As the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments over raising the caps on some contributions to political campaigns, some citizen activists in New Jersey gathered in Trenton to demonstrate their objections.
Raising the limits on campaign donations would give too much political influence to wealthy donors, said Susannah Newman, the New Jersey coordinator of the Overturn Citizens United Coalition.
“I’m just furious and I represent so many citizens who are furious with what has happened in the ways of the wealthy having the voice and our singular voices being drowned out,” Newman said. “We just can’t be heard.”
Lifting the contribution limits would encourage big out-of-state donors to give even more to influence races that should be decided by New Jersey residents, according to the New Jersey Public Interest Research Group.
The citizen advocates are urging state lawmakers to create programs that would provide tax credits for small campaign contributions.
Meanwhile, in Washington, D.C., the court’s conservative justices voiced repeated skepticism Tuesday about overall limits on what individuals may give in a two-year federal election cycle.
Chief Justice John Roberts said that telling an individual he can give the legal maximum of $2,600 per election to only a handful of candidates for Congress “seems to me a very direct restriction” on First Amendment rights.
The court did not appear willing to call into question all contribution limits in its first major campaign finance case since 2010.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.