April 28, 2012
Citizens United (the organization) files in the Montana case

Blogging is slowing down here as we, the bloggers (a subset of “We The People”), prepare for final exams, but we wouldn’t be a campaign finance law blog if we didn’t pass this along from the Professor Rick Hasen: 

Citizens United Files Amicus Brief in Montana Case, Urging Summary Reversal

The brief can be read at the link.  Our past coverage of the Montana case, which the U.S. Supreme Court may rule on in the next term, is here.

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Filed under: Montana Supreme Court 
April 15, 2012
The Eleventh Amendment Movement

The Eleventh Amendment Movement offered a press release Friday describing their tactic for responding to the Citizens United decision, at least as it concerns state elections:

The Eleventh Amendment Movement (TEAM), a non-partisan political action association based in Hawaii, will make the claim that, according to the Eleventh Amendment to the Constitution, the high court has no jurisdictional authority to hear an upcoming case involving Montana and Citizens United. If it is determined that the Court does not have jurisdiction to accept the Montana case for hearing, then Citizens United’s provisions for unlimited corporate spending in state elections will immediately become unenforceable in Montana and presumably other states.

The full press release is here.

April 8, 2012
Supreme Court agrees to consider Montana case

Justices of the Supreme Court

United Press International reports today that the U.S. Supreme Court has accepted the petition for the Montana campaign finance case concerning a state law banning independent corporate expenditures.  Despite Citizens United, which struck down such a limit in federal elections under the logic that it violated the First Amendment, the Montana Supreme Court upheld the state law. That court distinguished the case from Citizens United arguing that Montana had a high interest as a state in preventing corruption in politics and so such a restriction on free speech was constitutionally justified.  Critics of the state law argue that Citizens United should be binding on state elections.  The U.S. Supreme Court blocked the state court’s ruling pending this appeal.

April 3, 2012
Prof. George Brown on corruption in Massachusetts politics

Screenshot of news report on Cahill indictment

Following the indictment of former state treasurer and former gubernatorial candidate Timothy Cahill on corruption charges, former Chair of the State Ethics Commission and Boston College Law School Professor George Brown was on WBUR’s Morning Edition this morning discussing recent corruption cases in Massachusetts.  While the interview did not concern Citizens United, as the case of Montana demonstrates, states with histories of corruption in their elections may have a greater compelling government interest to limit campaign contributions which would justify restrictions the Supreme Court held in Citizens United that the Federal Election Commission did not have.

March 27, 2012
Montana corporations ask Supreme Court not to revisit Citizens United

The day after a post here called “The next Citizens United case?" about Montana’s campaign finance law, SCOTUSBlog features a post by Lyle Denniston called "Citizens United sequel filed" which begins:

Arguing that the heavy flow of money into this year’s presidential election campaign is not the result of a controversial Supreme Court ruling, two small Montana corporations told the Supreme Court Tuesday that there is no need now for the Justices to reconsider that decision two years ago in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission.  In fact, the new petition (found here, with an appendix) asked the Justices to summarily overturn a Montana Supreme Court decision that the corporations argued directly disobeyed the Supreme Court.

March 26, 2012
The next Citizens United case?

Montana Seal

The Election Law Blog links to the federal court order from last month on a preliminary injunction in the federal suit following the Montana Supreme Court decision which had upheld Montana’s state law banning corporations from making independent expenditures on behalf of candidates.  The state court had ruled that despite the holding Citizens United, Montana had a history of corruption in its elections which justified the state law. 

The United States Supreme Court, however, blocked Montana’s law.  The Montana case may go to the U.S. Supreme Court in the next term and allow the Court to revisit the issue of whether the government (in this case, at the state level) has a compelling interest that rises to the level of a constitutionally-sufficient reason for limiting free speech rights.

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