Challenge to Vermont's campaign finance law and to the constitutionality of expenditure limits under the First Amendment. DECIDED
For 30 years, the Supreme Court has distinguished between political expenditures, which cannot be limited under the First Amendment, and political contributions, which can be subject to reasonable limits. The Vermont law ignores that distinction. It imposes severe limits on the amount of money that candidates can spend to promote their own elections, coupled with the lowest statewide contribution limits in the country. The ACLU's position is that the government should not decide how much speech is necessary and proper in a political campaign. Under the First Amendment, that decision belongs to candidates and voters.