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Ted Cruz wins Supreme Court case challenging campaign reimbursement restriction


Ted Cruz, a Texas senator, campaigns alongside Dave McCormick (Pennylvania Senate hopeful). Here he holds a peanut and makes a joke about how he wears masks to prevent Covid-19.

Aimee Digger | Lightrocket | Getty Images

On Monday, the Supreme Court sided with Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) in his appeal against a law restricting post-election funding to reimburse candidates who loan large amounts to their campaigns.

A court of appeal ruled in favor of the Biden administration in a 3-1 decision that the regulation at issue “burdens core politically speech without proper justification.” The majority also rejected the argument by Biden that the regulation helped to avoid political corruption.

The decision split the conservative-majority court along ideological lines, with liberal justices arguing in dissent.

It is very easy to comprehend the theory behind legislation. Justice Elena Kagan dissents that political contributions will be used to line the pockets of candidates after their election pose an extra danger for corruption.

If the rule doesn’t exist, the politician will be happy and the donors will be happy. Publicity is the sole loser. The public is the only loser,” Kagan wrote, joined by Justices Stephen Breyer & Sonia Sotomayor.

A section of the Bipartisan campaign Reform Act prohibited candidates from using over $250,000 post-election funds for repayments to pay off loans they received to help fund their campaigns. Anything above this amount cannot be repaid in the 20-day period following an election.

Cruz had borrowed $260,000 for his 2018 victory against Democratic challenger Beto. Ten thousand dollars of Cruz’s personal loan was not paid twenty days later.

The senator, who had purposefully gone above the quarter-million-dollar limit to prompt a legal challenge against the regulation, argued that the 20-year-old rule violated his free speech rights. Cruz was supported by a federal district court, which ruled that Cruz’s law prohibits the “personal financing of campaign speech”.

John Roberts, Supreme Court Chief Justice, wrote Monday in the majority opinion that this law increases the chance that certain candidates will not be able repay their loans after an electoral period. He also stated, “In turn, some candidates might refrain from lending money for their campaigns, when they would otherwise, and reducing the volume of political speech.”

It is possible to prevent a candidate from accessing this vital source of campaign funds. [the regulation] raises a barrier to entry—thus abridging political speech,” Roberts wrote.

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