George Will Critiques Citizens United Challenge

If corporations hold so much sway over Montana decision makers, how come three corporations couldn’t even convince the Montana Supreme Court to acknowledge the supremacy of the US Supreme Court?  That’s just one of the questions posed by conservative columnist and commentator George Will as he looks at the state’s challenge to Citizens United.

He added:

As McConnell notes, the Montana court’s ruling is “disdainful” and disobedient regarding the Citizens United decision, but this lawlessness is not what bothers many people who think of themselves as defenders of good government. Instead, much of the media and most liberals urge Americans to be scandalized about “too much money” in politics. That three-word trope means (because most political money is spent on the dissemination of political advocacy) that there is more political speech by others than is considered proper by much of the media, which are unrestricted advocates.

This media and liberal anxiety was not conspicuous in 2004, when George Soros spent $24 million supporting Democratic candidates. Back then, the liberal/media complex embraced this Supreme Court principle enunciated in 1976: “The concept that government may restrict the speech of some elements of our society in order to enhance the relative voice of others is wholly foreign to the First Amendment.”

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Meanwhile, the executive director of the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission sounds like someone who is opposed to Citizens United, but at the same time sees the State of Montana’s challenge to the law as futile.

Jeff Brindle wrote this at

While the intent of these groups may well be good, it is doubtful the High Court will take either course of action. If the Court refuses to review the Montana case by denying certiorari, it will be undermining its own precedent in Citizens United and add confusion at a time when campaign finance law already is topsy-turvy. It is even more unlikely that the Court will opt to reconsider and reverse its two-year-old decision in Citizens United.

He then looked at each claim made by Attorney General Steve Bullock, and added this:

None of these arguments, however, are likely to sway the five conservative judges on the U.S. Supreme Court into reversing Citizens United. The argument that the PAC account is indistinguishable from a corporation may lack credence under existing law and is at odds with the Court’s interpretation of corporation in Citizens United.

The argument alleging a connection between spending and corruption is likely to be dismissed as well.  Historically, the Court has ruled that First Amendment rights can only be abridged when there is a real threat of quid pro quo corruption, such as an agreement to accept a contribution in exchange for a vote on legislation or a contract. Contributions directly to candidates pose a greater risk of this threat and consequently are subject to tight regulation.

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