Monday, February 20, 2012

Will Citizens United Be Reconsidered?

Ken O’Brien
On January 4th I reported on a case decided by the Montana Supreme Court that was viewed by many as challenging the infamous Citizens United case.
Last Friday the U. S. Supreme Court blocked enforcement of the Montana decision.
According to the New York Times article, “The court’s action Friday does not mean the justices eventually will hear the case. Their most likely course might be simply reversing the state court ruling.”
While this is the prevailing opinion, it is one not universally shared by informed sources and insiders.

 The Huffington Post reported, “Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, joined by Justice Stephen Breyer, welcomed the opportunity for the court to revisit, and potentially reverse, Citizens United. ‘Montana's experience, and experience elsewhere since this court's decision’ in Citizens United ‘make it exceedingly difficult to maintain that independent expenditures by corporations 'do not give rise to corruption or the appearance of corruption,' Ginsburg wrote in a statement accompanying the stay order. ‘A petition for certiorari  will give the court an opportunity to consider whether, in light of the huge sums currently deployed to buy candidates' allegiance, Citizens United should continue to hold sway.’
“Justices Ginsburg and Breyer joined Justice John Paul Stevens's 90-page dissent in Citizens United. Justice Sonia Sotomayor did as well, but she and Justice Elena Kagan -- Stevens's successor -- did not join Ginsburg's statement.
“American Tradition now has until the end of March to formally ask for the court's review. If it fails to do so, the Montana Supreme Court decision stands.”
Montana Attorney General Steven Bullock issued a statement saying, “While I’m disappointed that for the first time in 100 years Montanans won’t be able to rely on our corporate spending ban to safeguard the integrity of our elections, I am encouraged that the Supreme Court will give this careful consideration and I look forward to continuing to fight for Montana in defending our century-old law.
“For more than a century, anyone has been able to participate in Montana elections -- even out-of-state corporate executives. All we required is that they used their own money, not that of their stockholders, and they disclosed who they are.”
It will be interesting to see if any of the conservative members of the court opt to grant a review of the case, if requested, in light of the impact it has had on the Republican primary process as well as the activism for a constitutional amendment that it has engendered.

1 comment:

  1. Let’s hope the court has the wisdom to reverse itself on this matter.
    It ranks with Dredd Scott as one of the biggest disasters in American judicial history.


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