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in a 7-2 ruling, the justices vacated a 4th Circuit decision that affirmed the right of a nonprofit advocacy corporation to contribute directly in a federal election. Federal Election Commission v. Beaumont, No. 02-403. The court held that applying the direct-contribution prohibition to nonprofits is consistent with the First Amendment. “Any attack on the federal prohibition of direct corporate political contributions goes against the current of a century of congressional efforts to curb corporations’ ‘potentially deleterious influences on federal elections,’ which we have canvassed a number of times before,” it said. It added that in barring corporate earnings from turning into political war chests, the ban was, and is, intended to prevent corruption or the appearance of corruption. Souter’s opinion was joined by Rehnquist, Stevens, O’Connor, Ginsburg, Breyer and Kennedy. Thomas filed a dissenting opinion, in which Scalia joined.

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