CT Public Financing Law Ruled Unconstitutional

Update: 9/1/2009 Court grants two week stay.  Courant story <read>

Attorney General Richard Blumenthal said that U.S. District Judge Stefan R. Underhill granted the two-week stay during a Monday morning teleconference with state officials and the minor-party political officials whose suit resulted in Underhill’s legal opinion Thursday that the reforms are unconstitutional.

Blumenthal said the stay has the effect of permitting the new law that governed public financing of state election campaigns to continue in force while the state files an expedited appeal. State officials said the stay is likely to be extended.

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For additional statements and press releases from the Attorney General, Secretary of the State, Government Administration and Elections Committee Chair, Common Cause etc.  Please see CTNewsWire

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From CTNewsJunkie <read>

While he praised the state’s effort to increase public confidence in state elections, a federal judge on Thursday ordered an immediate end to Connecticut’s fledgling public campaign finance system, calling it unconstitutional…

The Citizens Election Program “imposes an unconstitutional, discriminatory burden on minor party candidates’ First Amendment-protected right to political opportunity,” Underhill wrote in his decision.

Attorney General Blumenthaul will appeal.  Its also possible that the Judge may stay the order and it is also possible that the law can be amended.

From the AP Story <read>

“We believe it deserves review by the court of appeals because it conflicts substantially with decisions of the United States Supreme Court on some issues,” Blumenthal said Friday. “Certainly this decision raises significant legal obstacles to the campaign finance reform movement here and around the country but it’s only one ruling very early in an ongoing court battle,” Blumenthal said.

Mark Lopez, attorney for the Green and Libertarian parties, said he was “absolutely delighted” with the ruling.

“We hope the legislature is called into session and quickly fixes this in time for the 2010 elections,” Lopez said.

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