Supreme Court Hands Down Major Campaign Finance Ruling

April 2, 2014

The Supreme Court issued a landmark ruling Wednesday, voting 5-4 that aggregate limits on donations to committees and political parties are unconstitutional. The decision leaves in place the base limits on what can be donated to individual campaigns. The McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission ruling represents the most important campaign-finance ruling since the 2010 Citizens United decision.

Chief Justice John G. Roberts prepared the majority opinion. Roberts claimed a first amendment mandate for the ruling. “There is no right in our democracy more basic,” he wrote, “than the right to participate in electing our political leaders.”

The court's four liberal justices dissented vehemently. Writing for the minority, Justice Stephen Breyer said the decision "understates the importance of protecting the political integrity of our governmental institutions." "If the court in Citizens United opened a door, today’s decision may well open a floodgate," wrote Breyer.

Danielle Ford is a Marketing Communications Strategist in Kean University's Office of University Relations.