THE SUPREME COURT: The Money Game: Changing the Rules

Like skaters racing over thin ice, the candidates competing for their party's presidential nomination have never known when, without warning, they might be plunged into icy water. All were concerned that the U.S. Supreme Court would invalidate the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1974, which not only defined the rules for raising and spending money, but for the first time made available sizable federal subsidies.

Last week, in a complex 227-page opinion, the court assured the candidates that the ice was solid. The key contribution and disclosure provisions of the law were...