Supreme Court Affirms Ban on Foreigners’ Election Contributions

Jan 9, 2012 5:28pm

In a one-sentence order today, the Supreme Court affirmed a lower court decision upholding the constitutionality of a ban on contributions and expenditures by foreign nationals in U.S. elections.

Critics of the landmark Citizen’s United case, which held that corporations couldn’t be barred from spending in campaigns, were concerned that the Court might extend that ruling to cover foreigners lawfully living and working in the United States.

A three-judge panel of federal judges in Washington, D.C., held in August that the ban on contributions and expenditures by foreign nationals serves a compelling interest in protecting the political process.

Fred Wertheimer, President of Democracy 21, a public interest group opposed to Citizen’s United, issued a statement praising the Court’s action.

“Today’s decision shows that the Court’s determination in the Citizens United case to use the First Amendment to open our elections to a wave of corrupting corporate wealth at least stops at the nation’s shores, and that U.S. elections won’t be invaded by foreign wealth as well,” he said.

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