Montana Supreme Court Ignores Citizens United. Will the U.S. Supreme Court Set It Straight?


Last December the Montana Supreme Court decided to ignore the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in Citizens United v. F.E.C. and instead allow Montana's 99-year-old ban on corporate spending in political campaigns to remain on the books. It's not everyday that you see a state court dodging applicable Supreme Court precedent with such gusto, so it comes as no surprise that the losing side in that decision has now asked the Supreme Court to step in and set things straight. As Lyle Denniston reports at SCOTUSblog:

The application and motion were filed with Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, who is the Circuit Justice for the part of the country that includes Montana — the Ninth Circuit.  It will be up to Kennedy to decide whether to act alone on the controversy, or to share it with his eight colleagues.

The Montana law at issue — the Corrupt Practices Act enacted by the states' voters in 1912 — was interpreted by the state court as a flat ban on independent spending of corporations' internal funds to support or oppose specific candidates for state office (independnet in the sense that the financial effort was not coordinated with a candidate).  The measure thus was nearly identical to the ban in federal law that was struck down by the Citizens United ruling….

In suggesting that the full Court reach out and overturn the state decision without delay, the new filing argued that the state court's "refusal to follow Citizens United" is such an obvious, blatant disregard of its duty to follow this Court's decision that summary reversal is proper."

Read the whole story here. Read Reason on Citizens United here.

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34 responses to “Montana Supreme Court Ignores Citizens United. Will the U.S. Supreme Court Set It Straight?

  1. eff judicial activism bitches

    1. Corporations are people!

      (Good for Montana thumbing their nose at the Golems)

      1. Yeah, who would recognize defenders of Jews?

        Makes sense being Montana and all, actually

      2. Only idiot lefties who don’t understand what they are talking about say that corporations are people. If you would stop to think for one moment, you woudl realize why it is necessary for corporations to have the legal rights that they do. Or do you think that the government should be able to seize any property of any corporation whenever they feel like it without having to get a warrant? Or if you are wronged by a corporation, do you want to have to find the individual person who wronged you and sue that person and hope that he can pay, or would you rather be able to sue the corporation and get the money which is owed to you? That is corporate personhood too.

        I know, I’m probably wasting my time.

        1. “Only idiot lefties who don’t understand what they are talking about say that corporations are people.”

          Wait, that’s not quite true. Smart lefties who are deliberately distorting facts and misleading people say it too.

          1. so u both talk to & answer urself?

            1. I try not to make a habit of it. And maybe idiots is too strong. Maybe dupes, fools, opportunists. I have to believe that most people aren’t really so dumb that they believe the shit that comes out of their mouths.

      3. “Congress shall make no law…”

        Does that mean Congress can make all the laws it wants provided the object of its wrath is sufficiently demonized beforehand?

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      1. Say no to Kate. Bring back Lily.

  2. This is a dilemma, free speech vs. anti-federal strategy.

    1. Not really, the one thing the states shouldn’t be allowed to do is violate the Bill of Rights, so the Federal courts are justified in intervening here.

      1. They shouldn’t be allowed to do most, if not all, of the things they do. That doesn’t make it wise strategically to allow the federal government to supercede them.

        And I don’t think the Bill of Rights was originally applied to states at all.

        1. 14th Amendment. Done. Jesus Christ people, reading the fucking Constitution in its entirety. That includes Amendments written after 1789.

          1. Wow, how substantive. Does this mean don’t really have authority in anything? After all, if the Ninth Amendment can be read broadly, I fail to see how your desired outcome makes the states anything other than administrative districts of FedGov.

            1. I don’t think that is what he was saying. The point is that the 14th is the part of the constitution that gives the federal government the power to stop the states from violating people’s rights, privileges and immunities.

          2. The Bill of Rights still hasn’t even been fully incorporated via the 14th. So pointing to it is hardly the end-all.

            However, I, a libertarian, could give a shit about the Constitution and what it permits. Just because it’s legally allowed doesn’t make it a smart move in the long-term.

        2. Federalism is not a virtue on it own, but a practical measure. I think that enforcing individual rights against the states is a fine role for the federal government to fill, as did the people who wrote and ratified the 14th amendment.

          1. You could make the same claim about a different government or the UN intervening too. It’s fine for anyone to stop bad laws. It could still be dangerous.

  3. Evil corporations plundered this state. We must punish them.

    Because Montanans are dumb, apparently.

    1. dumb that their law stood for 100 yrs? or dumb that they evidently dont believe CU will survive obama’s 2d term?

  4. Montana’s 99-year-old ban on corporate spending in political campaigns

    Maybe this is the 100 year law that Obama was referring to in his SOTU?

  5. Because Montanans are dumb, apparently.

    They sure grow some nice dental floss though.

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  6. “Not really, the one thing the states shouldn’t be allowed to do is violate the Bill of Rights, so the Federal courts are justified in intervening here.”

    The justices involved in this isolated incident are just a few bad apples who need more training.

  7. Good for them. If corporations are people, Mitt Romney is a serial killer.

    1. Good thing corporations aren’t people, then.

  8. States rights.

    1. States have no rights.

      1. Anyone who wants states to have rights, is a racist.

        1. Could you explain why having states to have right is really racist?

  9. lol, the supreme kangaroo court. Best justice money can buy lol.

  10. Senator Corruptus would love wads of cash from corporations as favor to pass bills favorable to corporations. It is best to eliminate corporate “personhood” and end the Citizens United. Let the people decide!!

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