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The History and Theory of Buckley v. Valeo, 6 Journal of Law and Policy 93 (1997)


Buckley v. Valeo was brought by a group of plaintiffs of
divergent ideological and political viewpoints, including thenSenator
James Buckley, then-former Senator Eugene McCarthy, the
Conservative Party of New York, the New York Civil Liberties
Union, and others. They were represented pro bono by lawyers of
similarly divergent political viewpoints, although they generally
shared a libertarian ideological stance. These lawyers included
Dean Joel Gora of this school as well as your humble speaker.
The plaintiffs disliked the Federal Election Campaigns Act4 on the
merits, and they were profoundly convinced that its principal
provisions violated the First Amendment. Senators Buckley and
McCarthy both viewed themselves as candidates who had successfully
challenged the existing political order-albeit from different
directions-and believed that campaign finance reform would limit
the ability of similar candidates in the future to challenge status
quo politics.

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