How did the Supreme Court handle the case?

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

Because the panel did not rule until May, the Supreme Court did not take up the issue until after its summer recess. Twelve separate appeals concerning the BCRA reached the Court, but they were consolidated and became known generally under the name McConnell v. Federal Election Commission. The justices, who traditionally do not begin their term until the first Monday in October, convened in early September to consider the case in a rare four-hour session. Some of the top First Amendment and constitutional lawyers in the nation argued in the cases — including Floyd Abrams, Kenneth Starr, Seth Waxman and the current solicitor general Theodore Olson. Following the arguments, the general view was that the justices would try to issue their ruling before the end of 2003, so that the uncertainty over the law would end before the 2004 presidential campaign got underway.