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Court won't hear soft-money challenge

The Supreme Court on Tuesday decided that it would not undertake another review of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform act, rejecting a Republican-sponsored challenge to the law's centerpiece prohbition on unregulated "soft money" contributions to political parties.

The court did not explain its decision upholding a lower court's dismissal of Republican National Committee v. Federal Election Commission. Three justices--Antonin Scalia, Anthony M. Kennedy and Clarence Thomas--said they would have accepted the case for review, but four justices must be willing to do so in order for the court to take a case.

The decision by the majority avoids another showdown on campaign finance regulation, an issue that has sharply divided Democrats and Republicans. The court ruled 5 to 4 in upholding McCain-Feingold shortly after it was passed in 2002, saying soft-money contributions had led to the national political parties "peddling access" to elected officials.

But Rick Hasen, an expert on campaign finance law at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, said he believes the court's reluctance to look at the soft-money question may not last forever. "I had been predicting the summary affirmance for some time--this was just a very weak case for overturning the ban," Hasen wrote on his Election Law Blog.

By by Robert Barnes  |  June 29, 2010; 11:30 AM ET
Categories:  2010 Election , 44 The Obama Presidency , Democratic Party , Republican Party , Supreme Court  | Tags: campaign finance reform, mccain-feingold, soft money, supreme court  
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Posted by: usadblake | June 29, 2010 1:12 PM | Report abuse

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