Albuquerque v. Homans
Campaign Finance Reform
This case involved a challenge to mandatory spending limits for mayor and city council in the City of Albuquerque. Albuquerque enforced these limits for many years, notwithstanding the decision in Buckley v. Valeo, which struck down federal spending limits as unconstitutional. On April 27, 2004, the United States Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit held that Buckley represented a per se ban on mandatory spending limits. The City asked the Supreme Court to review this case.
In October 2004, the Brennan Center for Justice filed an amicus brief in support of the petition for Supreme Court review. The brief was filed on behalf of current and former justices and judges who are deeply concerned about the impact of special interest money on judicial elections. Amici explained the changed conditions in campaigns for the bench since Buckley was decided and identified the interests in real and perceived judicial independence and impartiality as potential justifications for spending limits in those campaigns. Amici asked the Court to take the case to clarify whether, under Buckley, such changed circumstances and unique state interests may be considered in support of expenditure ceilings. Unfortunately, in November 2004, the Court declined to review this case.