Re: McCutcheon Argument Recap

by Carrie Severino
On the homepage, Bradley Smith elaborates on the absurdity of the arguments trotted out by the Supreme Court’s liberal wing yesterday during the McCutcheon oral arguments:
The tone of many of these and other questions asked at the argument was shocking. Some of the justices seem to think that baseless conjecture, even when arising from their misunderstandings of the law, places the burden of proof on the plaintiffs to show the world won’t end, rather than on the government to prove the law does not harm First Amendment rights.
Normally, the Supreme Court demands that Congress offer a compelling justification before placing limitations on speech. For example, in the military-honors case, the Court determined whether Congress documented a problem, and then examined whether it crafted a remedy that did not go any further than necessary to address the perceived harm. The Court noted in this case that Congress failed to consider simply creating a database of honors, so that claims of valor could be easily checked, rather than banning such claims.
When it comes to the aggregate-contribution caps at issue in McCutcheon, Congress provided no evidence of corruption or any other public harm that would be prevented by the caps. Congress has offered no answers as to why it drafted the provision, what problems it supposedly addresses, or whether legislators considered alternatives with less impact on speech.
 Read the whole piece.

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