Supreme Court strengthens Citizens United decision with Montana ruling

Falldog

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WASHINGTON -- 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.

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."
http://www.latimes.com/news/politic...n-corporate-spending-20120625,0,1240460.story
 

Norm Stansfield

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Mar 17, 2009
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100 years sounds about right. That's around when legislators across the country started wiping their ass with the Constitution.

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.
Pretty sure bribing legislators is still illegal.
 

Neckbeard

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Oct 26, 2011
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So the reason to not ban corporate bribing is that people used to bribe politicians? Isn't the Copper King history an excellent reason to ban these "corporate contributions" because all they have amounted to in the past were bribes?
 

VMS

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Apr 26, 2006
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So the reason to not ban corporate bribing is that people used to bribe politicians? Isn't the Copper King history an excellent reason to ban these "corporate contributions" because all they have amounted to in the past were bribes?
As a practical matter, yes. As a legal matter, though, corporations have had the right to free political speech as much as any real-human. They just allowed it to be restricted for a long time.

The Citizens United decision is one that could have been made any time since campaign finance laws started involuntary restrictions.
 
Sep 15, 2011
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Pretty sure bribing legislators is still illegal.
that's why they started calling them "contributions".

people don't think 10 million from conoco-phillips comes with strings?

so many people have the flowchart of don't like unions>companies are against unions>i agree with companies then.as if the unions can approach that level spending.