June 1, 2011
Last week a decision issued by a US District Court in Virginia made headlines across the country. The Court in U.S. v. Danielczyk struck down the 100-year old federal ban on corporate contributions. One of the more eyebrow raising facts of the decision was that it never discussed or even cited to FEC v. Beaumont, the US Supreme Court decision issued in 2003 which upheld the ban on corporate contributions. Indeed, nor did the Government cite to the case in its brief. Now comes word (via the Election Law Blog) that the Judge has issued an order asking the parties to submit briefs on whether the Court should reconsider its ruling in light of FEC v. Beaumont. The order also cites to Agostini v. Felton, 521 U.S. 203 (1997) which held that “if a precedent of [the Supreme Court] has direct application in a case, yet appears to rest on reasons rejected in some other line of decisions, the Court of Appeals should follow the case which directly controls, leaving to this Court the prerogative of overruling its own decisions.” Stay tuned.