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June 25, 2012

Bullock Statement Regarding Divided USSC Decision

The following statement is attributable to Montana Attorney General Steve Bullock, regarding the U.S. Supreme Court’s divided decision to reverse the Montana Supreme Court in the American Tradition Partnership v. Bullock:

“It is a sad day for our democracy and for those of us who still want to believe that the United States Supreme Court is anything more than another political body in Washington, D.C.

“I am very disappointed in what the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision means for state and local elections in Montana – and for our entire nation.  One hundred years ago, Montanans passed an initiative to protect democracy, to give everyday people a voice that would no longer be silenced by a sea of corporate money.  Their wisdom and the Corrupt Practices Act of 1912 have served Montana well for over a century, and could have provided the Court with the opportunity to revisit some of the fundamental fallacies underlying the Citizens United decision.

“I am proud to have led this fight for Montana and honored that 22 other states and Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) stood shoulder to shoulder with Montana.  Despite this disappointing decision, the last word has not been spoken on the issue of how we preserve a viable democracy in which everyday people have a meaningful voice.  History will show that it was Montanans and the Montana Supreme Court that understood the heart of this issue and stood on the side of ‘We the people.’”

While five of the Court’s justices voted to reverse the Montana Supreme Court’s decision, four justices – led by Justice Breyer – voted to deny ATP’s petition to rehear the case and instead uphold the Montana court’s decision.  In the dissent, Justice Breyer wrote:

“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.”