Is the stage set for Citizens United Round Two?

Last December – the Montana State Supreme Court ignored the Citizens United ruling – and continued its ban on corporate election spending – upholding a 1912 law known as the Montana Corrupt Practices Act. According to the Act - "a corporation may not make ... an expenditure in connection with a candidate or a political party that supports or opposes a candidate or a political party." But those corporate interests – in this case known as the American Tradition Partnership – that were upset by this law are now petitioning the Supreme Court to have it reversed.

The lead attorney for the American Tradition Partnership – James Bopp, Jr. – who assisted with the Citizens United legal argument – filed a stay with Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy on Wednesday calling for the Montana’s law to be overturned. As Bopp said, "[i]mmediate relief is needed to prevent irreparable harm to the Corporations' First Amendment free-speech right." It’s likely the court will strike down the Montana ruling – thus for a second time ruling that corporations are people and money is speech, without looking at the real world consequences of such a ruling.

As Montana Supreme Court Justice James Nelson – who even dissented in the case in January – wrote, "In the real world of politics, the 'quid pro quo' of both direct contributions to candidates and independent expenditures on their behalf is loyalty…And, in practical effect, experience teaches that money corrupts, and enough of it corrupts absolutely." He’s right – and as long as Citizens United stands – then our democracy is corrupted. Time to go to to fight for a constitutional amendment to kick corporations out of our democracy.

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