The U.S. Supreme Court struck down the limits in a federal law on overall campaign contributions the largest individual donors can make to candidates, political action committees and political parties.
The court’s justices in a vote of 5-4 on Wednesday said that Americans have the right to give the legal maximum to the candidates for President and Congress, as well as to PACs and parties.
The court added the donors should not worry it will violate the law when bumping up against limits on all their contributions currently set for 2013 and 2014 at $123,200, which includes a different separate cap of $48,600 for contributions to candidates.
The case did not question the maximum amount one individual could donate to one single candidate or party during an election cycle of two-years. Those limits for candidates are $2,600 and for a national political party are $32,400 and a political committee is $5,000.
John Roberts the court’s Chief Justice announced the court’s decision, which was split by the conservative and liberal justices.
Roberts said aggregate limits are not a way of preventing corruption, the rationale the Supreme Court has upheld for justifying limits for contributions.
The overall contribution limits are an intrusion without proper justification on the ability of a citizen to exercises their most fundamental activities under the First Amendment, said the Chief Justice.
That was agreed to by Justice Clarence Thomas. However, he wrote separately to say he would have gone even further to wipe away all limits for contributions.
The liberal dissent was written by Justice Stephen Breyer.
Those against eliminating contribution limits have said that being able to financially influence every race effectively across the nation goes too far.
Beyond its implications over and upon the wealthy few, the ruling by the court marks a substantial shift in how the court treats the political gift.
Now that overall limits have been knocked down by the court, it is the first chip at knocking down the federal contribution limits, since rational for the limits was established over 40 years ago.
Those who are in fear of politics being deregulated are concerned about the decision, while those that feel regulation since 1974 has not proven much, welcomed the court’s decision on Wednesday.