The Roberts Court will review the Montana law in light of its holding in Citizens United that declared as unconstitutional a similar federal law.
The ruling under review is a Montana Supreme Court holding that the state’s Corrupt Practices Act, which states that a “corporation may not make….an expenditure in connection with a candidate or a political party that supports or opposes a candidate or a political party” is not only constitutional, but necessary given the state’s Gilded Age-era copper kings who corrupted the state’s electoral system with cash.
In their brief, McCain and Whitehouse urged the Supreme Court “to confirm that Congress and state legislators may, upon an appropriate record demonstrating the potential for corruption or perceived corruption created by independent expenditures, enact legislation in response to that real and significant threat.” In short, McCain and Whitehouse asked the Roberts Court point blank to affirm or deny that Congress can curb corporate electoral spending.
And that request takes aim at the central dispute underlying the fallout from Citizens United, and that is, whether or not unlimited corporate spending in elections has a corrupting effect on democracy or not. It’s quite a dare to the Roberts Court. Let’s see now if they take it up.
Photo from soggydan via flickr.