SCOTUS heard oral arguments on McCutcheon v. FEC on Tuesday, October 8th 2013. This case originated from Alabama when Shaun McCutcheon sued the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) when they forbid him from contributing above the contribution limits. The issue throughout oral arguments is the difference between donating directly to candidates as oppose through PACs. McCutcheon and Republicans want to donate to unlimited amount of candidates as they wish. Under the current law, there’s a limit to how much one can donate to candidates and how much to prevent donors from circumventing the contribution laws.
Erin Murphy: argued on behalf of McCutcheon. Murphy argued that the limits can’t be justified be cause the government has more appropriate anti-circumventing laws.
Bobby Burchfield argued on behalf of Senator’s Mitch McConnell’s Amicus Curiae. Burchfield argued that all restrictions should be reviewed under strict scrutiny. Burchfield argued that the restrictions infringes on the 1st amendment and the restriction his client opposes undermines the political process.
The Solicitor General Verrilli: argued the restrictions are necessary to prevent quid pro quo corruption and prevent what he calls big money from running the political system. Verrilli argued that big donations leads politicians to be debt with the donors.
The Justices showed their biases during oral arguments. When Justice Ginsburg argued that restrictions are meant to force candidates to rely on small donors, Burchfield replied that restrictions reduces the number of people to rely on. When Verrilli was arguing big money corrupts, Scalia asked,
And what about newspapers that ...that spend a lot of money in endorsing candidates and promoting their candidacy. I suppose, you know, you...you have to put in that money, too. That is money that is directed to political speech.
The slide show shows example of campaign expenses. Some show homemade signs and others show professional made signs. The Court ruling will effect the campaigns with the money to pay for professional made signs like the Mayoral candidates. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch endorsed Mayor Slay for reelection last time. This case doesn't effect the press. The Court will hear oral argument for Sandifer v. U.S. Steal on November 4th.