Good morning from the Court's press room.
Good morning, everyone! Welcome to our live blog, sponsored by Bloomberg Law. We are expecting one or more opinions in argued cases today, beginning at 10 am. As always, we will report on the decisions as they are released and relayed to us by our reporter extraordinaire at the Court, Lyle Denniston.
As is almost always the case, we don't know in advance which decisions we will get. As we have noted in many earlier live blogs, the Court has not yet issued decisions in several high-profile cases from the October and November sittings, including McCutcheon v. FEC (campaign finance), Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action (affirmative action), Town of Greece v. Galloway (legislative prayer), and Bond v. United States (treaty power).
This will be a two-box opinion, meaning a couple of longer opinions, or perhaps as many as 3 or 4 shorter ones.
We have the first opinion. It is Northwest v. Ginsberg. Justice Alito has the opinion for a unanimous Court. The Ninth Circuit is reversed. The Americans with Disabilities Act preempts a state law claim for breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing if it seeks to enlarge a contractual obligation that the parties voluntarily adopt.
In this case, the claim does seek to enlarge the contractual agreement with the airline; therefore it is preempted. The Act is the Airline Deregulation Act; no disabilities involved here.
McCutcheon has arrived, per Roberts.
The opinion is divided several ways, apparently.
The opinion for the Court is supported by Scalia, Kennedy, and Alito only.
The aggregate limits are invalid under the First Amendment, according to those four.
Justice Thomas has a separate opinion, agreeing that limits are invalid, but he would overrule Buckley v. Valeo.
The dissent is by Breyer, joined by Ginsburg, Sotomayor, and Kagan.
The Court rules in the Chief's opinion that the aggregate limits do not further the permissible government interest in preventing quid pro quo corruption or the appearance of such corruption.
And that is the only justification for regulation.
With Thomas's vote in this case, it is clear that the aggregate limits fall.
The Chief Justice's opinion notes that the case does not involve any challenge to the base limits on contributions; it only involves a challenge to the two-year ceilings on contributions.
That's all we have for today. Thanks for joining us. Lyle will have additional coverage and analysis of the decision, and I will have a write-up in Plain English. We will also have commentary from a variety of campaign finance experts later today and tomorrow. Stay tuned!