Briefing a Supreme Court Case, Mccutcheon et al. v. Federal Election uk
The name of the case presented in the Supreme Court was McCutcheon, et al. v. Federal Election Commission, 572 U.S. (2014). The appellant of the case was Shaun McCutcheon et al., while the appellee was the Federal Election Commission. The case was decided by the Supreme Court on April 2, 2014, by a vote of 5-4. There were some limits by the Supreme Court on the total funding that a benefactor can offer to PACs, candidates and party committees during a cycle of elections. Nevertheless, the court supported the fact that the donors have the right to influence candidates of a particular party.
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The FEC regulates donations to campaigns during politics through the use of base limits, where it has aggregate limits of donations to election candidates and parties; there is a particular amount a candidate should receive from each donor. The circumstances that triggered the dispute are related with Shaun McCutcheon, a businessman from Alabama; an attempt to exceed the Federal aggregate limits of contributions to the election’s candidates, political committees or parties. The Federal had aggregate contribution limits that dictated the total amount a party or candidate could get from one single donor in an election progression. It dictated the limit of $5200 and not to exceed that amount per federal candidate in election cycle. Nevertheless, the donors had been limited to a maximum of $123,200 in donations to all parties, candidates and political committees in an election cycle.
In 2012 elections, Shaun McCutcheon attained all the contribution limits; however, he wanted to violate the limits by giving more money to the Republican National Committee and other election candidates. Shaun and the RNC provoked the dispute when they challenged the Federal Election Commission limits as being unconstitutional; they claimed that they violated the First Amendment since they saddle cosseted political discourse and no justifications were made by the interests of a compelling government. The dispute between Shaun and the FEC led them to the district court of law in Columbia on September 8, 2012. McCutcheon was the one who took the initiative to sue FEC in the District Court.
The court upheld that the limits were kept according to the constitution. It was claimed that the aggregate limits were to avoid circumvention of the law by the FEC. The Court also reasoned that the limits helped in spreading funds to a large group of committees and candidates. However without the limits, the funds would be accumulated by a single committee and individual. The decision by the District Court did not please McCutcheon and so they appealed to the United States Supreme Court on October 9, 2012 and later on February 19 the following year, the court approved the hearing of the case.
The provision of the Constitution that brought issues between FEC and McCutcheon is the First Amendments privileges to liberty of association and expression. Shaun argued that the aggregate limits never satisfied the legitimate purpose of the government to prevent circumvention of pedestal limits. He also argued that the purpose of the limits was to prevent wealthy donors association with election’s candidates. The FEC squabbled that were to prevent donors from donating beyond the base limits, prevent donor’s impermissible manipulation over a candidate and reduce the chances of corruption.
The two parties framed several questions for the court. The appellants presented the following five questions:
- What if the biennial boundary on donations to non-candidate commissions, 2 U.S.C.441a (a) (3) (B), is unauthorized for not having a constitutionally cognizable concern as it is applied to donations to committees of the national-party?
- What if the biennial boundaries on donations to non-candidate commissions, 2 U.S.C.441a (a) (3) (B), are unauthorized facially due to lack of a cognizable constitutional interest?
- What if the biennial boundaries on donations to non-candidate commissions are unconstitutional and at the same time too low, facially and as applied?
- What if the biennial boundary on donations to the committees of the candidates, 2 U.S.C. 441 a (a) (3) (A), is unconstitutional due to the lack of a cognizable constitutional interest.
- What if the biennial boundary on donations to the committees of the candidates, 2 U.S.C. 441 a (a) (3) (A), is unconstitutional and also too low.
The outcome of the disagreement was that the federal congress was to continue with the regulations of the campaign donations in order to protect the candidates against corruption. The court also claimed that there was no possibility that an individual candidate who consumed a huge sum of money would gain influence or access the officials elected. The conclusion of the Supreme Court was that the aggregate limits intruded the ability of the citizens to exercise the essential activities of the First Amendments. The Court removed the general cap on contributions by the individuals and failed to affect the base limits according to the Act, on contributions by the individuals to party committees and federal candidate movements.
After the final verdict in the court some groups of individuals who supported government reforms and voting rights rallied outside the court. The environmentalists protested for the legalized corruption system that was through funds in politics, since it led to the passing of the major laws of the environment.
Ari Berman wrote for The Nation that the court ruling on the First Amendment gave the rich donors and influential corporations the right to acquire any election. However, it did not consider the Fifteenth Amendment that denies the Americans voting rights free of ethnic discrimination. The chief justice John Roberts countered Berman argument by saying that money could not guarantee the victory of a candidate and it is the decision of the majority that would vote a candidate in a particular post. Jeffrey Tobin wrote in The New Yorker that the Chief Justice language clearly suggested that there were the deregulation political campaigns in America.
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