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Let's analyze the latest illogical ruling by the odious John Roberts-led Supreme Court.
Arizona passed a law in 1998 called the Citizens Clean Elections Act. Briefly, Arizona's law says that...
....candidates who are willing to forego private fundraising may finance their campaigns with state money. First they must qualify by demonstrating a certain level of support by raising a required number of $5 donations.
Once qualified, the publicly funded candidate receives a lump sum grant to pay for election expenses. This portion of the law was not under challenge.
The public funding option is available to all candidates, and it is up to each candidate to decide whether to abide by the public-funding system or rely instead on private sources of campaign money.
The challenge before the Court yesterday was this provision...
The controversial part of the law deals with the mechanism enacted to ensure that privately funded candidates do not automatically outspend their competition.
The matching funds were awarded to every candidate who agreed to participate in the public-funding option – not just the most competitive candidates. In addition, under the Arizona law, publicly funded candidates were to receive matching funds whenever an independent advocacy group spent money in support of a privately funded candidate or spent money in a way that opposed a publicly funded candidate.
It seems obvious that what Arizona was addressing was the threat to fair elections brought about by unlimited funds being spent by one candidate in a campaign. Yet, Arizona did not restrict the amount of money any one candidate could raise....and so candidates who chose to opt out of public campaign financing could spend as much money campaigning as they could raise.
The Supreme Court has already decided that free speech equals money....as incoherent as that is. Arizona did not, however, limit or restrict a privately-funded campaign candidate from speaking freely, so to speak. That privately-financed Arizona candidate could raise all the bags of free speech from as many wealthy benefactors seeking to push an agenda...as he could. Nothing in Arizona's law prevented a privately-funded candidate from raising as much money as he or she could raise.
That wasn't good enough for Chief Justice John Roberts. Arizona's law permitting a privately-funded campaign candidate to raise an unlimited amount of free speech didn't also punish the publicly-funded campaign candidate for opting to choose public campaign dollars. So, the radical Roberts Court struck down the Arizona law as....wait for it....a violation of a privately-funded candidate's free speech rights.
Roberts said that the radical conservative majority on the Court was not rendering an opinion on public campaign financing of political elections, whether public financing of elections was, itself, unconstitutional...."that is not our business", said Roberts.
It seems that the real "business" of the radically conservative Court was to insure that a privately-funded candidate could successfully outspend a publicly-financed candidate. That's the only conclusion I can arrive at after reading this...
....the justices invalidated a key part of the law that triggered state payments of matching funds for publicly financed candidates whenever their privately funded opponents outspent them.
The high court said the nearly dollar-for-dollar matching-funds mechanism violated the free speech protections of the First Amendment by deterring or diminishing the effectiveness of the speech of candidates who opt out of Arizona’s public finance system.
Astonishingly, John Roberts denounced the Arizona law saying that it, "imposes a substantial burden on the speech of privately financed candidates and independent expenditure groups."
It seems obvious that the Court is protecting, preferring, biased towards....the privately-financed candidate....over the publicly financed candidate. In other words.....the Court's "reasoning" seems to go like this.... what's the point in raising all that influence-buying campaign money if you can't bury your privately-financed opponent in an overwhelming flood of campaign ads?
Now it is true that just spending more money on a campaign does not guarantee success....see Whitman, Meg. But for the Court to conclude that public matching of private political donations "imposes a substantial burden" on the free speech "effectiveness" of outspending your opponent.....is to enter into the land of up is down.
The reason that Arizona passed such a law in the first place was because of the corrupting influence of money in the political process. Justice Kagan reminded the radical Roberts majority that Arizona passed their campaign finance law "after an election scandal in which state legislators were caught on video stuffing campaign cash into gym bags." However, Arizona passed their campaign financing law before the Roberts Court had determined that the corrupting influence of money in our political process is a guaranteed right protected by the Constitution. In the radically conservative Court's opinion in Citizens United, the more corrupting influence that money has on our election process....the freer we are. No, I don't understand it either.
Yet, as hard as Citizens United is to comprehend.....the Arizona ruling is even worse.
Not only does money equal free speech....which obviously gives more free speech rights to those who have all the money. But also, now with the Arizona ruling, those candidates who raise huge bags of free speech from private contributors, much more than their publicly-funded opponents, must have the effectiveness of their advantage protected and defended by law.
The Arizona ruling, like the Citizens United ruling before it, is a perversion of free speech, not a defense of it.