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Buckley v. Valeo

Decision, Significance, Court Distinguished Campaign Contributions From Expenditures


James L. Buckley


Francis R. Valeo, Secretary of the U.S. Senate

Appellant's Claim

That various provisions of amendments to the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 (FECA), regulating campaign contributions, violate the separation of powers doctrine, the First Amendment, and the Fifth Amendment.

Chief Lawyers for Appellant

Ralph K. Winter, Jr., Joel M. Gora, Brice M. Claggett

Chief Lawyers for Appellee

Daniel M. Friedman, Archibald Cox, Lloyd M. Cutler, Ralph S. Spritzer

Justices for the Court

Harry A. Blackmun, William J. Brennan, Jr., Warren E. Burger, Thurgood Marshall, Lewis F. Powell, Jr., William H. Rehnquist, Potter Stewart (unsigned)

Justices Dissenting

None (John Paul Stevens did not participate)


Washington, D.C.

Date of Decision

30 January 1976

Related Cases

  • First National Bank of Boston v. Bellotti, 435 U.S. 765 (1978).
  • Citizens Against Rent Conrol/Coalition for Fair Housing v. City of Berkeley, 454 U.S. 290 (1981).
  • Austin v. Michigan Chamber of Commerce, 494 U.S. 652 (1990).

Further Readings

  • Common Cause. Stalled from the Start: A Common Cause Study of the Federal Election Commission. Washington, DC: Common Cause, 1981.
  • Congressional Campaign Finance: History, Facts, and Controversy. Washington, DC: Congressional Quarterly, 1992.
  • Matasar, Ann B. Corporate PAC's and the Federal Campaign Financing Laws: Use or Abuse of Power? Westport, CT: Quorum Books, 1986.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1973 to 1980