Wednesday, October 20, 2010


More documents, discussion re Yamada v. Kuramoto

by Larry Geller

Hawaii’s campaign spending laws will no doubt be challenged further in response to Citizens United, the Supreme Court case that equated corporate spending with free speech. The first round in federal court earlier this month (Yamada Et Al. v. Kuramoto Et Al) set the stage for whatever new legal challenges will follow.

On October 7 I posted Judge does not strike down Hawaii law but grants partial injunction in campaign spending limit challenge. As it turned out, the case did not propose to overturn Hawaii’s law.

Judge Seabright had before him a preliminary injunction, but it was limited to whether the plaintiffs could make their proposed contribution, which was in excess of limits set by Hawaii law.

Attorney Randy Elf was very kind in explaining to me what his case did and did not set out to do. In particular, he clarified that it did not present a facial challenge to the contribution limit in Hawaii’s law. Now, what does that mean?

Elf explained that a law is facially unconstitutional in First Amendment cases when it is “substantially overbroad.”

Or, as the Supreme Court has more recently put it, and as we put it in our preliminary-injunction brief, law is facially unconstitutional when

it reaches “a substantial amount of protected speech … not only in an absolute sense, but also relative to the [law’s] plainly legitimate sweep.” 

I’ve omitted the citations he supplied.

So that could be the basis of a future challenge, but Elf emphasized that the preliminary injunction requested (and granted) was an as-applied to challenge to the contribution limit. That is, the judge ruled that the plaintiffs could go ahead and make their $2,500 contributions as they intended.

The court’s order is posted for on-line reading at the above link. Some documents that readers may be interested in having are available for download, again with thanks to attorney Randy Elf.

The court’s most recent order is Doc 85Doc 74 is the defendants’ motion and Doc 82 is the plaintiff’s response.

Prior articles:

Judge does not strike down Hawaii law but grants partial injunction in campaign spending limit challenge (10/7/2010)

Judge Seabright will issue partial injunction Thursday removing local firm’s campaign contribution limit (10/1/2010) ]


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