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Election lawyers and politicos waited for months to hear what Judges Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, Richard Leon, and Karen LeCraft Henderson thought about the Bipartisan Campaign Finance Reform Act. When the time finally came on May 2, the reaction was swift and far from sure. ON OVERALL DECISION James Bopp Jr., Terre Haute, Ind.’s Bopp, Colson & Bostrom (represented plaintiff Sen. Mitch McConnell) I think they upheld more provisions than I expected them to and . . . didn’t show the sensitivity to [First Amendment] values that I was expecting. Robin Conrad, senior vice president, National Chamber Litigation Center This is a major defeat for the sponsors of this legislation, and a big win for the First Amendment. Roger Witten, Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering (represented Congressional Sponsors of Campaign Finance Law) The decision recognizes that Congress has the power to address the corrupting influence of big money on our political system. . . . Portions of the court’s decision, however, ignore the judgment of a bipartisan majority of Congress regarding the extent of the problem with large contributions. Michael Baroody, executive vice president, National Association of Manufacturers We’re confident that the Supreme Court will reach the same overall conclusion: that free speech includes participation in the political process, and that the federal government should not be in the business of parceling it out. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee The authors of the legislation attempted to address a troubling and unfortunate public perception about our political system. However, the ruling today makes it clear that we also must respect the freedom of speech granted to every American by our Constitution. ON JUDGE RICHARD LEON Randolph Moss, Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering (represented Congressional Sponsors of Campaign Finance Law) It appears Judge Leon was the pivotal vote on many of the critical issues. While not surprising, it obviously was a weighty responsibility for any judge, particularly one who recently took to the bench. Cleta Mitchell, Foley & Lardner (represented National Rifle Association Political Victory Fund) You can’t have sat in the oral arguments for two days listening to Judge Leon and think that the opinion that bears his name is the same person. It’s hard to fathom. He excoriated the government and the defendants throughout the argument. But in large part, the parts of the statute remain standing because he was the swing vote and voted very differently than he was leaning in oral argument. So his reasoning is startling. ON SPLINTERED OPINION Charles Cooper, Cooper & Kirk (represented National Rifle Association) I am completely mystified. There are cases that are equally complex with the numbers of parties and the number of issues and the extensive nature of the factual record. Make no mistake: This is a complicated case. But that doesn’t explain why you have four separate decisions coming out of three judges, including four different findings of fact. I don’t think that there’s any precedent of that in any court in any case. ON WHAT LIES AHEAD Fred Wertheimer, president of reform supporter Democracy 21 We are pleased that [last week's] split decision by a three-judge district court panel upheld major portions of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act, including major portions of the soft money ban. We are confident that the full soft money ban will be upheld by the Supreme Court. Cleta Mitchell I think that it’s got to be surprising when the trial court issues alternative statements of facts. I don’t know how the Supreme Court can rely on statement of facts that are contradictory. How does that record work? E. Joshua Rosenkranz, former president, Brennan Center for Justice The pundits were saying that based upon oral arguments, McCain-Feingold was dead and severed through and through. What the court did was a much more careful and nuanced, section-by-section analysis. The bottom line is, it’s not over until the Supreme Court speaks. Jan Baran, Wiley Rein & Fielding (represented California Republican Party and others) It’s a good day for all of the lawyers. Each of them will have something to appeal to the Supreme Court.

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