In the 1930 decision of State ex rel. LaFollette v. Kohler, the Wisconsin Supreme Court rejected the earliest free speech challenge to a candidate expenditure limitation. The court held that the state's interest in protecting the integrity of its electoral process outweighed the individual's right of communicating with the public without governmental infringement." The court's identification of the communicative effect of campaign spending anticipated the United States Supreme Court's ruling in Stromberg v. California" that communicative conduct was entitled to protection from government infringement. The Court, however, hampered the effectuation of this protection by failing to define conclusively the point at which an act is sufficiently intertwined with communication to bring it within the reach of Stromberg; the first amendment would shield campaign spending only if the conduct were deemed commuicative under either of two lines of authority.
Robert L. Teicher
The instant decision is significant in that it represents the first judicial limitation of presidential power to conduct warrantless electronic surveillance in any situation involving foreign security. The court, by balancing the government's need to gather information for foreign intelligence purposes against the individual's constitutional freedom from unreasonable government intrusion, correctly defined presidential powers as subject to the fourth amendment. Without such a limitation, the decision to institute foreign security surveillance of a domestic organization would depend entirely upon presidential prerogative, as exercised by the Attorney General.
Timothy Collins Maguire
Robert L. Teicher and Timothy C. Maguire,
28 Vanderbilt Law Review
Available at: https://scholarship.law.vanderbilt.edu/vlr/vol28/iss5/5