SCOTUS to America in Montana case: “The Facts Are Irrelevant.”

The Supreme Court, lining up in the same sharply divided 5-4 position as in Citizens United, summarily reversed the Montana Supreme Court in ATP v. Bullock, striking down a 100-year old state restriction on corporate spending in Montana elections.

Montana says it’s not over, though. It’s time for a Constitutional amendment to overrule the Court, as at least six previous Amendments have done. Here’s Governor Brian Schweitzer (a Democrat) and Lt. Governor John Bohlinger (a Republican):

Here is the response of Montana Senator Max Baucus, who calls the decision an “outrage.” Sen. Baucus explains the need for a Constitutional amendment to reverse the Court:

And here is a statement from Free Speech for People:

STATEMENT OF JOHN BONIFAZ
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, FREE SPEECH FOR PEOPLE

on the US SUPREME COURT’S DECISION STRIKING DOWN
MONTANA’S CORRUPT PRACTICES ACT

In the face of overwhelming evidence that the basic premise of the Citizens United ruling was wrong, five justices of the United States Supreme Court today said they do not care.  They do not care about the facts.  They do not care that two years of experience under the Citizens United ruling have demonstrated that independent expenditures from corporations and mega-wealthy individuals threaten the integrity of our elections.  They do not care about the devastating impact of their ruling on our democracy.

These five justices had a chance to consider those facts by accepting for review on the merits the case of American Tradition Partnership v. Bullock, which addressed Montana’s century-old law barring corporate money in elections.  Instead, these five justices have taken the extraordinary step of issuing summary reversal of a state supreme court ruling.  This is a radical action by five justices, equal to their radical action two and half years ago in issuing the Citizens United ruling.

It is time to overrule the US Supreme Court.  We the people have the power to do this under Article V of the US Constitution: the constitutional amendment power.  And, we have done this before in our nation’s history.  Seven of our 27 amendments to the Constitution have overturned egregious Supreme Court rulings.  To preserve our Republic, we can and we must do it again.

Since the Citizens United ruling, people across this country have been mobilizing in support of a constitutional amendment to reclaim our democracy.  Four states have gone on record calling for an amendment and others will soon join that list.  Hundreds of resolutions have passed in cities and towns throughout the nation.  Eleven state attorneys general have joined the call.  More than 1000 business leaders are now on board.  More than a dozen amendment bills are now pending in the US Congress.  The US Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to hold its first hearing in July on amendment proposals.  And, the President of the United States has said an amendment may be necessary.

The Court’s decision announced today will only further fuel this movement.  Americans across the political spectrum agree that corporations are not people and that the promise of government of, for, and by the people must be defended.  We are at a crossroads in the nation today.  The country is facing one of its gravest tests.  But, as in prior such moments of crisis, we as a people are coming together and we will use our amendment power under the Constitution to protect our republican democracy.

About Jeff Clements

Jeff Clements is co-founder and chair of the board of Free Speech for People, a national non-partisan campaign to overturn Citizens United v. FEC, challenge excessive corporate power, and strengthen American democracy and republican self-government. He co-founded Free Speech For People in 2010, after representing several public interest organizations with a Supreme Court amicus brief in the Citizens United case. Jeff has served as Assistant Attorney General and Chief of the Public Protection Bureau in the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office. As Bureau Chief, he led more than 100 staff in the enforcement of environmental, healthcare, financial services, civil rights, antitrust and consumer protection laws. In private practice, Jeff has been a partner at Mintz Levin in Boston, and in his own firm. Jeff also has served in leadership capacities on numerous boards, including that of the Portland Water District, a public agency responsible for protecting and delivering safe drinking water and ensuring proper treatment of wastewater for 160,000 people; Friends of Casco Bay, an environmental organization he co-founded with others to protect and enhance stewardship of Maine’s Casco Bay; and The Waldorf School in Lexington, Massachusetts. In 2012, Jeff co-founded Whaleback Partners LLC, which provides cost-effective capital to farmers and businesses engaged in local, sustainable agriculture. Jeff graduated with distinction in History and Government from Colby College in 1984, and magna cum laude from the Cornell Law School in 1988. He lives in Concord, Massachusetts with his wife and three children. Jeff Clements Twitter: @ClementsJeff Email: jclements@freespeechforpeople.org
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