Thursday, November 14, 2013

Nixon v. Shrink Missouri Government PAC case brief

Nixon v. Shrink Missouri Government PAC case brief summary
528 U.S. 377 (2000)

Petitioners sought review of a decision of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eight Circuit that held that state limits on contributions to state political candidates were unconstitutional under the First Amendment.

The Court reversed a decision that held Mo. Rev. Stat. § 130.032.1(1) violated the First Amendment by limiting campaign contributions to state political candidates. The State defended the statute on the grounds that the statute prevented corruption and the appearance of it that flows from munificent campaign contributions.


  • The Court found these interests to be legitimate. 
  • The state statute was not void, however, for want of evidence. 
  • The evidence before the court of appeals described public revelations by the parties in question more than sufficient to show why voters would tend to identify a big donation with a corrupt purpose. 
  • There was no indication that the contribution limitations imposed by the law would have had any dramatically adverse effect on the funding of campaigns and political associations, and thus no showing that the limitations prevented the candidates and political committees from amassing the resources necessary for effective advocacy.
The Court reversed the decision that state law limiting campaign contributions for state political candidates violated the First Amendment. The State presented sufficient evidence in support of its legitimate interests in enacting the statute.

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