Citizens United, The Sequel

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The Supreme Court this week is being asked to reverse a Montana Court decison that restricts corporate campaign spending on campaigns.

The case, American Tradition Partnership v. Bullock, involves a century-old state law in Montana that restricts corporate spending on political campaigns. American Tradition Partnership, a Virginia-based conservative group, argues that the state ban unfairly restricts the ability of corporations to engage in the political process.

Montana's Attorney General, Steve Bullock, who is also the Democratic candidate for governor, argues that political corruption involving the state's mining industry led voters to approve the corporate spending ban in 1912.

He says the Supreme Court needs to clarify Citizens United to make clear that states can ban certain political spending in the interest of limiting corruption.

Critics hope the court will use the Montana case to reverse itself on its controversial Citizens United decision, which opened the door to unlimited campaign spending by corporations and unions, but many legal observers say that's not likely.

As Alex Roarty reports in the National Journal:

Legal experts of all ideological stripes expect the Supreme Court to strike down the Montana law, maybe as early as this month, even though more than 20 states have filed briefs in support of Montana's position, contending that Citizens United in its short life has already had an observable, corrupting influence on national politics.


  • Emily Bazelon, legal affairs editor for Slate

This segment aired on June 11, 2012.


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