Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
April 24, 2014

Posts in "Supreme Court"

April 2, 2014

Will McCutcheon Ruling Boost Political Parties?

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Priebus voiced his excitement on the ruling Wednesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus could hardly contain his glee during a conference call with reporters shortly after the Supreme Court ruled to strike the aggregate limit on campaign contributions.

“We are excited about the outcome of this case,” exulted Priebus, noting that the RNC bankrolled the constitutional challenge brought by businessman Shaun McCutcheon from beginning to end. In McCutcheon v. FEC, the court ruled 5-4 to overturn the overall limit on what an individual may donate collectively to parties, candidates and PACs in one election cycle, which was capped at $123,200 total.

The ruling “allows us to go to our donors and say: Look instead of being able to give to only nine Senate candidates, you can now give to the 14 that are most in play,” Priebus told reporters. “And you can give to the Senate committee, the congressional committee and the RNC, and you can max out to all three.”

Priebus wasn’t the only party official rejoicing in the wake of the high court’s Wednesday ruling. One Democratic campaign committee operative confided that he was “happy as a pig in shit.” While advocates of campaign finance limits on and off Capitol Hill assailed the ruling as an invitation to corruption and campaign finance abuses, party officials welcomed the decision. Full story

Supreme Court Rejects Aggregate Contribution Limits

scotus 078 100813 445x296 Supreme Court Rejects Aggregate Contribution Limits

Campaign finance reform advocate Fred Wertheimer speaks at the Supreme Court after McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission arguments last year. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Updated, 11:45 a.m. | In a long-awaited ruling in the case known as McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, the Supreme Court today struck the aggregate limit on campaign contributions as an unconstitutional infringement on free speech.

Significantly, the high court left in place the base limit on how much individuals and political action committees may give to candidates and political parties. But today’s ruling makes a challenge to that direct contribution limit, which stands at $2,600 per election for an individual, all but inevitable in the near future.

What the court overturned today was the overall limit on the amount that one individual may give to candidates, parties and PACs in a two-year election cycle, a cap that now stands at $123,000. Republican businessman Shaun McCutcheon had challenged the aggregate limit on the grounds that giving the same amount to a larger number of candidates would not invite corruption. Full story

January 29, 2014

The State of the Union in 3 Minutes (Video)

From focusing on the minimum wage to celebrating the Olympics to addressing the partisan divide in Congress, Roll Call condenses President Barack Obama’s fifth State of the Union address into 190 seconds.

Read Roll Call’s full coverage of Obama’s speech here.

January 27, 2014

Key Moments From Obama’s State of the Union Addresses (Video)

Watch Roll Call’s key moments from President Barack Obama’s five State of the Union addresses, including criticism of the Supreme Court, hammering Wall Street banks and pushing for immigration and gun reform.

October 25, 2013

Big Money Undermines Judicial Elections, Report Warns

The same unrestricted money that flooded political campaigns in 2012 also inundated judicial elections and is threatening public confidence in the courts and the independence of the judiciary, a new report from a trio of groups warns.

Dubbed “The New Politics of Judicial Elections,” the report identifies record levels of TV advertising and outside spending; a new class of largely conservative “super spenders,” and a surge in negative and misleading ads — all trends mirrored in last year’s presidential and congressional races.

“What this is all about is about how much insulation we are going to have around the bench,” said Bert Brandenburg, director of  Justice at Stake — which co-authored the report — in a Friday conference call with reporters. “Are we going to let money erode that insulation? Are we going to let political parties erode that insulation? Are we going to let interest groups erode that insulation?”

The answer may already be yes, warns the report, whose other authors were the National Institute on Money in State Politics and the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University’s School of Law. All the groups aim to promote fair elections and courts.

The report points to the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission ruling as a watershed in judicial spending. Among the report’s key findings: Full story

June 27, 2013

Supreme Court Has Done Its Job — and No More

Like it or not — and lots of people on the right and left don’t like it — the Supreme Court bumped the country into the 21st century with its affirmative action, voting rights and gay marriage decisions.

Conservatives detest the court’s moving the country toward “marriage equality” for same-sex couples and liberals condemn it for ending federal supervision of voting laws in the South and limiting racial preferences in university admissions.

Both sets of decisions are steps out of the past and into the future — but just steps, not leaps. The court is nudging the country in the right direction, not shoving it. Full story

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