The Supreme Court’s affirmance of Citizens United and its striking down a Montana law against corporate electioneering (see Gavel Grab) led campaign finance reform advocates to turn their sights elsewhere.
“The Court’s arrogant move – refusing to even grant a hearing on a Montana law that has served the state well for a century – underscores the need for quick action on a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United and allow sensible restrictions on political spending,” Common Cause President Bob Edgar said in a statement.
“It is time for action across the street from the Supreme Court in Congress and it is time for President Obama to live up to his promise to bring change to the Federal Election Commission,” said Paul Ryan, senior counsel to the Campaign Legal Center. Common Cause and the Campaign Legal Center are JAS partner groups.
“The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Montana’s ban on corporate spending in elections is the wrong decision for Montana and it is the wrong decision for America,” said Democratic Rep. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, according to CBS News. ”It flies in the face of the state’s history of the corrosive influence of corporate spending and rejects the decision of Montana voters to rid their state of this corrupt influence.”
But Bradley Smith, a former Federal Election Commission chairman who heads the Center for Competitive Politics, called the decision on Monday “correct, both empirically and as a matter of law,” according to a Washington Post article.
Citizens United allows corporations and labor unions to make unlimited expenditures from their treasuries for advertising in support, of, or in opposition to, federal candidates.
Election law expert Rick Hasen had an unusual view about the court’s ruling Monday and its impact on campaign finance reform. He wrote his Election Law blog that the ruling was “a relative victory for campaign finance reformers.” He elaborated:
“How is that possible, when the Court has reaffirmed the correctness of Citizens United? Because taking the case would have made things so much worse. …The best way to win before the Roberts Court if you are a campaign reformer (aside from on disclosure issues) is not to play.”
Richard Pildes of New York University law school, meanwhile, wrote that the Supreme Court’s action “put the lie to shallow, but frequently repeated, theories about how much public opinion constrains the Court.”
You can read about Justice at Stake’s reaction by clicking here for Gavel Grab.