by Steven Ertelt
August 22, 2007
Denver, CO (LifeNews.com) — A Colorado pro-life group emerged victorious on Wednesday in a case involving a constitutional amendment state voters approved in 2002 that would have placed stringent limits on its ability to be involved in elections. A federal appeals court ruled that the limits placed under Amendment 27 are unconstitutional.
Colorado Right to Life took the constitutional amendment to court saying that its provisions that prohibit corporations from using their own money to make political contributions or pay for election materials were invalid.
The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed, according to an AP report, and ruled that the pro-life group should not be subject to the amendment’s provisions.
That’s because the organization isn’t a business corporation set up with shareholders and received less than 1 percent of its annual income from business contributions.
The three judge panel ruled unanimously and also said the amendment didn’t apply to Colorado Right to Life because its purpose is not to elect candidates, but to promote the pro-life perspective.
The decision is important to pro-life groups in the United States because most are set up as nonprofit corporations and many groups use their funds to pay for election materials that don’t endorse candidates. Such materials would include information comparing the views of various candidates.
Most pro-life groups have separate political action committees that work to elect or defeat candidates and those groups are subject to more restrictions.
The appeals court ruling is another in a long line of victories for pro-life groups, with many pro-life organizations working with leading pro-life attorney Jim Bopp to challenge various campaign finance rules and limits.
The most recent victory involved a challenge Wisconsin Right to Life filed against the McCain-Feingold law and its prohibition on running ads that mention a candidate just weeks before a primary or general election.
The case is Colorado Right to Life Committee v. Coffman.