By Gordon R. Friedman
A Multnomah County judge heard hours of what he said were “illuminating” arguments Tuesday for why new political campaign spending limits should be allowed or overturned.
Multnomah voters overwhelmingly approved new limits on campaign contributions last year. But the Oregon Supreme Court, citing the state constitution’s strong free speech protections, has largely said no, no, no…
Attorney Owen Yeates, representing the Taypayer Association of Oregon, countered: “It doesn’t matter if 89 or 99 percent of the voters agree to something if it tramples on the rights of voters and of speakers in the county,” he said.
“We have to protect the ability of people to make meaningful communications to the public. And here, that costs money,” said Yeates, of the Center for Competitive Politics, a Virginia-based group that has argued against campaign finance limits.
Bloch, the judge, promised to provide as a ruling “as quickly as I possibly can.” That’s expected to be before September 1, when the new campaign spending limits take effect.
He said his decision will likely not be the final one, given that both sides have indicated their openness to appeals.
By Gordon R. Friedman
By Alex Swoyer
Some of the world’s biggest tech companies pleaded with the Supreme Court this week to update decades-old precedent governing telephones, saying that cell-tracking technology threatens Americans’ most fundamental privacy rights…
Lower courts have split over whether data held by a third party is protected, and Selina MacLaren, an attorney for Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, said there’s a lot of excitement surrounding Carpenter’s case.
She said the case could even affect the way reporters go about their jobs.
“This type of surveillance threatens to reveal where journalists go and where their sources go,” she said.
David Keating, president of the Center for Competitive Politics, said he feared governments trying to monitor Americans engaged in other First Amendment activities such as freedom of association.
“In many respects, this is potentially a lot more serious than all the concern about the NSA telephone call records and where they’ve analyzed calls being made overseas and such, because this is tracking movements of U.S. citizens in the United States and the government being able to get that information without having to get a warrant,” said Mr. Keating.
Oregon Public Broadcasting: Is Multnomah County’s Political Contribution Cap Constitutional? (In the News)
By Jeff Mapes
The stakes go well beyond Multnomah County. Both sides say it could activate statewide contribution limits that were passed by Oregon voters 11 years ago.
“This case could bring to life the 2006 measure that the Supreme Court so far has said is just dormant,” said Greg Chaimov, a former chief lawyer for the state Legislature who is representing several business groups challenging the Multnomah County limits.
In addition, the Virginia-based Center for Competitive Politics is seeking to intervene in the Multnomah County case. The group participates in legal cases around the country fighting restrictions on political spending…
Owen Yeates, an attorney for the Center for Competitive Politics, said the Multnomah case is “one of the first few challenges” in the courts trying to “push Citizens United the other way.”
He said a major reason his group is seeking to intervene in the Multnomah County case is to make sure that “U.S. Supreme Court protections for independent speech remains strong.”
SiriusXM Patriot: David Keating on The First Amendment in the Social Media Age David Keating, President at the Center for Competitive Politics, speaks with Tom & Deneen Borelli about the First Amendment, Elected Officials and Social Media in light of lawsuits being filed by the ACLU on behalf of constituents who have been blocked by […]
By Edward Zuckerman
The Center for Competitive Politics said in a friend-of-the-court brief that imposing an $18 million fine for failure to meet a registration requirement of Washington State’s election law is barred by the U.S. Constitution’s prohibition against “excessive fines.” CCP said the fine, levied against the Grocery Manufacturers of America for expenditures to promote defeat of a ballot measure, is “a death sentence for most groups, with tremendous potential to chill specially protected speech.”
By Anders Gyllenhaal
After a century of building free speech rights into our laws and culture, Americans are backing away from one of the country’s defining principles.
Set off by the nation’s increasingly short fuse, students, politicians, teachers and parents are not just refusing to hear each other out, we’re coming up with all sorts of ways of blocking ideas we don’t agree with…
“When people quit listening to each other, there’s that lack of discussion and a lack of understanding,” said Bradley A. Smith, the former chairman of the Federal Election Commission and professor at Capital University Law School in Columbus, Ohio. “That’s when there’s a growing tendency to think the other side shouldn’t be able to say what they think.”…
Today’s conflicts are the most complicated yet and show no sign of easing. But as more than one scholar has pointed out, free speech is the starting place for all our other rights. We shouldn’t lose sight of what’s at stake: Without the free flow of ideas, the American experiment cannot succeed.
Portland Mercury: A National Right-Wing Group Wants to Keep Big Money in County Elections (In the News)
Portland Mercury: A National Right-Wing Group Wants to Keep Big Money in County Elections By Doug Brown “They gave me a call,” says TAO Executive Director Jason Williams. “And I’m glad they’re around. I hate these laws that try to limit free speech.” Owen Yeates, the lead CCP attorney representing TAO in opposing the reform […]
By Edith Roberts
At the Center for Competitive Politics, Luke Wachob “discusses three consequences of an America without the Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Buckley v. Valeo,” and concludes that “[p]reserving Buckley is essential to protecting the First Amendment right to free speech.”
By Bob Egelko
The Electoral College is good for democracy and regulation of political campaign financing is generally bad, one expert on election laws told a judicial conference in San Francisco on Tuesday…
Organizers of the panel on law and politics at the annual conference of the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals were evidently looking for a diversity of viewpoints, and got what they were looking for…
As for regulation, Smith – author of the 2001 book “Unfree Speech: The Folly of Campaign Finance Reform” – said laws requiring disclosure of campaign contributions provide little useful information to the public. He endorsed the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United ruling that allowed corporations and unions, as a matter of free speech, to make unlimited political donations…
Ravel, also former chairwoman of the California Fair Political Practices Commission, said she was particularly concerned with high-tech “micro-targeting” of voting populations, aimed at lowering their turnout with fabricated campaign ads and “fake news spread by bots.”
But Smith said voter participation was suffering because “campaigns are now centralized, in part because you have so many laws.”
Courthouse News Service: Voter Fraud Extremely Rare, Conference Panel Agrees By Matthew Renda Professor Richard Hasen, co-editor of the Election Law Journal, Ann Ravel, a law professor and former chair of the Federal Elections Commission and Bradley Smith, a professor who also formerly chaired the FEC, discussed some of the most pressing issues regarding voter […]