Supreme Court protects elections from money

The U.S. Supreme Court reaffirmed states’ rights to limit individual campaign contributions to political candidates on Monday. This ruling will restrain the anti-democratic influence of money in state and federal elections, without reducing individuals’ rights to contribute as they desire.
The Court heard Bevis Schock’s challenge to Missouri’s contribution limits in state campaigns. Schock, an attorney who founded a political action committee attempting to reduce the size of Missouri’s government, contended that campaign contribution limits unfairly prohibit his group’s ability to become more influential. The justices ruled 6-3 that Missouri’s limits are appropriate according to the Constitution. The ruling was also applied to current federal contribution limits, which remain $1,000. “Soft money” contributions will be unaffected by the ruling.
The decision will allow states to retain contribution limits and protect the $1,000 limit on contributions in federal elections, at least until the latter can be more thoroughly reviewed. This year an estimated $3 billion will be spent by individuals on campaign contributions in federal elections, a sum significantly greater than the previous record of $2.1 billion spent in 1996.
Although under pressure from many conservative groups like the National Rifle Association and the National Right to Life Committee, the Supreme Court correctly asserted the corrupting influence of money in recent elections. Although individuals should be allowed to express their political beliefs with campaign contributions, sometimes money’s influence obscures a candidate’s appropriateness for office.