ADDED: The campaign finance cases -- both called Randall v. Sorrell -- lack a majority opinion. The Court strikes down a Vermont law that imposes limits on what candidates may spend and what individuals, organizations, and political parties may contribute to candidates.
Justice Breyer writes the main opinion, joined only by the Chief and Alito:
Well-established precedent makes clear that the expenditure limits violate the First Amendment. Buckley v. Valeo, 424 U. S. 1, 54–58 (1976) (per curiam). The contribution limits are unconstitutional because in their specific details (involving low maximum levels and other restrictions) they fail to satisfy the First Amendment’s requirement of careful tailoring. That is to say, they impose burdens upon First Amendment interests that (when viewed in light of the statute’s legitimate objectives) are disproportionately severe.Overruling Buckley is considered and rejected, applying the standard test for whether there is "special justification" to overcome stare decisis:
Subsequent case law has not made Buckley a legal anomaly or otherwise undermined its basic legal principles. We cannot find in the respondents’ claims any demonstration that circumstances have changed so radically as to undermine Buckley’s critical factual assumptions. The respondents have not shown, for example, any dramatic increase in corruption or its appearance in Vermont; nor have they shown that expenditure limits are the only way to attack that problem. At the same time, Buckley has promoted considerable reliance. Congress and state legislatures have used Buckley when drafting campaign finance laws. And, as we have said, this Court has followed Buckley, upholding and applying its reasoning in later cases. Overruling Buckley now would dramatically undermine this reliance on our settled precedent.Alito writes separately to say the issue of overruling Buckley should not have been reached.
Kennedy provides the fourth vote for the outcome, writing:
Viewed within the legal universe we have ratified and helped create, the result the plurality reaches is correct; given my own skepticism regarding that system and its operation, however, it seems to me appropriate to concur only in the judgment.The fifth and sixth votes come from Thomas and Scalia. Thomas writes:
I continue to believe that Buckley provides insufficient protection to political speech, the core of the First Amendment. The illegitimacy of Buckley is further underscored by the continuing inability of the Court (and the plurality here) to apply Buckley in a coherent and principled fashion. As a result, stare decisis should pose no bar to overruling Buckley and replacing it with a standard faithful to the First Amendment. Accordingly, I concur only in the judgment.Justice Souter has a dissent that Stevens and Ginberg join, and Stevens also writes a separate dissent. According to Souter, the limits on contributions were constitutional because they were not "depressed to the level of political inaudibility." (An odd locution.) As for the expenditure limits, there should be "further enquiry into their fit with the problem of fundraising demands on candidates."