Supreme Court Review 2017/2018 TERM
TUESDAY, JANUARY 23, 2018
CLICK HERE TO TRACK THIS CASE

Issue:  Publically Financed Candidates

Arizona Free Enterprise Club’s Freedom Club PAC v. Bennett

10-238

QUESTION(S) PRESENTED

In Davis v. FEC, 128 S. Ct. 2759 (2008), this Court held that the First Amendment forbids the government from attempting to level the playing field in elections by raising contribution limits for candidates who are outspent by self- financed opponents. Arizona's Citizens Clean Elections Act achieves a similar result by providing extra subsidies in the form of "matching funds" to publicly financed candidates who are outspent by independent expenditure groups and privately financed candidates. The questions presented are:

1. Whether the First Amendment forbids Arizona from providing additional government subsidies to publicly financed candidates that are triggered by independent expenditure groups' speech against such candidates?

2. Whether the First Amendment forbids Arizona from providing additional government subsidies to publicly financed candidates that are triggered by the fundraising or expenditures by these candidates' privately financed opponents?

DECISION

Decided June 27, 2011 HOLDING

Arizona's matching funds scheme substantially burdens political speech and is not sufficiently justified by a compelling interest to survive First Amendment scrutiny.

ROBERTS, C. J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which SCALIA, KENNEDY, THOMAS, and ALITO, JJ., joined. KAGAN, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which GINSBURG, BREYER, and SOTOMAYOR, JJ., joined.

Text of Opinion
pdf download
html (external site)

ORAL ARGUMENT

Argued March 28, 2011

Transcript
pdf download
Audio
mp3 download
multimedia viewer (external site)
Amicus Curiae Briefs
SCOTUSblog (external site)

CERTIORARI STAGE

Granted November 29, 2010

PROCEEDING BELOW

United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
Decided May 21, 2010