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CIVIO, A Civil Rights GameThe content on this page supplements CIVIO, a civil rights strategy card game designed by and available from Reach and Teach. Learn more>>

Buckley v Valeo (1976)

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Political contributions can be regulated but campaign expenditures can't

Decided: January 30, 1976
Issue(s): Elections
Increases: Expression, Association, 1st amendment, Engel v Vitale
Decreases: US v O'Brien

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This decision upholds a provision of the Federal Election Campaign Act regarding limits on campaign contributions from individuals and political action committees while striking down limits on overall expenditures as limiting free speech. The Court also uses this decision to clarify that freedom of speech and establishment of religion have very different historic basis in the Constitution and thus require different levels of evaluation and test. Quoting Engel v Vitale, the Court wrote: "Another purpose of the Establishment Clause rested upon an awareness of the historical fact that governmentally established religions and religious persecutions go hand in hand."

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