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. The case is American Tradition Partnership, et al., v. Bullock, et al. (no docket number assigned yet). Two Justices had argued last month that the Montana case would give the Court a chance to reconsider Citizens United, because of the “huge sums” of money now being spent “to buy candidates’ allegiance.” Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, joined by Justice Stephen G. Breyer, nonetheless conceded in their statement that lower courts were still bound by the 2010 ruling freeing corporations and labor unions to spend as much as they wished on campaigns if they did so independently of candidates. The Court put on hold the state court ruling upholding a Montana law similar to the federal law nullified in Citizens United, at least until an appeal is decided.
The new petition contended that much of the money now being paid to influence this year’s campaigns is not coming from corporations, but from individuals, and they have been free since 1976 to spend as they wished. The actual experience in politics sinceCitizens United was decided, the two corporations contended, “cannot provide a justification to overturn” the 2010 decision. In fact, the Court in Citizens United“expected more political spending because it overturned a ban on political spending by thousands upon thousands oif corporations and labor unions in federal elections.”
Most of the big money being spent this year by so-called “Super PACs,” the petition said, is from individuals and not corporations, “so it cannot be tied to Citizens United.” In addition, even though the volume of money now flowing may be large, the filing argued, that could not cause corruption of the political system, since the Supreme Court had made clear that the only kind of corporation that would justify limits on campaign finance is “quid-pro-quo” dealings — that is, giving money in direct response to favors by a political officeholder.’ The petition asked: “Is this Court going to limit the right of speakers to engage in core political speech because they spend huge sums in doing so?”
Full Article: Citizens United sequel filed : SCOTUSblog.