Federal Election Commission v. Beaumont, 539 U.S. 146, 3 (2003)

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148

FEDERAL ELECTION COMM'N v. BEAUMONT

Syllabus

contributions have long been treated as marginal speech restrictions subject to relatively complaisant First Amendment review because contributions lie closer to the edges than to the core of political expression. Thus, a contribution limit passes muster if it is closely drawn to match a sufficiently important interest. The time to consider the difference between a ban and a limit is when applying scrutiny at the level selected, not in selecting the standard of review itself. But even NCRL's argument that 441b is not closely drawn rests on the false premise that the provision is a complete ban. In fact, the provision allows corporate political participation through PACs. And this Court does not think that regulatory burdens on PACs, including restrictions on their ability to solicit funds, renders a PAC unconstitutional as an advocacy corporation's sole avenue for making political contributions. See National Right to Work, supra, at 201-202. Pp. 159-163.

278 F. 3d 261, reversed.

Souter, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which Rehnquist, C. J., and Stevens, O'Connor, Ginsburg, and Breyer, JJ., joined. Kennedy, J., filed an opinion concurring in the judgment, post, p. 163. Thomas, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which Scalia, J., joined, post, p. 164.

Deputy Solicitor General Clement argued the cause for petitioner. With him on the briefs were Solicitor General Olson, Assistant Attorney General McCallum, Gregory G. Garre, Douglas N. Letter, Edward Himmelfarb, and Jonathan H. Levy.

James Bopp, Jr., argued the cause for respondents. With him on the brief were Richard E. Coleson and Thomas J. Marzen.*

*Briefs of amici curiae urging reversal were filed for the Association of Trial Lawyers of America by Jeffrey Robert White; for the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law by Burt Neu-borne, Frederick A. O. Schwarz, and Deborah Goldberg; and for Public Citizen, Inc., et al. by Scott L. Nelson, Alan B. Morrison, and David C. Vladeck.

Briefs of amici curiae urging affirmance were filed for the American Taxpayers Alliance by Alan P. Dye; for the Pacific Legal Foundation by Deborah J. La Fetra; and for RealCampaignReform.org, Inc., et al. by William J. Olson, John S. Miles, and Herbert W. Titus.

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