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High court temporarily blocks Arizona election reform law

By Bill Mears, CNN Supreme Court Producer

Washington (CNN) -- The Supreme Court has blocked for now a state election law that gives "matching funds" to help underfunded candidates in Arizona.

The justices, in a brief order Tuesday, temporarily told state officials not to distribute money under the Clean Elections law, which provides extra, taxpayer-funded support for office seekers who have been outspent by privately funded opponents or by independent political groups.

A federal appeals court in April approved parts of the sweeping campaign reform law. A group of mostly conservative groups -- including several current and former Republican state legislators -- filed the emergency appeal with the high court, saying their free speech rights were being hurt, and their private fundraising efforts would be stifled because of public election financing. They have succeeded in their efforts for now, while state campaigning is under way in an election year.

The Supreme Court's order allows a more thorough, detailed appeal to be filed in coming weeks by supporters of the law. There was no indication when the plaintiffs would seek to file such an petition.

The case is McComish v. Bennett (09A1163).