I’m delighted to report that Professor Bradley Smith, one of the leading election law scholars in the United States — and likely the leading scholar on the campaign finance deregulation side — will be guest-blogging this week about his recent article, “Separation of Campaign and State.”
Smith is the Visiting Judge John T. Copenhaver Jr. Chair of Law at West Virginia University College of Law, and the Blackmore/Nault Professor of Law at Capital University Law School in Ohio. From June 2000 to August 2005 he served as a Commissioner on the Federal Election Commission, including serving as Chairman of the Commission in 2004.
Smith is also the founder and chairman of the Center for Competitive Politics in Alexandria. Smith is the author of “Unfree Speech: The Folly of Campaign Finance Reform” (Princeton 2001) and co-author of the casebook “Voting Rights and Election Law” with Michael Dimino and Michael Solimine. The New York Times has called him “the “intellectual powerhouse [of the] campaign … to roll back Watergate-era campaign finance restrictions,” and his work has been cited repeatedly in Supreme Court opinions, as well as in lower court opinions.
In his new article, Smith argues that recent decisions by the Roberts Court striking down campaign finance restrictions and elements of government-funded campaign systems are welcome developments but, at least in the latter case, based on unsound legal theory. Smith argues that the court should move further, adopting a robust doctrine of “separation of campaign and state” akin to the separation of church and state or the separation of military and civilian authority that are not expressly in the Constitution, but have been adopted by the court through case by case adjudication of the Constitution’s express provisions.
I don’t entirely agree with him — I’m one of the few people who thinks Buckley v. Valeo was basically right both in upholding limits on campaign contributions and in striking down limits on independent expenditures — but I very much look forward to his posts.