Supreme Court slate campaign-reform argument

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The Supreme Court will hear oral argument on campaign-finance reform Monday,
Sept. 8.

The high court was widely expected to take up the case given the First
Amendment issues raise by the reform law and the large number of political
parties, interest groups and elected officials involved in the case.

As one indication of the import: four hours of oral argument has been
allotted; the norm is one hour.

Plaintiffs' briefs are due Tuesday, July 8, defendants' briefs Aug. 5, 2003
and final pleadings Aug. 21.

Although the federal appeals court in Washington struck down much of the law
on May 2, the 2002 restrictions on political contributions and election ads
remain in effect pending the Supreme Court's decision.

The law restricts election-season political ads and bans large corporate and
union contributions to political parties.

The aim of the law, signed by President Bush in March 2002, was to eliminate
what supporters see as the corrupting influence of corporate and interest-group
money into the political process.

Opponents include the National Association of Broadcasters and ranges from
the national Democratic and Republican parties to interest groups of all
stripes, such as the National Rifle Association and the American Civil Liberties
Union.

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