US Supreme Court Issues Stay On Montana Free Speech Case

Supreme Court
United States Supreme Court Issues Stay On Montana Free Speech Case

Missoula, MT –-( Today the United States Supreme Court (USSC) issued a stay of the Montana Supreme Court’s (MSC) adverse opinion in the free speech case in which MSSA is a plaintiff.

The question is, should MSSA (a non-profit corporation) be able to use members’ dues to make independent expenditures supporting or opposing candidates (the news stories will treat this as “corporate spending”)?

The Montana state district court said “Yes” and invalidated Montana’s laws that prevent MSSA from making such expenditures, citing the USSC’s Citizens United decision.

The Montana Supreme Court trumped and reversed the state district court, reinstating the restrictive Montana laws (ostensibly thumbing its nose at the USSC).

Today the USSC trumped the MSC with its stay order, effectively reinstating the state district court decision.

More colloquially, the USSC just smacked the knuckles of the MSC with the proverbial teacher’s ruler.

What happens next, you ask? Great question.

The two most likely possibilities seem to be:

  • 1) The petition to the USSC for a stay of the MSC decision was also a petition for certiorari (called “cert” for short, a request for the USSC to accept, review and resolve the issue finally). The USSC could grant cert and schedule a full review of the case and of the MSC Opinion. This will trigger an absolute avalanche of amicus parties (amicus curiae – friends of the court) to file amicus briefs with the USSC taking one side or the other; or
  • 2) The same majority of USSC justices that prevailed in Citizens United could simply reverse the MSC, without a full hearing on the case, and thereby dodge the circus that a full review would entail, and also avoid exposing the holdings of the Citizens United decision to adjustment or dilution.

Interesting. Stay tuned for more details as they develop.

Best wishes,

Gary Marbut, president
Montana Shooting Sports Association

About Montana Shooting Sports Association

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Montana Shooting Sports Association