Monday, August 2, 2010

Aug. 2: No Equal Justice For Political Candidates

By Sylvia Gurinsky

The 11th District Court of Appeals in Atlanta, not one of the better appeals courts in the country, got it wrong again with its ruling that - for now - halts Florida's public financing law for political campaigns.

It's laughable that Rick Scott, who has spent his own millions on television ads in his race for governor of Florida, would claim that Republican primary opponent Bill McCollum's request for matching funds would deny Scott's right to free speech.

The damage from the ruling is far more serious than any effect on the McCollum campaign. McCollum happens to be Florida's attorney general and therefore gets some press with his public decisions.

But what if Scott's primary opponent was a schoolteacher who didn't have much access to public platforms - and certainly didn't have millions to pay for advertising?

The average person who wants to run for office is the one truly hurt by the appeals court ruling. It basically denies those who aren't rich the right to run for political office, because those people can't secure public financing.

The appeals court joins five United States Supreme Court justices, with their ludicrous decision loosening the reigns on campaign fincancing last January, in saying elections should go to those who can afford to win one.

The United States court system is suppose to follow the tenet of equal justice under the law. That hasn't been evident with these decisions.

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