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Old 02-19-2012, 03:25 PM
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Stephen Maturin Stephen Maturin is offline
Did nothing but lick toilet paper
Join Date: Jul 2004
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Default Re: SCOTAL Itch

The Montana Supreme Court's campaign finance decision looks doomed. SCOTUS granted the stay application presented to Justice Kennedy, which means that the Montana ruling is stayed until SCOTUS decides whether to take the case. Of course, the fact that SCOTUS granted the stay means that at least five justices think the parties challenging the Montana case have a "substantial likelihood of success on the merits," which kinda makes granting cert. a foregone conclusion.

Justices Ginsburg and Breyer wrote:

Montana’s experience, and experience elsewhere since this Court’s decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Comm’n, 558 U. S. ___ (2010), make it exceedingly difficult to maintain that independent expenditures by corporations “do not give rise to corruption or the appearance of corruption.” Id., at ___ (slip op., at 42). A petition for certiorari will give the Court an opportunity to consider whether, in light of the huge sums currently deployed to buy candidates’ allegiance, Citizens United should continue to hold sway.
Unfortunately, they were among the dissenters in Citizens United, and there's no indication of a change of heart by anyone in the Citizens United majority. Even Ginsburg and Breyer voted to grant the stay "[b]ecause lower courts are bound to follow this Court’s decisions until they are withdrawn or modified[.]" That suggests no one is taking seriously the Montana Supreme Court majority's argument that its case is sufficiently distinguishable on its facts to render Citizens United inapplicable.

There's not enough time left in the current SCOTUS term for the case to get decided through normal channels. It'll carry over until next term unless a majority of the justices think that a summary reversal is appropriate.
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