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Austin v. Michigan Chamber of Commerce

Case Background, Dissenting Opinions


Richard H. Austin, Michigan Secretary of State, and Frank J. Kelley, Michigan Attorney General


Michigan Chamber of Commerce

Appellants' Claim

That Section 54(1) of the Michigan Campaign Finance Act did not violate the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution.

Chief Lawyer for Appellants

Louis J. Caruso, Solicitor General of Michigan

Chief Lawyer for Appellee

Richard D. McLellan

Justices for the Court

Harry A. Blackmun, William J. Brennan, Jr., Thurgood Marshall (writing for the Court), William H. Rehnquist, John Paul Stevens, Byron R. White

Justices Dissenting

Anthony M. Kennedy, Sandra Day O'Connor, Antonin Scalia


Washington, D.C.

Date of Decision

27 March 1990


The U.S. Supreme Court found Section 54(1) of the Michigan Campaign Finance Act not to be in violation of the First Amendment of the Constitution.


The case of Austin v. Michigan Chamber of Commerce dealt with many important issues regarding state laws to control and regulate political contributions and expenditures from corporations.

Further Readings

  • Biskupic, Joan and Elder Witt, eds. Congressional Quarterly's Guide to the U.S. Supreme Court, 3rd ed. Washington, DC: Congressional Quarterly, Inc., 1996.
  • Burke, Thomas F., "The Concept of Corruption in Campaign Finance Law." Constitutional Commentary, spring 1997, pp. 127.
  • Levit, Kenneth J. "Campaign Finance Reform." Yale Law Journal, Nov. 1993, pp. 469.

Additional topics

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