Apparently, the Supreme Court is now in the business of forcing states to break their own laws as long as it benefits corporations and the politicians they control. On Wednesday, SCOTUS blocked a Montana court ruling that upheld the state’s century-old limit on corporate campaign spending. So much for state’s rights…
A little background: Eager to celebrate the Supreme Court’s baffling 2010 Citizens United ruling, Western Tradition Partnership, a clandestine corporation, a sportsman’s group, and a local businessman sued the state of Montana to overturn a law banning direct corporate spending on electoral campaigns. A lower court agreed with them, saying the Supreme Court’s ruling trumped the state law.
But the Montana Supreme Court said the state has a “compelling interest” to uphold its rationally tailored campaign-finance laws that include a combination of restrictions and disclosure requirements. Unfortunately, the Montana Supreme Court warned that SCOTUS was likely to disagree with them, and it appears they were right.
“The justices on Friday put the Montana ruling on hold while they consider an appeal from corporations seeking to be free of spending limits,” according to Missoulian.com.
American Tradition, a conservative interest group dedicated to fighting “the radical environmentalist agenda,” originally petitioned the court to reverse the Montana Supreme Court ruling without additional briefing or argument. Thankfully, SCOTUS did not comply, and put a hold on the petition until American Tradition could present a more complete request for the court’s review.
In fact, this rejection could be one of the best development’s yet in the quest to abolish the disastrous Citizen’s United decision. As Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg pointed out in a statement that accompanied the stay, ”Montana’s experience, and experience elsewhere since this court’s decision” in Citizens United “make it exceedingly difficult to maintain that independent expenditures by corporations ‘do not give rise to corruption or the appearance of corruption. A petition for certiorari will give the court an opportunity to consider whether, in light of the huge sums currently deployed to buy candidates’ allegiance, Citizens United should continue to hold sway.”
This means SCOTUS is eager for an excuse to re-examine and possibly reverse its mistake. Let’s keep the pressure on and let them know that we want corporate money out of politics for good!