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SCOTUS: limits to aggregate campaign contributions violate First Amendment

In a vote announced Wednesday, April 2, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that limiting overall campaign contributions was a violation of the First Amendment.

Posted on April 2, 2014 at 11:52 a.m.

The Supreme Court of the United States ruled Wednesday morning that a federal law that limits aggregate campaign contributions violates the First Amendment.

Chief Justice John Roberts announced the 5-4 vote along party lines, saying that the overall limits don't prevent corruption, the Associated Press reported.

However, they do "intrude without justification on a citizen's ability to exercise 'the most fundamental First Amendment activities,'" Roberts said, quoting from the court's 1976 campaign finance ruling in Buckley v. Valeo.

The individual limit of $2,600 per election for a Congressional or presidential candidate remains.

Those that agree with limiting overall campaign contributions believe that it discourages contributors from trying to buy votes with their donations.

Justice Stephen Breyer wrote the dissenting opinion, and said that the vote "understates the importance of protecting the political integrity of our governmental institution. It creates, we think, a loophole that will allow a single individual to contribute millions of dollars to a political party or to a candidate's campaign."

Read more about the history of rulings and laws on campaign contributions in the Associated Press's full story.

What do you think about the ruling? Should there be a limit on how much money overall individuals can contribute to political candidates, campaigns and PACs?


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