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An Introduction to Constitutional Law » McConnell v. Federal Election Commission

An introduction to Constitutional Law 100 Supreme Court cases everyone should know

Randy E. Barnett & Josh Blackman

In 2002, the efforts to limit soft money culminated in the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act. BCRA was commonly referred to as “McCain-Feingold” after its sponsors, Republican Senator John McCain of Arizona and Democratic Senator Russ Feingold of Wisconsin. Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, who then served as the Republican Minority Whip, challenged BCRA’s constitutionality.

A fractured Court upheld almost all of BCRA. We will focus on the two most significant restrictions that were upheld. First, the Court held that Congress could restrict soft money contributions to political parties through Title I of BCRA. Second, the Court upheld Title II’s restrictions on independent expenditures for advertisements.

Justices Stevens and O’Connor jointly wrote the majority opinion.

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