Speed Reads


Justice Breyer: Campaign finance limits protect the First Amendment


Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer blasted the high court's ruling that struck down aggregate limits on campaign contributions, writing in a dissent that the majority opinion was "fatally flawed" and would harm "democratic legitimacy."

In a 5-4 decision, the court on Wednesday ruled that longstanding caps on the aggregate amount of money individuals can donate to candidates, political action committees, and parties in a single election cycle violated the First Amendment. Breyer disagreed, arguing that the First Amendment "advances not only the individual's right to engage in political speech, but also the public's interest in preserving a democratic order in which collective speech matters."

"Where enough money calls the tune, the general public will not be heard," he added."

More from Breyer:

Today a majority of the Court overrules this holding. It is wrong to do so. Its conclusion rests upon its own, not a record-based, view of the facts. Its legal analysis is faulty: It misconstrues the nature of the competing constitutional interests at stake. It understates the importance of protecting the political integrity of our governmental institutions. It creates a loophole that will allow a single individual to contribute millions of dollars to a political party or to a candidate's campaign... today's decision eviscerates our Nation's campaign finance laws, leaving a remnant incapable of dealing with the grave problems of democratic legitimacy that those laws were intended to resolve. [PDF]