucson, Az

    The Republican "far right fringe" is at it again in Arizona! With Brewer, McCain and Pierce in control our state is doomed to fail and dry up and blow away. We need to vote these people out of Arizona politics as soon as we can, for the sake of our children. These people are sucking the state dry and taking the $$$$$ for themselves and their friends. The fix is in and it needs to be stopped by the voters of Arizona.

    June 8, 2010 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  11. Save America, impeach the treasonous republicans

    Can we at least change the name from 'Supreme Court' to 'Large Corporation Funded Court?'

    June 8, 2010 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  12. Nancy

    I'm certainly not in favor of Arizona's form of government these days, but I agree with this ruling. I recall reading an article on the op-ed page recently that pointed out that Arizona is being governed by a bunch of people who until a recent law change, would normally not have gotten enough support, both monetarily and policy, to run in these elections. Giving money to any crazy who wants to be in power before the local people show support is asking for trouble. I agree with JLP that a certain amount of money and support needs to be there before public money is used.

    June 8, 2010 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  13. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    I just re-read the article.

    Reading comprehension kicked in and I agree with hobart, Pam, Randolph Carter, and of course, Tulsa!

    June 8, 2010 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  14. ml77

    Candidates must gather hundreds of contributions in order to qualify for any amount of public funding. Even then, if they only collect the minimum then they won't receive much money.

    This law enables the best candidates to run for office, not just the ones who are best at raising money from wealthy corporations and fat cats.

    The Court under Roberts has become just another shill for big business.

    June 8, 2010 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  15. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Demcorats have more money on hand than Republicans and that's exactly why Republicans blocked this law; if it was the other way around Republicans would be all for this.

    June 8, 2010 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  16. Anonymous

    Conservative Repubs feel their right of free speech is being hurt? Bovine feces!!! They just can't stand others getting a political voice too, others who don't have the money they have–the poor, the have-nots. A hex on these excluders.

    June 8, 2010 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  17. Jerome

    Conservative Repubs feel their right of free speech is being hurt? Bovine feces!!! They just can't stand others getting a political voice too, others who don't have the money they have–the poor, the have-nots. A hex on these excluders.

    June 8, 2010 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  18. Wisconsinite

    So, if I'm understanding this correctly, under the AZ law a candidate that I would not in a million years vote for or contribute to could get some of MY tax dollars for their campaign simply because the other candidate has raised more money??? That's nuts!!!!

    June 8, 2010 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  19. Ben in Texas

    To "SocialismBad":

    Every time a Repugnant runs for office, there IS a Nazi in the race. However, they never seem to lack for funds, so you shouldn't worry about them.

    The Extreme Court is proving yet again that it believes corporations should not only pervert the process of writing bills and regulations (through their lobbyists), but they should also own the electoral process. There will be no relief from corporate bribery of "elected" officials until the majority of the Extreme Court is replaced.

    This country is a de facto plutocracy. They just haven't dismantled the window dressing yet.

    June 8, 2010 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  20. dave

    if corporation have 1st amendment rights, do they also have 2nd amendment rights? How many guns can Goldman Sachs raise?

    June 8, 2010 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  21. Slick William

    Dominican mama 4 Obama June 8th, 2010 12:32 pm ET

    QUESTION: What constitutes an "underfunded candidate"?
    I mean, if their more popular opponent has a 'war chest' of say $12 million, and the other candidate has only been able to raise $6 million, would he/she be considered elegible for matching funds?

    I'm not very clear on this ruling. What if you can't raise funds because people just DON'T LIKE YOU? Should you then be entittled to this TAXPAYER funded support?

    Obama was a privately funded opponent, who turned down monies from the DNC specifically set aside for his campaign AND corporate contributions, and he still blew everyone out of the water with his 'war chest'. Can't help but wonder if this is an early attempt to set the stage for 2012.

    Good luck with that!

    Obama 2012.
    _______________________

    Yes, let's see and independent audit of Obama's privately funded war chest and follow the trail where all that George Soro's, Middle East and liberal socialist monies truly came from.

    Obama for the NBA 2012!

    June 8, 2010 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  22. Thersa

    Just wait: It's only a matter of time until the Supreme Court finds that only corporations and rich people have rights under the law.

    June 8, 2010 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  23. The watcher

    What kind of state is that???full of hatred!!!!???screw the pople who running that state. Right wing republicans tea baggers.

    June 8, 2010 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  24. Mark from Louisiana

    As a registered independent for years I don't think my tax money should be used to fund any candidate...........unless all are funded at the same level and no other private or corporate campaign donations allowed....not one penny

    Pigs will fly before that

    June 8, 2010 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  25. Johnathan

    So – the Supreme Court is essentially saying is:

    Those that HAVE the money, SHOULD be able to buy their way into elected office?

    That a balanced playing field is NOT fair?

    You can talk all you want about the economy, wars, oil spills, energy policy, healthcare... whatever. One thing that is crystal clear is that as long as there is no equal or fair playing field, as long as there is no campaign reform, absolutely NOTHING will ever change in Washington, which is exactly what corporations want.

    The reason why republicans are fighting lifting of damage restrictions to BP, is because of the oil slick in the republican senate and congress – is far deeper and more devastating – than any oil in the Gulf..

    June 8, 2010 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
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