Supreme Court blocks Montana ruling against outside group spending
February 17th, 2012
06:51 PM ET
11 years ago

Supreme Court blocks Montana ruling against outside group spending

(CNN) - The Supreme Court has blocked enforcement of a ruling by Montana's highest court that upholds the state's century-long restrictions on independent political spending by outside groups in election campaigns.

An order was issued late Friday.

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Opponents of the restrictions say they conflict with the Supreme Court's landmark free speech ruling in 2010 that gave corporations greater power to spend their own money in federal elections.

That has led to a proliferation of so-called super PACs spending contributions of businesses, unions, and advocacy groups, and wealthy individuals.

The justices are now being asked whether state restrictions, as in the Montana case, should also be tossed out. Until the high court decides whether to tackle the issue, the current restrictions are suspended.

The Montana Supreme Court made its ruling December 30, saying there was a legitimate state interest to ensure independent expenditures by corporations "do not give rise to corruption or the appearance of corruption."

The case is American Tradition Partnership Inc. v. Bullock (11A762).

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Filed under: 2012 • Montana • Supreme Court
soundoff (22 Responses)
  1. logicnLA

    We need age restrictions on this body! Senility is the only explanation for their rulings in recent years

    February 17, 2012 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  2. Namejkane fl

    Supremecourt should butt out of elections!!!

    February 17, 2012 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  3. Corey

    Left or right we as Americans should be against the Supreme Courts ruling that allows superpac money. All it does is sells our elections to the highest bidder and incites even more corruption. Is this what we really want America?

    February 17, 2012 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  4. Namejkane fl

    I think dogs should be people too, supreme court? At least there honest.

    February 17, 2012 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  5. DENNA

    At least there is a smart set of justices somwhere in this country.

    February 17, 2012 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  6. Jeffer65

    The SCOTUS is wrong on this. So much for states' rights.

    February 17, 2012 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  7. c'mon america

    Union members make to much money forcing corporations to find labor overseas . Yet they have MILLIONS to throw at politicians . This makes sense ?

    February 17, 2012 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  8. hector9

    Thank you Montana for trying to stand up to the Supreme Court of the United Corporations of America

    February 17, 2012 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  9. HenryB

    The Supreme Court had a chance to partly correct their error in Citizens United and they just doubled down. What a terrible error we made when we appointed these fre@ks to the high court.

    February 17, 2012 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  10. LEE

    There those activist judges go again..........not allowing the states and their people to make decisions on there own. LOL. I guess it depends on who's ox is being gored.

    February 17, 2012 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  11. steven harnack

    We'll see how many Republikans support state's rights in THIS case, Eh? Don't they usually leave the status quo in place while cases are being appealed, the status quo in this instance being the century old ban in Momtana? Why the rush to allow corp money?

    February 17, 2012 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  12. Tennessee hunter

    So much for states rights!

    February 17, 2012 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  13. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    You know. Normally I speak out against the Nullification principal in these blogs. This time I have to make that exception. The 2010 ruling by Roberts, Alito, Scalia, Thomas and Kennedy has to be the most boneheaded decision since Roger Taney's Dred Scot Decision, or Bush v. Gore! This ruling has not opened up free speech. Instead, you now have the top of the top 1% funding the campaigns of their favorite candidates by opening their own PAC and letting it operate parallel to the Candidates campaign. Montana did the right thing. What will the Supreme Court do if say somehting like 40 of the states pass laws restricting these Super PACs? Will they speak out against the will of the people then, too?

    February 17, 2012 10:46 pm at 10:46 pm |
  14. Clephas from Austin, TX

    The Supreme Court's decision which led to the creation of the super PAC's was easily the single most idiotic one made in our country's judicial history. A process which was already corrupt and wasted billions every election cycle now sucks up even more capital for the sake of remote mudslinging campaigns by enthusiasts and cold-blooded manipulators who have something to gain from the corruption of the political process by big money.

    February 17, 2012 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm |
  15. tony

    Hey Bush's little man John ain't gonna let that power slip for a second. Who cares about Centuries old "Established Law" , when the Bushes want something their way.

    The Modern USA – Where corruption isn't illegal any more. Because we legalized it

    February 17, 2012 11:29 pm at 11:29 pm |
  16. ThinkAgain

    Whatever happened to states' rights?

    I guess it only applies when the states agree with the Republican agenda.


    February 18, 2012 01:42 am at 1:42 am |
  17. Please Grow Up

    Desperately afraid that the votes of the people might count for more than the dollars of the do-nothings, the United States Supreme Court, maintaining a course on the right fringe of ethical judgment, suddenly proclaims the uselessness of the States' Rights argument.

    Is anybody there?

    February 18, 2012 06:20 am at 6:20 am |
  18. Thatwaslame

    pretty sure the american way is getten up and getten it urself. So I think montana is rite, and the supreme court is wrong. Stop handing over our government to corporate pig society

    February 18, 2012 08:01 am at 8:01 am |
  19. mikey_t

    The Supreme Court always strikes down laws limitng campaign CONTRIBUTIONS. Instead, limit how much a politican can SPEND.

    Couple that with a requirement that a candidate needs to endorse every political ad so voters know who the ad supports, you might get people interested in elections again.

    February 18, 2012 08:02 am at 8:02 am |
  20. thomas mc

    I'm so old, I remember when this country was a Democracy.

    February 18, 2012 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  21. Thomas

    The Montana Supreme Court made its ruling December 30, saying there was a legitimate state interest to ensure independent expenditures by corporations "do not give rise to corruption or the appearance of corruption."

    The Lawyers will make big bucks on this.

    February 18, 2012 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  22. Bart

    We will now see how important state's rights really are to Scalia and his gang,

    February 18, 2012 10:39 am at 10:39 am |