RSN Fundraising Banner
FB Share
Email This Page
add comment

Gold reports: "The Supreme Court on Monday reaffirmed the right of corporations to make independent political expenditures, summarily overturning a 100-year-old Montana state law that barred corporations from such political activity."

Journalists wait outside the Supreme Court, 06/25/12. (photo: Evan Vucci/AP)
Journalists wait outside the Supreme Court, 06/25/12. (photo: Evan Vucci/AP)

Supreme Court Declines to Revisit Citizens United With Montana Ruling

By Matea Gold, Los Angeles Times

25 June 12


he Supreme Court on Monday reaffirmed the right of corporations to make independent political expenditures, summarily overturning a 100-year-old Montana state law that barred corporations from such political activity.

The justices ruled in an unsigned opinion that Montana's law was in conflict with the court's 2010 Citizens United decision, which shifted the campaign finance landscape, opening the door to the massive political expenditures that have been shaping this year's presidential race. The decision was 5-4, split along ideological lines.

Despite the Citizens United decision, the Montana Supreme Court had refused to strike down the state's ban on election spending by corporations. Its judges cited Montana's history of "copper kings" who bribed legislators. Advocates of campaign finance reform had hoped that the current wave of election-related spending would help make their case for the need to reconsider Citizens United.

Still, it was considered highly unlikely that the court, in its current configuration, would reverse itself on such a recent ruling.

The court issued a summary reversal without waiting to hear oral arguments in the case.

In a dissent, Justice Stephen Breyer wrote that "Montana's experience, like considerable experience elsewhere since the Court's decision in Citizens United, casts grave doubts on the Court's supposition that independent expenditures do not corrupt or appear to do so." But he acknowledged that the court was not likely to reconsider the ruling.

Advocates for stricter campaign finance regulations said they would continue their fight for tougher laws in Congress and the courts.

"Citizens and the nation are not going to accept the Supreme Court-imposed campaign finance system that allows our government to be auctioned off to billionaires, millionaires, corporate funders and other special interests using political money to buy influence and results," said Fred Wertheimer, president of Democracy 21. "A major national campaign finance reform movement will begin immediately after the 2012 elections." your social media marketing partner


A note of caution regarding our comment sections:

For months a stream of media reports have warned of coordinated propaganda efforts targeting political websites based in the U.S., particularly in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.

We too were alarmed at the patterns we were, and still are, seeing. It is clear that the provocateurs are far more savvy, disciplined, and purposeful than anything we have ever experienced before.

It is also clear that we still have elements of the same activity in our article discussion forums at this time.

We have hosted and encouraged reader expression since the turn of the century. The comments of our readers are the most vibrant, best-used interactive feature at Reader Supported News. Accordingly, we are strongly resistant to interrupting those services.

It is, however, important to note that in all likelihood hardened operatives are attempting to shape the dialog our community seeks to engage in.

Adapt and overcome.

Marc Ash
Founder, Reader Supported News

+20 # Michael_K 2012-06-25 15:06
It's to be expected... No one in America ever says "sorry, I was egregiously wrong" unless faced with an overwhelming media assault or staring down the barrel of a gun.
+7 # John Locke 2012-06-26 07:34
Why has congress not acted since this ruling to pass some law to alter the Supreme Court Ruling...I guess the question is redundant the Republicans now seem to have the advantage don't they!
0 # Granny Weatherwax 2012-06-26 08:47
Even faced with an overwhelming media assault, these days...
+9 # maddave 2012-06-26 09:02
Here is but another reason why it is so vital for US voters to quit feeling sorry for themselves; get off of their asses and work/vote for Obama. To paraphrase Bill Clinton: "It's the Supreme Court , Stupid!"

Romney has made it perfectly clear where he stands on Judicial nominations through his choice of Robert Bork as his---get this---judicial advisor. (If you don't know who Bork is, google him. His published reactionary, racist legal philosophy allows for such things poll taxes and passed literacy tests as prerequisites for voter qualification.)

For those who are thinking about NOT voting at all, the truth of this situation is that a "no vote" (or a vote for a third party candidate) is, de facto, "half-a-vote" for Romney and a right wing Supreme Court (and federal judiciary) for the next thirty years. Is this what you want?
0 # JCM 2012-06-26 21:16
Thank you, maddave!
+9 # ronnewmexico 2012-06-25 18:54
I would rank the citizens untied decision right up there with Red Scott and others, when the final bell is rung years from now accessing the complete implications of this decision.

Copper....years ago in response to a issue with the shorting of copper miners, a run on the banks and financials chaos ensued.

As there was not a fed to step in at that time, Theodore Rosevelt used JP Morgan and his monies to stop the crisis.
But exception to antimonoply laws had to occur as JP Morgan with their action did establish a monopoly in copper miners.

Hence the creation of the modern Federal reserve several years later. , A much corrupted institution now but back in the day established for a real good reason.

Point being.... as with the experience of copper miners influence on Montana this Supreme court seems not to consider the reasons why things were done nor the implications of their actions.. A perhaps strictly academic approach to the constitution, with little regard for history or consequence. A court now in the hands of strict ideologs by majority.

To bad result. Reminds me of Dred Scott as that decision as much as any other laid the ground work for the civil war.
No civil war on our horizon of course but the implications for democracies continuance may be no less.
+3 # Granny Weatherwax 2012-06-26 09:05
I beg to disagree: the historians consensus is now that JP Morgan was the one who whispered about his competitors' unsolvency, thereby deepening the 1907 crisis.
That crisis wiped out his competition and allowed him to buy some at pennies on the dollar. He then claimed he was the victim and should not have had to "rescue" smaller banks and set out to entrust national money creation to a Federal Reserve Bank tellingly designed on his very own Jekyll Island.
The Fed (as Federal as Federal Express) was rammed through Congress on Dec 23rd 1913, at a time where most congressmen were back home for the Holiday.

Interestingly enough that crisis was sparked by the copper kings against whose actions were devised the current Montana rules against corruption.
+6 # KrazyFromPolitics 2012-06-26 00:36
So, SCOTUS strikes down an anti-corruption law that has served Montana for 100 years. Are they saying that corruption is good and, perhaps, constitutional? Fellow citizens, it is past time to begin demanding that impeachment be considered, even though there is a snowball's chance in hell of any of the "Justices" being removed from the court.
+1 # nealjking 2012-06-26 01:49
I don't like the original "Citizens United" decision, but I don't find this follow-up decision at all surprising.

When the civil-rights cases were decided in SCOTUS, I'm sure lots of existing states' laws institutionaliz ing segregation were over-run as well. This is the nature of federal law.

CU will have to be overturned the hard way: By direct action in the Congress or on the Constitution.
+2 # RMDC 2012-06-26 04:24
Montana needs to keep going with its laws in defiance of the Supreme Court. Clearly nearly everyone knows that Citizens United was a bad decision and must be resisted.

rommewmexico is correct -- Citizens United is another Dred Scott decision. It should be openly opposed by all states. The US will never survive 100 years of another Dred Scott decison.
+1 # Mrcead 2012-06-26 07:34
Well, it's official. The people have been detoothed and declawed. The government certainly isn't afraid of pissing off it's people.

The really, really sad part is that we the people, collectively have more (we are the economy after all)and can buy these jokers out if we had a plan and pulled it together.
+3 # tenayaca 2012-06-26 11:10
BEST reason to re-elect Obama is his ability to nominate the next Supreme Court justice. While we have been disappointed in him for many reasons, this one was not one of them. Romney would be a disaster. As someone above noted, his idea of a justice would be Bork-like.
0 # ronnewmexico 2012-06-26 18:22 are missing my point.

The Fed was created in response to perceived inability of the government to provide remedy for the 1907 crash.
JP MOrgan was used instead and as result Theodore Rosevelt had to allow exception to the antimonopoly laws he himself favored and helped enact.
Whether JP Morgan actually incited the uncoverable short selling of the copper miner in question is irrelevant.
If he did or did not the Fed did not exist and the only available line of credit to assuage the situation was JP Morgan.

Hence the perceived necessity to create a fed.
Ron Paul and others talk of eliminating the Fed as it is corrupted. It is corrupted but there was real good cause to create it and such cause still exists...withou t it private enterprise is in a position to dictate terms to government.

So political ideologs such as in majority sit on the supreme court are inclined as Ron Paul to look at issue in isolation without looking at the need for such(as with the Montana copper situation) ..why we actually had to have donation restrictions by corporations. There was and is a real need..

The actual vote was in the afternoon of the 23rd. Considering how controversial it was and that there were alternative proposals, a vote of 43 for 25 against, in the senate speaks not of a cloak and dagger slipped through thing.
All the democrats favored it and 3 republicans broke ranks and voted for it as well.

THE NEW STREAMLINED RSN LOGIN PROCESS: Register once, then login and you are ready to comment. All you need is a Username and a Password of your choosing and you are free to comment whenever you like! Welcome to the Reader Supported News community.