Bullock declares his opposition to the U.S. Constitution

Western Tradition Partnership, Inc. v. Attorney General of Montana should have been an easy case for the Montana Supreme Court. At issue was the state’s 99-year-old ban on corporate spending in political campaigns,” writes Reason’s Damon Root.

“Because the U.S. Supreme Court had struck down a nearly identical federal restriction on political spending by corporations and unions for violating the First Amendment in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (2010), the Montana court was duty-bound to follow this precedent and nullify the state law.”

“But instead something else happened. “Unlike Citizens United,” the Montana court asserted in its ruling last December, “this case concerns Montana law, Montana elections and it arises from Montana history.” It’s a clever argument, but it doesn’t hold up. Since its 1925 decision in Gitlow v. New York, the Supreme Court has held that the First Amendment applies to both federal and state governments. That’s because the 14th Amendment, which declares that no state shall “deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws,” incorporates the First Amendment (and other protections from the Bill of Rights) against the states. Montana officials may not like it, but they’re bound to obey the First Amendment just like every other state is bound to obey it,” writes Root.

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