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  • McConnell v. Federal Election CommissionMcConnell v. Federal Election Commission
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McConnell v. Federal Election Commission

United States Supreme Court
540 U.S. 93 (2003)

McConnell v. Federal Election Commission


In 2002, Congress passed the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (BCRA) to respond to concerns about campaign finance reform. Titles I and II of the act imposed new restrictions on the use of soft money by candidates and “electioneering communications.” Titles II and III of the act restricted candidates’ access to discounted airtime based on the type of their advertisements, and prohibited individuals under seventeen years of age from making contributions to political parties. Title V of the act required broadcasters to keep and make available records of request for political advertisements. Senator Mitch McConnell (plaintiff) challenged BCRA as unconstitutional under the First Amendment. McConnell brought suit against the Federal Election Commission (FEC) (defendant). A three judge panel ruled parts of the statute constitutional and other parts unconstitutional. The United States Supreme Court granted review.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Stevens and O’Connor, JJ. for BCRA Titles I and II; Rehnquist, C.J. for BCRA Titles III and IV; Breyer, J., for BCRA Title V)

Concurrence/Dissent (Scalia, J.)

Concurrence/Dissent (Thomas, J.)

Concurrence/Dissent (Kennedy, J.)

Dissent (Rehnquist, C.J.)

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