Tag Archives: ceiling

Campaign donation issue reopened

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court agreed to hear McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, 12-536.   The gist of this case deals with the constitutionality of the two-year ceilings that federal law sets on what an individual can give during a campaign for the presidency or Congress, in donations to candidates, to political parties, or to other political committees.

The Supreme Court did not explicitly promise whether it would reconsider its decision in Buckley v. Valeo (1976).  Since Buckley, the government had more leeway to control contributions to candidates or political organizations than over spending by candidates or by independent political activists.

In 2010, the Supreme Court decided a hotly controversial decision in Citizens United v. FEC.  In Citizens United, the Supreme Court declared unconstitutional any limit on spending during federal campaigns by corporations or labor unions, so long as they spent the money independently of a candidate or candidate organization.

In McCutcheon, McCutcheon wants to be able to give more contributions than the two-year overall limits.  McCutcheon’s contributions, if he could go over the limit, would have exceeded the two-year ceiling by $26,200.

Under federal law, the ceiling for the 2011-2012 campaign season was $2,500 per election to any candidate or a candidate’s campaign organization, no more than $30,800 per year to a national political party, no more than $10,000 per year to a state political party, and no more than $5,000 to any other political committee.

The two year ceiling for that same period, which is the issue in this case, is set at $177,000 overall.  That is broken down into $46,200 to a candidate for federal office and $70,800 to non-candidate entities.  The second amount was restricted in that no more than $46,200 could be given to a state party or a non-candidate committee.

via Campaign donation issue reopened : SCOTUSblog.

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Filed under Appellate, civil rights, courts, Judges, legal decision, rules, Supreme Court, union

Is a debt ceiling constitutional?

From ABA Journal Daily News:

On Friday, President Obama rejected the idea, the New York Times reports. “I have talked to my lawyers,” he said. “They are not persuaded that that is a winning argument.”

At issue is this provision: “The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned.”

The sentence was intended to ensure the payment of Union debt after the Civil War, though it was more broadly written, the Times says. The newspaper interviewed law professors about the implications. Some said the provision does, indeed, allow Obama to ignore the debt ceiling. Others said it bars Congress from an actual default on existing debts. Some said Obama has power to act in an emergency, no matter what the 14th Amendment says.

Many raised the issue of whether the courts would be willing to decide the issue, if Obama ignored the ceiling and a suit were filed. “This is largely a political question,” said Yale law professor Jack Balkin.

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Filed under Pending Legislation