‘Buying the Allegiance of Supreme Court Justices?’

American Tradition Partnership’s grassroots army is fighting to preserve Montanans’ rights to speak freely without government harassment, and that has the liberal establishment angry and looking to preserve their monopoly on political speech.

As Hans von Spakovsky of The Heritage Foundation writes:

If you want to see an illustrative example of Supreme Court Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer making decisions based on their personal ideologies and political opinions—as opposed to the actual evidence submitted in the cases before them—look no further than an order issued February 17 in American Tradition Partnership v. Bullock.

Justice Anthony Kennedy issued a stay of the December 30 decision of the Montana Supreme Court, because the court defied the Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United, in which the Supreme Court found that a ban on independent political expenditures by corporations and unions was a violation of the First Amendment. The Montana court reinstated a state ban on independent political expenditures by corporations that had been thrown out as unconstitutional by a lower court relying on Citizens United

…But what is very revealing is the “Statement” that was added to the stay order by Ginsburg and joined by Breyer. The unusual “Statement” claims that Montana’s experience “and experience elsewhere” since the Citizens United decision “make it exceedingly difficult to maintain that independent expenditures by corporations ‘do not give rise to corruption or the appearance of corruption.’” The two justices joined the stay because a petition for certiorari “will give the Court an opportunity to consider whether, in light of the huge sums currently deployed to buy candidates’ allegiance, Citizens United should continue to hold sway.”

What evidence is there before Justices Ginsburg and Breyer that the allegiance of candidates is being bought? The misinformed editorial pages of The New York Times? The propaganda spewed by MSNBC about Citizens United? And what evidence is there of “corruption” by corporations because of independent expenditures? There is none.

And why is there no mention whatsoever of spending by labor unions, which tend to spend much larger sums than for-profit corporations?…

…It bears looking at two of the plaintiffs in the Montana case—whose speech the justices want to restrict. American Tradition Partnership calls itself “a no-compromise grassroots organization dedicated to fighting the radical environmentalist agenda,” while the Montana Shooting Sports Association tries to protect Second Amendment rights. No wonder the justices are concerned—why would they want conservative organizations like these to speak politically?

If we need anything, it is even more independent political speech by corporations, unions, and issue organizations. That is why we have a First Amendment: to encourage and protect political speech and activity by all who want to participate in our democratic dialogue.

Read the full story here or at http://blog.heritage.org/2012/02/24/buying-the-allegiance-of-supreme-court-justices/.