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Green Party of Connecticut v. Lenge

In 2005, Connecticut’s voters passed a comprehensive campaign finance reform measure, which included among other provisions a system of public financing for elections to state offices. Many of the provisions of the law were challenged by a variety of groups. The public-financing provisions were challenged by the Green Party and others on the ground that they allegedly reflected favoritism toward the major parties and burdened the rights of minor parties. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ultimately upheld the public-finance provisions, finding that under the applicable level of scrutiny, the criteria for public funding serve the public interest in not expending public funds on hopeless candidacies while given non-major parties a fair opportunity to receive funding.

The challengers filed a petition for certiorari contending that the public-finance provisions violated their First Amendment and equal protection rights. As cocounsel for individuals and groups, including Common Cause, that had sponsored the campaign finance reform law and intervened in the lower courts to defend it, Public Citizen co-authored a brief in opposition explaining that the challenge to the Second Circuit’s application of settled legal principles did not merit review by the Court.

The Supreme Court denied certiorari on June 28, 2011.