LaBrant et al v Benson - Case Summary

University / Undergraduate
Modified: 22nd Feb 2024
Wordcount: 495 words


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Legal Case Summary

Summary: Michigan court case dealing with legislation to increase transparency in political elections.


The plaintiffs in LaBrant v. Benson (2019) were challenging the previous ruling of the Michigan Court of Appeals. The case emanated from legislation proposed by Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson. The proposed legislation sought to regulate certain campaign contributions and expenditures to increase transparency in political elections. The plaintiffs argued that certain provisions of the proposed legislation infringed upon their First Amendment rights.


The central issue in LaBrant v. Benson was the constitutionality of the proposed legislation. The court had to decide whether the legislation violated the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment by unduly limiting contributions to political campaigns. Also, the court had to determine whether the legislation was too broad, thereby violating the Overbreadth Doctrine.



LaBrant v. Benson sets an important precedent in Michigan election law. The ruling affirms the state's power to enact laws fostering transparency and fairness in political campaigns, preserving the public's trust in the electoral process. Nevertheless, the case may also signal a potential trend towards increased litigation about campaign finance laws as legislatures seek to balance transparency, free speech, and the potential for corruption in political finance.


In its ruling, the Court of Appeals affirmed the lower court’s decision holding that the proposed legislation did not violate the plaintiffs’ First Amendment rights. The court posited that the legislation served to enhance the public's trust in the electoral process and that it did not significantly impede political expression. The court also found the legislation to be narrowly tailored to achieve its objective and therefore did not violate the Overbreadth Doctrine.


  • Case Law: LaBrant et al v Benson, 314 Mich App 102 (2019).
  • Legal Doctrine: Overbreadth Doctrine, Legal Information Institute (2020).
  • First Amendment: US Constitution.

Journalist Brief

In simple terms, LaBrant v. Benson was a Michigan court case revolving around new laws aiming to increase transparency in political finance. The gist of it was whether these laws infringed on the right to free speech, which is an integral part of the First Amendment. The court ruled in favor of the laws, stating that they were narrowly focused on improving public trust in elections, and did not interfere excessively with political expression.


What was the main issue in LaBrant v. Benson?

Answer: The main issue was whether new campaign finance laws infringed upon First Amendment rights.

What was the court's decision?

Answer: The court ruled that the laws did not infringe upon First Amendment rights.

Why is this case significant?

Answer: The case sets a precedent in Michigan for the state's ability to regulate campaign finance to preserve public trust in elections.

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