After enduring two years of relentless criticism and satire, could Citizens United, the case responsible more than any other for channeling unlimited donations into political campaigns, be argued again before the U.S, Supreme Court?
That’s the possibility raised by the Court blocking on Friday a Montana law banning most corporate donations in state races. Two Supreme Court justices have now urged their colleagues to revisit the broader constitutional questions in the era of Sheldon Adelson, Restore Our Future, Foster Friess, and Stephen Colbert:
In Friday’s order, Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen G. Breyer said the upheaval in the world of campaign finance since the Citizens United decision does not bear out the majority opinion.
“Montana’s experience, and experience elsewhere since this court’s decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, make it exceedingly difficult to maintain that independent expenditures by corporations ‘do not give rise to corruption or the appearance of corruption,’ ” Ginsburg wrote.
“A petition for certiorari [from those challenging the Montana court’s decision] 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.”
We’ll have our own analysis of the prospects for reversal — and what reversal would actually mean for the organizations making headlines in this race — soon, but for the moment, suffice it to say the Court’s rulings are now only more likely to be on the minds of the public come November. Campaign finance reform is in fact a salient issue with voters, and should the president wish, he could make a play for their votes much the way he did in 2008: by decrying the sordid interests funding his enemies. Indeed, his first major TV ad campaign suggests he’ll do just that.