Editor's Note :

Editor's Note :

On Monday at 9:30 a.m. we expect the Court to issue orders from the October 31 Conference; we do not expect the Justices to issue any decisions on the merits.
Our list of "Petitions to watch for that Conference is here.

American Tradition Partnership, Inc. v. Bullock

Docket No. Op. Below Argument Opinion Vote Author Term
11-1179 Mont. S. Ct. Not Argued Jun 25, 2012 5-4 Per Curiam OT 2011

Holding: Montana’s argument in support of the judgment below was either already rejected in Citizens United v. FCC or fails to meaningfully distinguish that case.

Plain English Summary: Ordinarily, the Supreme Court does not decide a case until after it has accepted it for full-scale review, receives written legal arguments, and then holds a public hearing. Now and then, and perhaps as many as nine or ten times each Term, the Court disposes of a case without those formalities: it decides the case very soon after getting the case, usually indicating that the outcome was so predictable that there was no need to engage in full-dress proceedings. That speeded-up procedure is what the Court did on Monday in this case, by a 5-4 vote. The result was to overturn a Montana Supreme Court decision upholding a 1912 voter-approved ban on corporations’ spending of their own money on political campaigns in that state. The Court majority found that state court ruling obviously in conflict with a decision the Supreme Court had issued in January 2010 striking down a similar ban in federal law against corporate spending on politics. The four Justices in dissent conceded that the Supreme Court majority was not ready to take a new look at that 2010 decision, even in a case in which a state’s highest court had found that the state had a history of corrupt corporate influence in its political life.

Judgment: Summarily reversed in a per curiam opinion on June 25, 2012.

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