A Florida political activist is out of luck after the Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear his challenge to a state law that prohibited groups from donating small amounts of money without first forming a political action committee. The high court has struck down a number of campaign giving restrictions and regulations in recent years, but its decision not to hear the case from plaintiff Andrew Worley means that the 11th Circuit Court’s decision in the case will stand and the Florida restrictions will remain in place. “It is definitely a disappointment, but the fight is not over. There are other courts looking at these issues in similar cases and eventually the Supreme Court will have to take them up,” said Institute for Justice senior attorney Paul Sherman. Mr. Sherman, who was the lead attorney on the case, cited cases in Arizona and Mississippi, where the plaintiffs have won and the states have said they will appeal. He noted that the Supreme Court, which does not disclose typically why it is not hearing an individual case, may have decided not to hear Worley v. Florida Secretary of State while waiting for those other cases will play out.
Still, the high court’s refusal to hear the case came as a surprise to both sides, given the court’s history of campaign finance decisions including Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, the 2010 decision that overturned many restrictions on giving by corporations, unions and other big players. Mr. Sherman had told The Washington Times that he was “cautiously optimistic” that the case would be heard.
“The remarkable thing is that in Citizens United, the court held that these campaign finance laws are so burdensome that they amount to a ‘ban on speech’ even for corporations. The result,” he said, “is that in Florida, grass-roots groups have to comply with laws that are considered unconstitutionally burdensome for General Motors or the AFL-CIO. That’s an outrageous violation of the First Amendment and we are confident that eventually the Supreme Court will take up this issue,” Mr. Sherman said.