It doesn’t really surprise me the the Supremes would strike down the Millionaires’ clause of the campaign finance law, but it’s still a rotten thing to do.
Davis and Washington lawyer Stanley Brand say the provision discriminates against candidates who prefer to fund their own campaigns to “convey a message of independence from lobbyists, large donors and other political ‘insiders.’ ” The amendment “infringes on the core political speech of self-financed candidates and violates their right to equal protection of the law,” Davis’s brief maintains.
This reasoning is kinda reminiscent of the line in Bush v. Gore about not infringing Bush’s legal right to be considered winner of the election regardless of the actual ballot numbers.
It strikes me, though, that this ultimately makes campaign finance limits as we know them meaningless. If someone is not yet in office, you just have to find people willing to give them enough no-strings-attached money so that they can finance their own campaigns. If they are in office, you do it with speaking fees and other supposedly earned income. (Of course you’d have to trust the person to use the money to finance their own campaign, since any contract would void the whole thing, but if you can’t trust an up-and-coming machine politician, who can you trust?)