Supreme Court May Hear Challenge to Ban on Foreign Political Contributions

Friday, January 06, 2012

On Friday, the Supreme Court will decide whether or not to hear Bluman v. the Federal Election Commission. This case specifically challenges the Federal Election Campaign Act, which "prohibits any foreign national from contributing, donating or spending funds in connection with any federal, state, or local election in the United States, either directly or indirectly." The law is broad enough to disallow those lawfully living in the U.S. from distributing re-election materials. Using a First Amendment challenge, the case raises questions about the rights and opinions of non-citizens who lawfully reside here.

Jeff Rosen is a law professor at George Washington University. He discusses judicial and legislative history behind the ban on political contributions from foreign nationals. Paul Sherman is a lawyer at the libertarian organization Institute for Justice in Arlington, Virginia. He wrote recent op-eds for The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal looking at the issue of campaign contributions from non-citizens. He says striking down the ban would essentially be an expansion of the Supreme Court's controversial 2010 ruling in Citizens United vs. FEC.

Journalist and blogger Farai Chideya disagrees with Sherman. She talks about why she not only opposes turning over the ban on foreign campaign contributions, but also the Supreme Court's ruling on Citizens United

Guests:

Paul Sherman

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