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U.S. Supreme Court

Citizens United Redux: Supreme Court Summarily Reverses Upstart Montana Opinion

Posted Jun 25, 2012 9:10 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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The U.S. Supreme Court has reaffirmed its support for its controversial Citizens United ruling that held corporations have a First Amendment right to expressly support political candidates with independent spending.

In a 5-4 opinion, The Supreme Court summarily reversed a Montana Supreme Court ruling that said Citizens United didn’t apply in the state because of its unique history of corruption. SCOTUSblog has the news.

"The question presented in this case is whether the holding of Citizens United applies to the Montana state law," the Supreme Court said in its brief per curiam opinion (PDF). "There can be no serious doubt that it does. Montana’s arguments in support of the judgment below either were already rejected in Citizens United, or fail to meaningfully distinguish that case."

Justice Stephen G. Breyer wrote a dissent joined by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan. "Even if I were to accept Citizens United," Breyer wrote, "this court’s legal conclusion should not bar the Montana Supreme Court’s finding, made on the record before it, that independent expenditures by corporations did in fact lead to corruption or the appearance of corruption in Montana." He said he would deny the cert petition.

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