Brief Fact Summary. A state statue limits individual political contributions.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. The danger of corruption by large dollar contributions is sufficiently plausible to satisfy heightened scrutiny of the First Amendment infringement.
The hallmark of corruption is the financial quid pro quo: dollars for political favors.View Full Point of Law
Issue. Are state limitations on political contributions for state political candidates constitutionally valid?
Held. Yes. The holding of Buckley still applies today.
Justice Kennedy: This decision has forced the development of covert speech and elaborate schemes to avoid the detection of contributions.
Justice Thomas: Campaign contribution limits should be subject to strict scrutiny.
Concurrence. The donation of money is a property right and not an exercise of free speech.
Discussion. No actual evidence of corruption need be present. The mere perception or suggestion that it is possible is sufficient to meet the governmental burden of a legitimate interest.