Last week, Justice Samuel Alito penned a Supreme Court decision that could be the beginning of the end for Arizona Clean Elections.
Davis v. FEC struck down a federal campaign finance law that, like Clean Elections, arguably stifles speech. The law struck down in
Arizona Clean Elections similarly "equalizes" contributions raised by privately funded candidates by giving matching amounts of taxpayer money to publicly funded candidates. Under this scheme, people who might choose to donate money to a candidate are given a reason to refrain, because their contribution would shower matching amounts of public money on opposing candidates.
Both the Davis law and the Clean Elections law cause financial support for one candidate to create fundraising advantages for the opposing candidate. Davis ruled that such schemes restrict freedom of speech and cannot be justified by the goal of "leveling the playing field" between candidates. And in reaching this ruling,
The Institute of Justice is currently challenging the constitutionality of the Arizona Clean Elections law, and the Davis ruling will likely have an impact on that.
Goldwater Institute: Clean Elections--Or Incumbent Protection?
Goldwater Institute: 'Clean Elections' Chill Free Speech