ATP Montana’s volunteer director Doug Lair on ATP’s Supreme Court win

Posted on February 21, 2012 by Donald Ferguson
Statement of ATP Montana’s volunteer director Doug Lair on ATP’s Supreme Court win
“This is a landmark victory for freedom of speech in Montana-regardless of it’s source.  In the case of corporations, the United States Supreme Court Stay restores constitutional freedoms to Montana corporations wrongly denied by Montana’s Supreme Court.  In other words, freedom has been restored to our economic engines of the state.”

Obama supporter: ‘The Cost of President Obama’s Keystone XL Dithering’

Posted on February 20, 2012 by Donald Ferguson

From U.S. News & World Report‘s Mort Zuckerman, an avowed Obama supporter who is no conservative.

“… in Machiavelli’s dictum, the president has been willing to wound but afraid to strike. He has contrived an excuse to delay a decision yet again. An environmental impact statement was issued by the State Department on Aug. 26, 2011, the conclusion of three years of reviews and negotiation…

“…The original Keystone pipeline won approval after two years and is operational. But in 2013, the Keystone XL (extension) will be in its fourth year of review, a Great Dither not justified when the State Department conducted three consecutive environmental reviews to reach its conclusion of minimal environmental impact. In that time, there have been many public hearings to satisfy local communities and private property owners. More than a dozen alternative routes have been surveyed, and TransCanada Corp., the builder, agreed to 57 special conditions beyond current federal pipeline regulations.

“The president wants a relatively short section of the route from Alberta through Nebraska reconsidered. It means the State Department will have to agree to a new understanding with Nebraska and secure the governor’s approval. Given the long history of Keystone XL, that is not a big deal. By all accounts, it could be done within a couple of months. Yet after three years of satisfying intense reviews, the president says that decision will not come until 2013. Hello? That wouldn’t have anything to do, would it, with appeasing a particular left-wing environmental lobby until after the general election?

“It’s a calculation which assumes that the voters concerned about the energy future that Obama paraded will be less active than the more extreme environmental lobbyists—who, in fact, will never be satisfied with anything to do with villainous Big Oil. Throwing a sop to the leftist anti-oil campaigners and “four more years” are apparently more important to the president and his campaign advisers than reducing our dependence on those unstable regions he mentioned and maintaining the momentum of the small improvement in the lamentable unemployment totals.

“Notably, the Great Keystone Dither does not appeal to labor or indeed to all Democrats. Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia put it well: “I’d rather buy from our closest ally and create jobs in America than push Canada to build a pipeline out to the West Coast of North America so that it ends up going to China. There is no question, this pipeline is a job creator with support of both labor and business. It needs to be built not for the benefit of one political party or one state, but for the benefit of America.”

“A final go-ahead for the $7 billion shovel-ready project would have supported tens of thousands of jobs now: 20,000 in new, direct well-paid construction and manufacturing jobs, and roughly 100,000 in indirect jobs along the pipeline, according to the developer, TransCanada. But the president’s political concerns seem more important than enraging the Canadians, than giving China more edge in economic competition, than the defense and national security interests of truly independent energy…”

Read the full article here.

Another ATP victory: U.S. Supreme Court blocks Montana anti-speech ruling

Posted on February 17, 2012 by Donald Ferguson

Statement of American Tradition Partnership Executive Director Donald Ferguson and Montana Volunteer Coordinator Doug Lair

“Justice Anthony Kennedy’s decision Friday to grant Montanans a stay of Montana’s  Supreme Court’s erroneous ruling is a win for everyone’s First Amendment rights.

“The United States Constitution protects Americans’ God-given right to associate and speak freely, even if we choose to do that under the corporate structure.  Stripping people  of their right to engage in political speech because you do not like the identity of the speaker is an assault on this republic’s founding principles.  The law and the Constitution are on our side and we expect to win yet again when this matter is considered by U.S. Supreme Court.

“Montana’s political and media establishment are fighting American Tradition Partnership’s grassroots volunteers because free speech threatens their monopoly on political speech in Montana. As a grassroots-founded, people-powered advocate for rational environmental policies and free speech we will continue to fight the corrupt and lawless political machine in Helena, as well as the anti-jobs radicals at the Sierra Club who want to kill pipelines and progress itself.”

Update on Lair, et. al v. Gallik, et. al

Posted on February 16, 2012 by Donald Ferguson
Anyone who values freedom should have interest in this case.
Two weeks ago, the third case spearheaded by American Tradition Partnership, et al, against the State of Montana, was assigned to Federal District Judge Lovell in Helena. Judge Lovell is a highly respected jurist.
Amazingly, within 24 hours of receiving the case, Lovell scheduled the preliminary injunction hearing for two weeks out (February 16th), which is now upon us.
The case law is strongly on our side.
This case challenges the following as unconstitutional:

·      - Mont. Code Ann. § 13-37-216(1), (3), and (5), which limit contributions individuals and political committees may make to candidates (The $160, $500, and $1000 limits for various levels);

·      - Mont. Code Ann. §§ 13-37-216(3) and (5), which limit contributions from political parties to their candidates and imposes an aggregate limit on the contributions more than one political party may make to candidates;

·      - Mont. Code Ann. §§ 13-35-227, which bans corporate general-fund contributions to candidates and also bans corporate general-fund contributions to committees making independent expenditures;

·      - Mont. Code Ann. §§ 13-35-225(3)(a), which imposes disclaimer requirements on political speech – the “Disclaimer Requirement”; and

·      - Mont. Code Ann. §§ 13-37-131, which bans political statements about candidates’ voting records that the State judges to be false

If we prevail on the corporate independent spending ban,employers, small businesses and grassroots groups will be able to speak without fear of politically-motivated lawsuit harassment.
If we win on the forced disclaimers (“I hereby affirm that the information contained herein is true and accurate o the best of my knowledge” and signed by the treasurer on every single piece) a major unconstitutional impediment to speech will be removed and people will be able to speak without fear of politically-motivated lawsuit harassment.
If we win on the statement of the candidates entire record, people will be able to expose incumbents’ records without a research assistant or fear of politically-motivated lawsuit harassment.
In other words, the First Amendment will apply in the state of Montana.

Update on American Tradition Partnership v. Montana Attorney General

Posted on by Donald Ferguson

On December 30, 2011, the Montana Supreme Court reversed a trial court decision holding that Montana’s ban on corporate independent expenditures for communications expressly advocating the election or defeat of candidates is unconstitutional.

The trial court simply followed the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. FEC (2010), which had struck down a federal ban on such independent expenditures under the First Amendment. The Montana Supreme Court decided that Montana’s corporate independent-expenditure ban was constitutional despite Citizens United.

ATP and its co-plaintiffs asked the Montana Supreme Court to stay the effect of its decision while they went to the U.S. Supreme Court, which request was denied. We then asked U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy to stay the Montana Supreme Court’s decision while they ask the U.S. Supreme Court to review the decision. That would allow Montana corporations to make independent expenditures while the U.S. Supreme Court considers the case.

In the alternative, ATP and its co-plaintiffs asked Justice Kennedy to refer the case to whole Court to summarily reverse the Montana Supreme Court. Briefing on the application to Justice Kennedy was finished on February 15, and Justice Kennedy is now deciding what to do with the request.

Another ATP victory as House panel approves Keystone bill

Posted on February 8, 2012 by Donald Ferguson

A huge thank you to all the ATP supporters who bombarded Congress with their phone calls and e-mails as part of ATP’s project.

“The House Energy and Commerce Committee on Tuesday approved legislation that would reverse President Obama’s rejection of the Keystone XL oil sands pipeline,” The Hill reports.

“Rep. Lee Terry’s (R-Neb.) bill — which passed the powerful committee in a 33-20 vote — is likely heading for the House floor next week as part of wider transportation and energy legislation.

“It would instruct the independent Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to issue a permit for TransCanada Corp.’s proposed pipeline within 30 days, taking the issue out of the State Department’s hands.”

Senate Republicans have their own bill to overcome Obama’s job-killing radicalism.

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