A Montana state law provides that a “corporation may not make . . . an expenditure in connection with a candidate or a political committee that supports or opposes a candidate or a political party.” Mont. Code Ann. §13–35–227(1) (2011). The Montana Supreme Court rejected petitioners’ claim that this statute violates the First Amendment. 2011 MT 328, 363 Mont. 220, 271 P. 3d 1. In Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, this Court struck down a similar federal law, holding that “political speech does not lose First Amendment protection simply because its source is a corporation.” 558 U. S. ___, ___ (2010) (slip op., at 26) (internal quotation marks omitted). The question presented in this case is whether the holding of Citizens United applies to the Montana state law. There can be no serious doubt that it does. See U. S. Const., Art. VI, cl. 2. Montana’s arguments in support of the judgment below either were already rejected in Citizens United, or fail to meaningfully distinguish that case.The petition for certiorari is granted. The judgment of the Supreme Court of Montana is reversed.It is so ordered.
Washington, DC– Its a big day for the 1st Amendment and Political Speech. The Court ruled that ruling of “Citizen’s United” applies to State political contests as well. Corporations can contribute to and support the candidate of their choice.
This is a huge victory for conservative political activists that have been pummeled over the years by unrestricted union money supporting liberal causes. Along with last weeks Knox v. Service Employees unions have had their buts kicked. For years they have had an undue advantage in the 1st Amendment Arena these two rulings will level the playing field.
The American Tradition Partnership released the following statement on their website:
In a one page per curiam decision today in American Tradition Partnership v. Bullock, the United States Supreme Court struck down a Montana law prohibiting corporations from engaging in independent political expenditures in state elections. This provisions was similar to a federal law struck down in Citizens United.In so doing, the Court said that “Montana’s arguments in support of the judgment below either were already rejected in Citizens United or failed to meaningfully distinguish that case.” This closes the door on the argument that unique facts in a certain state can be employed to overturn CU. Further, it means that independent expenditures are never corrupting as a matter of federal constitutional law.In addition, as Justice Breyer in dissent noted, there is no prospect that the majority of the Court will reconsider CU.According to James Bopp, Jr, attorney for the Montana corporations that challenged the law, “This is an excellent result. The Court has shut the door on a multi-million dollar effort to lobby and even intimidate the Court into reconsidering Citizens United. This effort has failed and the Citizens United decision is now settled law. Groups of persons of average means will still be able to pool their resources to effectively participate in our democratic process.”