American Tradition Partnership, Inc. v. Bullock
567 U.S. ___ (2012)

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Justia Opinion Summary
Montana state law provides that a "corporation may not make ... an expenditure in connection with a candidate or a political committee that supports or opposes a candidate or a political party." Mont. Code 13–35–227(1). The Montana Supreme Court rejected a claim that the statute violated the First Amendment. The Supreme Court reversed the Montana decision, based on its 2010 decision, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, in which the Court struck down a similar federal law, holding that "political speech does not lose First Amendment protection simply because its source is a corporation." Dissenting Justices Breyer, Ginsburg, Sotomayor, and Kagan stated that "Montana’s experience, like considerable experience elsewhere since the Court’s decision in Citizens United, casts grave doubt on the Court’s supposition that independent expenditures do not corrupt or appear to do so."
  • Dissent (Stephen G. Breyer)
  • Per Curiam

SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES

AMERICAN TRADITION PARTNERSHIP, INC., fka WESTERN TRADITION PARTNERSHIP, INC., et al. v. STEVE BULLOCK, ATTORNEY GENERAL OF MONTANA, et al.

on petition for writ of certiorari to the supreme court of montana

No. 11–1179. Decided June 25, 2012

     Per Curiam.

     A Montana state law provides that a “corporation may not make . . . an expenditure in connection with a candidate or a political committee that supports or opposes a candidate or a political party.” Mont. Code Ann. §13– 35–227(1) (2011). The Montana Supreme Court rejected petitioners’ claim that this statute violates the First Amendment. 2011 MT 328, 363 Mont. 220, 271 P. 3d 1. In Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, this Court struck down a similar federal law, holding that “political speech does not lose First Amendment protection simply because its source is a corporation.” 558 U. S. ___, ___ (2010) (slip op., at 26) (internal quotation marks omitted). The question presented in this case is whether the holding of Citizens United applies to the Montana state law. There can be no serious doubt that it does. See U. S. Const., Art. VI, cl. 2. Montana’s arguments in support of the judgment below either were already rejected in Citizens United, or fail to meaningfully distinguish that case.      The petition for certiorari is granted. The judgment of the Supreme Court of Montana is reversed.

It is so ordered.

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