Politics Digest

Politics Digest: Supreme Court Sets Up McConnell-McCain Campaign Finance Clash

Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, launching her campaign for governor of Texas, said that fellow Republican Rick Perry has been in office too long.
Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, launching her campaign for governor of Texas, said that fellow Republican Rick Perry has been in office too long. (By Dave Einsel -- Associated Press)

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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

SUPREME COURT

McConnell vs. McCain On Campaign Finance

The Supreme Court on Monday allowed Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to intervene in next month's hearing on the constitutionality of campaign finance restrictions, meaning that he and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) will be on opposite sides.

The court is considering whether to overturn its previous decisions that restrict unions and corporations from using their general treasuries to influence election campaigns. At stake is a key portion of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002, more commonly known as McCain-Feingold.

The court found the law constitutional in a 2003 decision known as McConnell v. FEC, and the Kentucky senator's attorney, noted First Amendment lawyer Floyd Abrams, told the court that McConnell should be included in the arguments over whether to reverse that decision.

The Sept. 9 hearing is in Citizens United v. FEC, in which the conservative interest group challenged the law's restrictions on how it presents and advertises "Hillary: The Movie," its critical look at Hillary Rodham Clinton.

The all-star lineup in the case, now expanded to an 80-minute hearing, includes new Solicitor General Elena Kagan, arguing her first case before the court; former solicitor general Seth Waxman, arguing for McCain and other members of Congress; Abrams, representing McConnell; and former solicitor general Theodore Olson, arguing for Citizens United.

-- Robert Barnes

WISCONSIN

Governor Won't Run For a Third Term

Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle (D) said he will not seek reelection next year, paving the way for a wide-open race in the politically divided state.

Elected in 2002, Doyle is in his second four-year term and could have sought a third, as Wisconsin has no term limits. But Doyle said he thinks governors should serve only two terms, because such turnover "keeps the political world from becoming stagnant."


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