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High Court Won’t Block|Maine Election Laws

(CN) - The Supreme Court late Friday refused to block three Maine campaign-finance laws, citing the "difficulties in fashioning relief so close to the election."

Justice Anthony Kennedy rejected a second Supreme Court bid for an emergency injunction, saying the laws' challengers failed to meet the heavy burden for an order blocking a "presumptively constitutional state legislative act."

Respect Maine PAC, Rep. Andrew Cushing III and donor Harold Clough challenged the constitutionality of state election laws that set disclosure requirements, capped individual contributions to gubernatorial candidates at $750 and provided matching funds for some candidates under the Maine Clean Election Act.

After losing their bid for relief in the 1st Circuit, the challengers asked Justice Stephen Breyer to issue an emergency injunction. When Breyer turned them down, they refiled their plea with Justice Kennedy.

But Kennedy on Friday evening also refused to enjoin Maine's campaign-finance laws before the Nov. 2 elections.

Justices Antonin Scalia and Samuel Alito would have barred enforcement of the matching-funds provision, which is similar to an Arizona law the high court blocked earlier.

Kennedy noted that opponents of the Arizona law had appealed a 9th Circuit decision, while the Maine challengers wanted an emergency injunction.

"Such a request 'demands a significantly higher justification' than a request for a stay because, unlike a stay, an injunction 'does not simply suspend judicial intervention that has been withheld by lower courts," Kennedy wrote, quoting a 1986 Supreme Court decision.

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