The U.S. Supreme Court got its first chance this summer to reconsider the Citizens United case, a controversial 2010 ruling that led to the creation of super PACs and opened the floodgates to unlimited campaign spending by corporations on both conservative and liberal causes.
The verdict is in: A majority of justices are just fine with their decision, thank you.
The nation's highest court, which was weighing a challenge to the ruling from Montana, refused to budge on its initial decision that "political speech does not lose First Amendment protection simply because its source is a corporation."
More importantly, the high court's 5-4 ruling overturned a Montana Supreme Court decision that had upheld that state's own century-old law limiting campaign spending by corporations. The decision essentially means that the Citizens United ruling applies not only to spending on federal elections, but contests at the state level such as governor and legislature as well.
In its 2010 ruling on Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, the Supreme Court Court struck down the federal McCain-Feingold campaign finance law and held that "political speech does not lose First Amendment protection simply because its source is a corporation."
"The question presented in this case is whether the holding of Citizens United applies to the Montana state law," the majority justices wrote this week. "There can be no serious doubt that it does."
Writing for the minority on the court, Justice Stephen G. Breyer expressed doubt about the majority's initial claim in 2010 that "independent expenditures, including those made by corporations, do not give rise to corruption or the appearance of corruption."
"Montana's experience, like considerable experience elsewhere since the court's decision in Citizens United, casts grave doubt on the court's supposition that independent expenditures do not corrupt or appear to do so," Breyer wrote for the majority, though not citing any specific examples.Follow @AboutUSPolitics