Political speech should have higher protection than “pornography, nude dancing and abortion,” brief says.
WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 13, 2013) — In an amicus brief filed May 8, the American Civil Rights Union argues that limits on campaign donations infringe on freedom of speech.
Written by ACRU General Counsel Peter Ferrara, the brief in Shaun McCutcheon and Federal Election Committee v. Federal Election Commission sides with plaintiff Shaun McCutcheon, who is appealing a September ruling by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia upholding the federal campaign contribution law.
Mr. McCutcheon had wanted to donate more money to three Republican organizations in 2012 but ran up against a federal law limiting “base” and “aggregate” donations.
“The liberty interests at issue in this case include the core First Amendment activity–political speech–and the fundamental liberty interest of freedom of association,” the ACRU brief states. “These core, fundamental, liberty interests of the First Amendment are entitled in our law to the highest possible protection–strict scrutiny.
“Under strict scrutiny, restrictions on political speech and political association can only be allowed where they are justified by a compelling state interest, and only where the restrictions are narrowly tailored to serve that interest,” the brief explains, noting that other types of speech and activity have been granted a First Amendment shield:
“Are we about to the point where we accord higher protection to pornography, nude dancing, and abortion than to the core political speech that has always been the foundation of our democracy?”