Justice Clarence Thomas’s influence was on full display in the Supreme Court’s landmark decision to strike down a crucial campaign finance restriction.
And it’s just one in a string of cases in which Thomas could be dragging the court toward his way of thinking.
Chief Justice John Roberts penned Wednesday’s plurality decision, which eliminates the limit on the total dollar amount an individual may give to political candidates and committees.
But Thomas, seen by many as the court’s most conservative justice, wrote a concurring opinion that both represented the decisive vote in the 5-4 decision and beckoned the justices to go further.
Thomas used his opinion to argue in favor of scrapping individual contribution caps altogether by reversing the court’s post-Watergate decision known as Buckley v. Valeo, which held that limits are justified as a measure to stave off corruption.
“This case represents yet another missed opportunity to right the course of our campaign finance jurisprudence by restoring a standard that is faithful to the First Amendment,” Thomas wrote. “Until we undertake that reexamination, we remain in a ‘halfway house’ of our own design.”