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Buckley v. Valeo, 424 US 1 (1976)

In a Per curiam decision regarding recent legislative amendments to the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971, the Court voted 7-1 in favor of Buckley, and upheld part of the legislation as constitutional, while striking down another part as unconstitutional.

The amendments sought to reduce corruption in elections by placing a $1,000 limit on individual campaign contributions, forcing disclosure of political contributions above a certain threshold, and instituting a public finance option candidates could choose in place of accepting private contributions. The Court held that these restrictions were constitutional and served a valid government interest.

Unlike contributions, however, the Court ruled limiting campaign expenditures did nothing to reduce the potential for corruption, and therefore did not serve a significant government interest.

In an unrelated part of the legislation, the Supreme Court held that a complex amendment to the process for appointing members to the Federal Election Commission represented an unconstitutional breach of separation of powers, because the method employed allowed the House and Senate to appoint two members each, in violation of Article II of the Constitution (which deals with Presidential power). The right to appoint officers to service of the United States is reserved exclusively for the President, and Congress could confer no powers on the members it selected.

Chief Justice Warren Burger proffered the only no vote; Justice Stevens did not participate on the case; some of the other justices expressed some ambivalence by issuing separate opinions concurring in part and dissenting in part, with little agreement over which parts were problematic.

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Q: What was the US Supreme Court case Buckley v. Valeo?
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The 1976 Supreme Court decision in the case of Buckley v. Valeo stated that candidates for public office?

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