A Ninth Circuit panel of judges ruled 2-1 in favor of extending the stay on Judge Roslyn Silver’s ruling on matching funds. The order, released yesterday, calls for the case to be heard in mid-April and opening briefs to be filed this month.
The majority decision, by judges Barry Silverman and Richard Paez, came without explanation. A dissent, written by Carlos Bea, finds the Davis v. F.E.C. Supreme Court case law holds sway and that matching funds provide an unconstitutional speech burden on privately funded candidates. “Strategically, it makes no more sense for Plaintiffs to spend money now than for a poker player to make a bet if he knows the house is going to match his bet for his opponent,” he wrote.
Disagreeing with Silver, Bea found that the state did not show a strong likelihood of success on the merits of their appeal and his explanation is borderline hostile to arguments made by proponents of Clean Elections. Bea wrote “state subsidized” candidates would have to change their fundraising strategies with matching funds off the table, and “perhaps actually do some fundraising.” The only loss incurred there, he said, would be the loss of state subsidies if they didn’t raise money themselves.
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