Wisconsin Right to Life Lauds U.S. Supreme Court Decision Striking Down “Matching Rescue Funds” in Public Funding Laws

Today’s U.S. Supreme Court decision striking down an Arizona law which requires Arizona’s gubernatorial candidates to receive additional matching funds if they are outspent by their opponent and independent groups is a welcome affirmation of free speech. This decision has a direct and positive bearing on a case filed by Wisconsin Right to Life and other groups, WRTL v. Brennan, asking the federal courts to strike down a similar provision in Wisconsin law in relation to State Supreme Court races.

On March 31, Wisconsin federal Judge William Conley dismissed a request by the Wisconsin Right to Life Political Action Committee for a temporary restraining order on those provisions of the State Supreme Court public financing law which: (1) instruct the state to award significant “rescue” funds to an opposing candidate if third party spending for a candidate exceeds a certain amount, (2) require significant reporting, and (3) limit campaign contribution. An immediate appeal was filed in the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals to seek emergency relief prior to the April 5 State Supreme Court election. An emergency order was not issued and the case remains before the Seventh Circuit for resolution. Similar cases are pending in Maine and New Mexico as well as Wisconsin.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruling has correctly struck down as unconstitutional a provision which essentially requires groups to, in effect, fund the campaigns of candidates whose views they oppose simply because the group exercised its First Amendment right to free speech. Once again, Wisconsin Right to Life and its attorneys are in the forefront of protecting free speech rights in America. Today’s decision is another victory for our cherished right of speech.

Wisconsin Right to Life PAC is represented by Atty. James Bopp in this case as well as prior cases won by Wisconsin Right to Life in federal courts and the U.S. Supreme Court.

Barbara Lyons

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