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Supreme Court to rule on Arizona campaign finance scheme

The US Supreme Court [official website; JURIST news archive] on Monday granted certiorari [order list, PDF] in four cases, consolidating two cases concerning campaign financing [JURIST news archive]. In Arizona Free Enterprise Club's Freedom Club PAC v. Bennett [docket; cert. petition, PDF], the court will determine whether the First Amendment [text] forbids states from providing additional government subsidies to publicly financed candidates that are triggered by independent expenditure groups' speech against such candidates or by the candidates' privately financed opponents. In McComish v. Bennett [docket; cert. petition, PDF], the court will determine whether Arizona's matching funds, providing publicly financed candidates with additional subsidies triggered by independent expenditures or by raising and spending money of privately financed candidates, and the law regulating campaign financing to equalize resources among candidates and interest groups, rather than advancing a compelling state interest in the least restrictive manner violate the First and Fourteenth Amendments [text]. The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit concluded [opinion, PDF] that the Arizona public financing scheme and matching funds provision did not offend the First Amendment. The appeals court declined to reach a conclusion as to the equal protection claim and reversed and remanded the case to the US District Court for the District of Arizona.

In CSX Transportation v. McBride [docket; cert. petition, PDF], the court will determine whether recovery under the Federal Employers' Liability Act (FELA) [45 USC §§ 51-60 text] requires proof of proximate causation. The US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit declined to hold [opinion, PDF] that common-law proximate causation is required to establish liability under FELA.

In Microsoft v. i4i Limited Partnership [docket; cert. petition, PDF], the court will determine whether the Patent Act [35 USC §§ 1-376 text] requires the invalidity defense to be proven by clear and convincing evidence. The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit followed its precedent and held [opinion, PDF] that a challenger to a patent claim must prove invalidity by clear and convincing evidence. Additionally, the appeals court held that the US District Court for the Eastern District of Texas did not abuse its discretion in admitting evidence as to damages or in granting enhanced damages.

The court denied certiorari in Harper v. Maverick Recording Company, involving damages for illegally downloaded music and Gameche v. California [dockets]. The court took no action in Wal-Mart v. Dukes [docket, cert. petition, PDF] on Monday.

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