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Posted by on May 21, 2012 in Law, Politics | 11 comments

Will The Supreme Court Reconsider Its Citizens United Ruling?

Just over two years after its controversial ruling in Citizens United, the U. S. Supreme Court is being challenged to reconsider the heart of its decision. The State Supreme Court of Montana voted 5-2 to uphold a 100 year old Montana law that flies in the face of Citizens United.

The Montana law was passed to reduce the influence of copper barons in controlling the state’s politics. Montana’s justices found their state to be unique because of the influence of a few key industries on a small population. Their interpretation flies directly in the face of the U. S. Supreme Court’s key finding that ““we now conclude that independent expenditures, including those made by corporations, do not give rise to corruption or the appearance of corruption.”

The U. S. Supreme Court has blocked enforcement of Montana’s decision pending a potential hearing in Washington. The U.S. Supreme Court could also summarily overturn Montana’s decision. Pressure is being applied by nearly 50% of the states as well as political heavy weights from both parties to reconsider the Citizens United decision. There may be enough votes, four, to get a full hearing on the Montana case, but there is no indication that there are five votes to change the outcome of Citizens United.

More at WaPo.

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  • DR. CLARISSA PINKOLA ESTÉS, Managing Editor of TMV, and Columnist

    Thanks Elijah, good points on another… ‘unintended consequences’ Fed call that doesnt fit for each State.

    the more I see matters like this and the call on condemning private citizens’ properties opening way for commercial developers in concert with cities to ‘blight’ anything they want and seize it, and the cheney/SC hunting trips thinking nothing of even ‘appearance’ of conflict of interest, the more I see that I have to question the so called ‘sacrosanct’ idea of ‘constitutionality’ … wherein we are told ‘oh the constitution is so sacred, when writ over 200 years and ‘interpreted’ in ways today that appear under the last many years of USSC, to veer off into monarchical favor. Some of the calls of the SCOTUS in the last many years would have made King Geo drool with delight.

  • Certainly an uplifting possibility. Hopefully the Montana case adequately targets Citizens United. Too often the Court will only rule on the narrowest of points, rarely do they make a sweeping change. Seeing as how Citizens was sweeping, we’re basically asking lightning to strike twice (and repair the damage, what are the odds of that?).

  • slamfu

    I wasn’t expecting it to be worked up until after the elections. I thought we’d need at least the total tab of this one for the courts to say, wow, we really messed things up. If we can get to changing CU early that would be pretty neat. I might start believing in the system again.

  • Jim Satterfield

    No, they won’t reverse it. The five conservatives like the effect it’s having on our system.

  • slamfu

    Well, I would only assume so. Anyone that can conclude “that independent expenditures, including those made by corporations, do not give rise to corruption or the appearance of corruption” is definitely not living in the same world as the rest of us.

  • Dr. J

    Montana’s law was apparently prompted by the Anaconda Copper Mining Company. It effectively ran Montana, not thanks to excessive campaign spending but by employing 80% of the state’s workforce.

    Times have changed, and Montana is no longer in the grip of copper barons. If revisiting laws that were part of ancient power struggles is an “unintended consequence” of CU, it arrived not a moment too soon.

  • epiphyte

    “Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power.”
    -Benito Mussolini

    …Our current supreme court might well make the Pythonesque observation “Hey! I resemble that remark!”

    …that’s it.

  • epiphyte

    Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power.
    -Benito Mussolini

    Our current supreme court might well say in true pythonesque fashion… “Hey! I resemble that remark!”

  • The_Ohioan

    From Dr. J’s link to Politico:

    “The citizens of Montana courageously fought back against this system of malfeasance and mendacity — eventually banning corporate spending in elections.”

    How? How, how, how did they do this? How? Inquiring minds want to know.

  • Dr. J

    Yes, TO, the story was sounding fascinating, I’m curious how they managed too. Montana may lose a campaign finance law, but they might get a good movie deal out of it.

  • slamfu

    Ok, this is just a link, but Adam Smith is a bit of a hero of mine, who has been co-opted and distorted by conservatives, not unlike Jesus.

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