Grant Fevurly


In the middle of the 2008 election cycle, the United States Supreme Court altered the permissible limits of campaign finance regulation by striking down the "Millionaire's Amendment" in Davis v. Federal Election Commission. The struck provision attempted to equalize the resource differential between self-financing and non-self-financing candidates for electoral office by temporarily increasing the contribution limits for the non-self-financing candidates when those candidates who self-financed crossed a threshold amount of personal expenditures. Once the disparity between the two candidates equalized, the normal regulatory regime resumed effect. While important for its own immediate implications to a number of public financing schemes across the country, the decision represents yet another assault by the Roberts Court on the campaign finance regulation mechanism in general. In only its third campaign finance decision, the Roberts Court has chipped away at both the trend of judicial deference to legislative judgment concerning campaign finance regulation and, the penultimate source of regulation itself, the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002. Moreover, in Davis, Justice Alito's majority opinion dealt a major blow to campaign finance reformers by unequivocally rejecting the validity of an equality rationale for regulation-opining instead that the prevention of actual or apparent corruption constituted the only permissible basis for campaign finance regulation.