Gavel Grab

Editorial Views Show Citizens United Still Sharply Divisive

In affirming Citizens United this week, the Supreme Court “opted to see no evil, hear no evil and speak no truth,” a Bloomberg editorial said.

“It’s understandable that those [majority] justices would turn away a case that forced them to confront error. But in shrinking from the task, they’ve simply piled cowardice atop confusion,” the editorial concluded.

This week, the Supreme Court struck down a Montana law that barred indirect corporate expenditures on all state elections. It declined to revisit Citizens United, a hugely controversial ruling from 2010 that allows corporations and labor unions to make unlimited expenditures from their treasuries for advertising in support, of, or in opposition to, federal candidates.

A starkly opposing view came from a Chicago Tribune editorial. It stated:

“If and when corporations decide to start laying out large sums to advance their views in political campaigns, they will find that spending and winning are not the same thing. Montanans, meanwhile, will find they can reach their own conclusions. The message from the Supreme Court: It’s free speech. Get used to it.”

Justice at Stake and eight retired Montana Supreme Court justices had filed an amicus brief in the case, in an effort to persuade the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold the Montana statute.

“Unfortunately, the Supreme Court’s decision ignores the damage that special interest money is inflicting on America’s state courts,”  Bert Brandenburg, JAS executive director, said in a statement following the court’s ruling on Monday. “The threat to fair and impartial elected courts in America is even clearer now than when Citizens United was issued.”


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