On June 4, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear Siegelman v United States, 11-955, even though over 100 former state Attorneys General had filed an amicus curiae brief, asking the Court to hear the case. See this story from yesterday’s Los Angeles Times that explains the case. Also, a group of distinguished election law professors had also filed a similar amicus curiae brief. Don Siegelman had appealed his bribery conviction. Many observers felt Siegelman was not guilty and that the Court needed to hear his case to set forth clearer standards about the precise connection between bribery and campaign contributions.
Siegelman is Alabama’s last Democratic Party governor. He was elected in 1998 and barely defeated in the general election of 2002. He had previously served as Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, and Secretary of State. Now that his U.S. Supreme Court appeal has been denied, he will go to prison.
The U.S. Supreme Court seems to have a pattern of refusing all election law cases, in years after which the Court had received a great deal of criticism for an election law decision. After the December 12, 2000 decision in Bush v Gore, the court then refused all new election cases for all of calendar year 2001, until December 3, 2001. Similarly, the Court has refused all new election law cases during 2011 and 2012 (so far), after having received a great deal of criticism for Citizens United v FEC and Arizona Free Enterprise Club’s Freedom Club PAC v Bennett, two campaign finance decisions decided by 5-4 votes.