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May 31, 2009

The Inaugural Post

The information that one will find on this blog regards the ballot initiative process. In particular, it will detail my journey and thoughts regarding the process as I conduct research on various facets of the subject area.

The United States Supreme Court is hesitant when considering claims regarding the ballot initiative process. This hesitancy invariably reflects the tension between individual and group’s First Amendment rights and the government’s interest in regulating the ballot initiative processĀ  in order to further and strengthen democracy. Although the Court seems to allow for regulation in the form of disclosure, the Court strikes down any other form of regulation within the ballot initiative context. Beyond disclosure, other forms of regulation fail to surmount the burdens that must be met before they are justifiable in the eyes of the Court. Nevertheless, as the Court continues to disallow regulation on the part of state and national government, it fails to provide any indicia for those attempting to regulate the process. Put another way, it is quite difficult for anyone to ascertain what forms of regulation and, further, in what manner would be allowable according to the Court. The lack of clarity is further perpetuatedĀ  by a multitude of judicial opinions rendered on the topic which, of course, are not necessarily harmonious with one another.

The utter confusion on the various decisions opined by the Courts make it clear that one must review recent opinions. Research literature provides much insight and guidance but, nonetheless, falls short when attempting to account for the most recent opinions. Right now, I am attempting to understand the differences, however nuanced, between recent opinions.

My initial inclination based off of reviewing the most recent case, Wisconsin Right to Life v. FEC, is that the changes on the Supreme Court certainly may affect, if not have already altered, the future of campaign finance regulation. This alteration is in the form of further minimizing acceptable forms of regulation of the ballot initiative context. In essence, this most recent opinion may upset the already indelicate balance struck by case law with respect to the ballot initiative process. This is worrisome, in the sense, that research literature that offers guidance may now be outdated.