Reform Jewish Leader Disappointed in Supreme Court Decision on Campaign Finance Reform
Pelavin: We cannot ignore the lessons of the skyrocketing cost of recent elections and while we share the Court’s commitment to protecting free expression, it is clear that our electoral system is broken.
Contact: Emily Kane
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WASHINGTON, DC, June, 26, 2006 – In response to today’s Supreme Court decision in Randall v. Sorrell, Mark. J. Pelavin, Associate Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement:
Today’s disappointing ruling by the Supreme Court in Randall v. Sorrell, overturning Vermont’s effort to address the ever growing problem of campaign finance abuses, is a step backward in the effort to restore the integrity of our elections process. We cannot ignore the lessons of the skyrocketing cost of recent elections and while we share the Court’s commitment to protecting free expression, it is clear that our electoral system is broken. Chief among the ills from which our elections ail, is the undue influence of the wealthy at the expense of our democratic process. As an amicus in this case, the Union for Reform Judaism believes strongly that the presence or absence of money should never dictate the volume at which a voter’s voice is heard.
Too often in campaigns that grow ever more costly, the money needed to be competitive results in disproportionate influence for the wealthy campaign donor. As Jews, we are taught in Deuteronomy 16, “You shall not judge unfairly: you shall know no partiality; you shall not take gifts, for gifts blind the eyes of the discerning and upset the pleas of the just.” This ancient lesson resonates today, as we see repeated examples of the intentional or unintentional corrupting influence of money on our public policy process. Jewish tradition stresses a need for public accountability in a system of governance and for these reasons, we believe strongly in the need for additional reform of our campaign finance system.
The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism is the
Washington office of the Union for Reform Judaism, whose more than 900 congregations across North America encompass 1.5 million Reform Jews, and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, whose membership includes more than 1800 Reform rabbis.