Is Citizens United going to get retried?

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The most radical Supreme Court decision in recent memory might get another hearing. The high court is considering hearing a case out of Montana – where the state Supreme Court upheld a state law banning corporate spending in their elections. That ruling runs against the 2010 high court’s decision in Citizens United that opened the floodgates of corporate spending in our elections.

Earlier this year – the Supreme Court rejected the Montana court’s ruling – forcing the state to temporarily allow for corporate election spending, but now the Supreme Court may take up the case again – essentially giving Citizens United a re-trial. Fearing that their best hopes to win elections – lots and lots of corporate money – might be dashed, Republicans are urging the court to double-down on Citizens United.

The Chamber of Commerce and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell both filed briefs with the high court – calling on the Justices to uphold Citizens United without even hearing arguments. In 2010 – the first election since Citizens United – more than $300 million in outside corporate spending catapulted Republicans into power in the House of Representatives. And already this year – we’re seeing the out-sized influence of corporate Super PACs.

It’s time for the Supreme Court to correct its wrongs – and give democracy back to the people by saying corporations are not people and money is property – not speech. Unfortunately – it might take new, and uncorrupt, justices on the bench to do that.

Thom Hartmann Administrator's picture
Thom Hartmann A...
Dec. 29, 2009 10:59 am


The Eleventh Amendment Movement (TEAM,, under the direction of lead counsel, Carl Mayer, is employing 11th Amendment arguments to deny the Supreme Court jurisdiction over the Montana case (ATP v. Bullock), which will allow Montana’s election laws to stand while serving as precedent for other states to enforce their existing anti-corruption measures (as states are the primary source of election laws).

If SCOTUS refuses the case, Citizens United would immediately be made irrelevant and effectively reversed in Montana and perhaps any other state with similar laws that Citizens United would seek to supersede. Again: If the Montana case is not heard by the Supreme Court…then Montana’s laws stand and Citizens United is effectively reversed.

The 11th Amendment protects each State’s sovereign status by providing immunity from Federal judicial review, including the Supreme Court, in cases where a private party sues the State itself. In other words, if any State is sued without its consent (as in this Montana case), then the U.S. Supreme Court has no jurisdiction over the matter, except in very limited and specific circumstances.

All five Justices that voted for Citizens United (Kennedy, Scalia, Thomas, Alito, Roberts) ALSO have repeatedly voted for and written strong opinions for upholding this 11th Amendment states' rights issue to have sovereign immunity from the dictates of an appointed Federal Court. These Justices will have a very difficult time reconciling their established positions where they have denied the Court jurisdiction in previous similar states' rights cases. We only need ONE Justice to change this vote on the states' rights issues to make a huge difference.

Contact your state attorney general -- and spread the word for others to do the same -- asking them to inquire about and support The 11th Amendment Movement…and to “file or join an 11th Amendment amicus curiae (friend-of-the-court) brief” by May 8th and May 18th, 2012. (see website for all 50 attorneys general links -

zbrugman's picture
May. 2, 2012 9:23 am

I don't see how the SCOTUS can do anything but strike down the Montana law as it now "conflicts" with the Constitution as interpreted by the Citizen United Court. Unless they buy the 11th Amendment argument, which I like.

tominator's picture
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

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