Tag Archives: Campaign Finance Reform
Exterior Supreme Court

Supreme Court Happenings

In light of recent Supreme Court decisions, and more opinions expected to come down this morning, it feels like an appropriate time to recap what the nine justices have been working and opining on.

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court handed down a decision in Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, upholding a constitutional ban on affirmative action in public university admissions in Michigan 6-2 (Justice Kagan recused herself). Interestingly, Justice Stephen Breyer concurred with the conservative wing of the Court. The New York Times notes that “justices in the majority, with varying degrees of vehemence, said that policies affecting minorities that do not involve intentional discrimination should ordinarily be decided at the ballot box rather than in the courtroom.”

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Hand putting stack of dollar bills into ballot box

Citizens United Revisited: McCutcheon V. FEC

Early last week, the Supreme Court announced its decision in McCutcheon v. FEC, the most recent court challenge to the campaign finance system in the United States. In the decision, the Court struck down a ban on aggregate limits on donations directly to candidates’ campaigns and political parties. An aggregate limit is (or was) a limit on the overall amount any one person could give to candidates and parties in any two year campaign cycle. While anyone was and still is limited to $2,500 for one particular candidate, they can now give that amount to as many candidates as they like, while previously it was limited to 18 different candidates. Read more…

Exterior Supreme Court

Supreme Court Roundup: What Have the Nine Been Up to?

We’re nearly halfway through a busy Supreme Court term in which many important cases ranging from affirmative action to recess appointments and from campaign finance to buffer zones at abortion clinics have been heard by the nine justices. More than ever, this term affirms the importance of the Supreme Court in adjudicating the most important social, political (and of course, constitutional!) issues of today.

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Goodbye from the LAs

Today the five Eisendrath Legislative Assistants say goodbye after an amazing year representing the Union for Reform Judaism in Washington, D.C. We have worked on nearly 70 different legislative issues, represented the RAC in countless coalitions, seen some bills signed into law and others tragically defeated, said goodbye to one Congress and welcomed the next. All in all it has been an incredible year.

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NY Legislative Session Fizzles to a Close

It was an anti-climactic ending for this session in the New York State legislature; the Assembly passed an omnibus Women’s Equality Act (which, among other items, would have protected women’s access to reproductive health care services) but the Senate decided to take up the agenda as individual bills. New Yorkers were highly anticipating debate on fair elections reform based partly on a successful New York City model of public financing for campaigns, but that too was left on the cutting room floor.

So, which bills garnered a vote? What high profile issues got precious debate time? What did the legislature not take up or refuse to consider? Here is Reform Jewish Voice of New York State’s legislative session roundup: Read more…

RAC Summer Interns

Leveling the Playing Field: Campaign Finance Reform and Exodus 30

In Exodus 30, we read that the Israelites must take a census by contributing one half shekel to the Mishkan, or tabernacle.   The text tells us explicitly that the rich are not to contribute more, nor the poor less (30:15), for the entire community has an equal stake in supporting and maintaining this national institution (the Mishkan).  This census provides us with an important insight into what our Jewish texts tell us about the construction of a political system.  The text did not accept that a single voice would be excluded, nor did it accept that one’s voice would have more power, for the dignity of every member of the community had to be upheld.

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My Annual Trip to Albany

A few weeks ago, I made my annual trip to Albany as part of Reform Jewish Voice for New York State’s Lobby Day.  It may seem unlikely that one voice can make a difference, but I know it can.  After visiting Albany for several years in a row, I now know both my elected officials and their staff members – and vice versa.  It feels very gratifying to know that several people in the State Capitol know who I am and also know that I represent thousands of Reform Jews in New York.

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An Empowering Day in Albany

Earlier this month, RJV hosted its annual Advocacy Day in Albany and with our voices raised as one, we spoke on behalf of New York State’s vibrant Reform Jewish community urging state legislators to support the Women’s Equality Agenda and implement fair election reform.  Our actions were noted by legislators, staff and the local press:

Just one day after RJV was meeting with legislators about the need for fair election reform, the state Assembly passed a public financing bill by a wide margin (88-50). The measure would implement a 6-to-1 public fund matching program similar to the one in New York City. The bill now proceeds to the Senate. If you are a New York resident, you can see how your member of the Assembly voted here and take a moment to send an email to your Senator urging them to support public funding of elections now!

All New Yorkers can also continue to take action on the Women’s Equality Agenda and encourage legislators to support the 10-point plan, especially the provisions intended to safeguard women’s reproductive health decisions and ensure pay equality.

Take a look at some of our pictures from the day and check out our new website here to learn more about RJV’s work on the Women’s Equality Agenda and fair elections.

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