WASHINGTON -- Federal judges may be inclined to "duck" constitutional challenges raised to the political contributions rule approved by the Securities and Exchange Commission and instead focus on whether the agency had authority to act, a noted administrative law attorney said last week.

Ernest Gellhorn, a partner with Jones, Day, Reavis & Pogue here, said that from an administrative law standpoint, the main question in the ongoing litigation is: "Where did the SEC get its authority?"

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