U.S. Supreme Court Stays Montana Supreme Court Ruling regarding Corporate Independent Expenditures - State and Federal Communications

February 21, 2012  •  

U.S. Supreme Court Stays Montana Supreme Court Ruling regarding Corporate Independent Expenditures

United States Supreme CourtThe U.S. Supreme Court has stayed a Montana Supreme Court decision upholding the state’s law prohibiting independent political expenditures, related to a candidate, by a corporation.

In December of last year, the Montana Supreme Court found Citizens United v. FEC did not compel invalidating the state’s 1912 Corrupt Practices Act, concluding the state, because of its history and the history of the Act, has a compelling interest to impose statutory restrictions. The Montana Court emphasized the Citizens United decision allows restrictions to be upheld if the government demonstrates a sufficiently strong interest.

The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling stays the state Court’s ruling until either a formal appeal to the US Supreme Court is denied, or, if an appeal is accepted, the US Supreme Court mandates the termination of the stay.

In the one page order by the US Supreme Court, Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote, “Montana’s experience, and experience elsewhere since this Court’s decision in [Citizens United v. FEC], make it exceedingly difficult to maintain that independent expenditures by corporations ‘do not give rise to corruption or the appearance of corruption.’ 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.”

Associate Justice Steven G. Breyer joined in Justice Ginsburg’s statement.

Photo of the United States Supreme Court building frieze by UpstateNYer on Wikipedia.

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