This case involved a constitutional challenge to the Arizona Citizens Clean Elections Act, which created a public financing system for election campaigns of candidates for state office.
CLDEF filed with the Supreme Court in 2011 an amicus curiae brief which argued that the Arizona system of public financing of campaigns for election to public office is unconstitutional to its core.
Contrary to the analysis of the lower court, the public financing system approved in Buckley v. Valeo does not govern this case, as Buckley permits only voluntarily funded public financing of elections, while a ten-percent surcharge on civil penalties and criminal fines unconstitutionally funds the Arizona public financing system. Further, as the brief explained, the Arizona act unconstitutionally abridges petitioners’ privileges and immunities in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment.
CLDEF’s brief further argued that the Buckley rationale for public financing of election campaigns is fundamentally flawed and that the Arizona public financing scheme is antithetical to First Amendment principles.
The Supreme Court overturned the matching funds provision of the Arizona law.
CLDEF Amicus Curiae Brief (January 20, 2011)
Oral Argument (March 28, 2011) transcript