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Supreme Court Issues Ruling on Overall Campaign Contributions

On Wednesday morning the Supreme Court defeated limits in federal law for the overall campaign contributions individual donors are allowed to make to political campaigns, political action committees and political parties according to the Associated Press.

The vote came in at 5-4 as the justices said that Americans have the right to give the legal maximum to candidates for president and Congress. They are also legally allowed to donate up to the legal maximum to PACs and parties without having to worry about hitting the limits on all contributions, which is set at $123,000 for 2013 and 2014. There is a separate limit on candidate contributions of $48,600.

The decision was announced by Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts. Roberts said that the overall limits “intrude without justification on a citizen’s ability to exercise `the most fundamental First Amendment activities.’” Roberts was quoting the court’s ruling on Buckley v. Valeo.

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Justice Clarence Thomas wrote that he would have gotten rid of all contribution limits even though he did agree with the case’s outcome. Justice Stephen Breyer wrote for the dissenters.

The donation limits were created by Congress in the wake of Watergate in an effort to prevent big contributors from buying votes with donations. It was also done to restore the confidence of the public in the campaign finance system.

Not at issue in the ruling are contributions made by individuals, which sit at $2,600.

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