In 5-4 decision, court strikes down Montana ban on corporate donation law, strengthening Citizens United
By Common Dreams staff
In a 5-4 decision, the US Supreme Court has struck down (pdf) Montana's 100 year old law that banned direct corporate political campaign spending in state and local elections. The court reversed a lower court ruling, but did so without allowing full briefing or argument in the case.
Previously, the Montana Supreme Court upheld the law due to the state’s dramatic history of corruption, but the Supreme Court's ruling today rejected that decision, arguing that “independent expenditures, including those made by corporations, do not give rise to corruption or the appearance of corruption.” Critics, however, say all available evidence -- especially in the aftermath of the 2010 Citizens United decision -- suggests such arguments are absurd and say today's decision only strengthens the role of corporate money and independent wealth while weakening the ability of lawmakers and citizens who might try to temper the amount of corporate money that is now flooding into state-level campaigns.
In a dissent, Justice Stephen Breyer -- who was joined by Justice Ruth Ginsburg in a desire that the high court hear the case -- 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." [MORE]