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December 10, 2003

Judicial Restraint on McCain-Feingold

Now, I'm not going to say a lot about the substance of the McCain-Feingold decision by the Supreme Court, since I think it's in many ways a limited bill where what is needed is real public financing of elections.

But before the rightwing complains, let me note that this decision is a wonderful example of judicial restraint by the majority-- the four liberals and Sandra Day -- where a key sentence is in this syllabus (summary) (see page 3) for the decision. The majority basically says that there are competing ways to look at the democratic interests involved here, pro and con, so the Court stated it was going to largely defer to Congress's own attempt to make that balance, rather than substitute its own views:

The less rigorous review standard shows proper deference to Congress ability to weigh competing constitutional interests in an area in which it enjoys particular expertise, and provides it with sufficient room to anticipate and respond to concerns about circumvention of regulations designed to protect the political process integrity.
That statement of judicial restraint is the part of the decision I fully endorse.

More on this point by Arnold California at Demagogue.

Posted by Nathan at December 10, 2003 12:47 PM