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U.S. high court takes on campaign spending

Sept. 28, 2005 at 8:57 AM

WASHINGTON, Sept. 28 (UPI) -- A challenge to a strict campaign-finance law in Vermont is among cases the U.S. Supreme Court has accepted for argument this term.

The Vermont law, which limits contributions to $400 to candidates for statewide office over a two-year election cycle, is seen as a challenge to the Supreme Court's 1976 Buckley vs. Valeo decision that effectively equated giving money to political candidates to freedom of speech.

A U.S. Court of Appeals panel said last year Vermont's law was correct in assuming the Valeo decision was not a ban on state-imposed campaign spending limits.

The Vermont case was among 11 accepted by the court Tuesday. Arguments in those cases are expected early next year.

The court will be under new leadership when its term begins Oct. 3. Judge John Roberts is expected to be confirmed this week by the Senate as the nation's 17th chief justice of the United States, replacing William Rehnquist, who died last month. If Roberts is not confirmed, however, John Paul Stevens would act as chief justice as the most senior justice on the court.

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