The Supreme Court is presently considering whether to hear a Montana Supreme Court case holding that the Court’s election-buying decision in Citizens United does not prevent Montana from stemming the flow of corporate money into politics. Republican leaders and corporate interest groups like the Chamber of Commerce asked the justices to double down on Citizens United, while twenty-two additional states have asked the Court to close the floodgates unleashing unlimited money into state elections.
It is possible, if extremely unlikely, that the justices will use this opportunity to fix the error they committed in Citizens United. Even if one of the five conservatives responsible for the explosion of money in politics does reconsider his mistake, however, the Supreme Court’s calendar makes it all but certain that Citizens United will remain in effect until after the 2012 election:
The Supreme Court will consider the major sequel to its controversial ruling on campaign finance at the Justices’ private Conference on June 14, the Court’s electronic docket showed Tuesday. The case is American Tradition Partnership, et al., v. Bullock (11-1179). The Court will be considering a request to overturn, without briefing or argument, a Montana Supreme Court ruling that upheld a state law curbing the campaign spending of corporations in that state — a ruling that is said to conflict directly with the Justices’ 2010 ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, allowing such spending.
If the Justices choose not to reverse that state decision summarily, they are likely to grant review and put the case over to the new Term starting October 1, with a decision likely after this year’s election. The state court ruling, in the meantime, is on hold, thus allowing corporations to spend freely in Montana in this year’s election cycle.
Republican interest groups plan to spend about $1 billion to buy Mitt Romney a new house at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue between now and the end of this cycle.
It is, of course, possible that the justices will decide that removing the taint of corruption Citizens United imposes on American democracy is so urgent that they should hear the case during a special summer session, but this is a highly irregular procedure that only occurs when the justices believe it is unusually important that the case be decided quickly — such as when the Court’s five conservatives decided to shackle our democracy with Citizens United in the first place.