Supreme Court declines challenge to Connecticut Citizens’ Election Program

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  • Dale Eisman

U.S. Supreme Court declines Green Party complaint;

Connecticut Citizens’ Election Program is intact

The Supreme Court has declined to review a complaint brought by the Green Party against Connecticut’s public financing law. In Green Party v. Lenge, the Green Party had argued that Connecticut’s Citizens’ Election Program unconstitutionally discriminated against minor party candidates by imposing different qualifying requirements than major party candidates.

Connecticut Common Cause, Connecticut Citizen Action Group and two other intervening defendants had urged the Supreme Court not to review a decision by the U.S Second Circuit Court of Appeals, which upheld the constitutionality of Connecticut’s public financing system for state elections.

“This is a victory for the state of Connecticut and public financing reform across the country,” said Bob Edgar, President of Common Cause.

“The Second Circuit Court of Appeals carefully examined the record and reached the conclusion that the Citizens’ Election Program’s qualifying criteria do not present unreasonable barriers to minor-party success, and in fact have permitted a significant number of non-major-party candidates to qualify for funding,” said Karen Hobert Flynn, vice president of state operations for Common Cause. “We’re pleased the Supreme Court has allowed that to stand.”Connecticut’s landmark public financing program for statewide and general assembly races remains a constitutional model for combating corruption,” added Hobert Flynn.

“Today’s decision confirms that public financing of elections remains a viable and constitutional means for financing elections in this country and for combating government corruption, despite yesterday’s decision by the Supreme Court striking the “trigger funds” provisions in the Arizona public financing law,” said Fred Wertheimer, President of Democracy 21 and one of the leaders of the Intervenors’ legal team.

The intervening defendants in the Green Party case are represented in the Supreme Court by Democracy 21’s “Project Supreme Court” legal team, led in this case by former U.S. Solicitor General Seth Waxman and Randy Moss of WilmerHale and Scott Nelson of the Public Citizen Litigation Group. Other “Project Supreme Court” lawyers in the case include attorneys from WilmerHale, Democracy 21 and the Campaign Legal Center. Also representing the intervener defendants in the case in the Supreme Court are lawyers from the Brennan Center for Justice and Hogan Lovells. In the lower court proceedings for the Green Party case, the intervener defendants were represented primarily by Ira F. Feinberg, a partner at Hogan Lovells, and Monica Youn a lawyer with the Brennan Center.

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