Paul Mirengoff reports on Power Line about signs of hope that a key section of the McCain-Feingold law — the blackout provision — could be in trouble at the Supreme Court:
“Today,…the Supreme Court heard oral argument in the Wisconsin Right to Life case, which arises from the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (the McCain-Feingold bill). At issue was the part of McCain-Feingold that “blacks out” advertisements made by anyone other than the campaigns in the final six weeks of the election season. Scott linked to [an] account of the argument by Allison Hayward.
“Allison is a leading critic of McCain-Feingold. An even more prominent critic, Senator Mitch McConnell, also attended the argument and also liked what he heard. His optimism was apparent in a report he sent to various bloggers. Like Hayward, McConnell seemed particularly pleased with the questioning by Justice Alito. He noted:
“Justice Alito recognized the massive breadth of this provision during a presidential election year – namely a rolling ban [throughout] the year. Grassroots groups could never run a nationwide ad on CNN or ESPN as it would violate the law in at least one state.This may prove to be another case in which replacing Justice O’Connor with Alito makes all the difference.
“The Scotus blog [presented by Paul’s law firm] takes no official position on the merits. But the report filed by Lyle Denniston also concludes that the “blackout” provision appears to be in serious trouble. According to Denniston, ‘it seemed apparent at the end of an hour of argument that the ‘blackout’ period for “electioneering” ads on radio and TV — if it survived at all — would have far less effect in restraining such ads.’ ”