As we all sit around waiting for the Supreme Court to hand down decisions on a whole handful of whoppers — the Affordable Care Act, the Arizona "Papers, Please" law — it was something the Court didn't do this week that may be the most overlooked matter of all. It has before it a case from Montana whereby that state's supreme court upheld Montana's 100-year-old ban on corporate campaign contributions in the face of the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in the Citizens United case. The Court's action — or, more accurately, its non-action — does not bode well for the future of the Montana statute. If the Court again decides to put off the case, probably until the fall, then the best result that supporters of the Montana law can hope for is probably that the law will be overturned later rather than sooner, and perhaps with some ringing dissents that are loud enough to shake the foundations of reasoning that undergirds the reasoning in Citizens United. Governor Brian Schweitzer of Montana is not optimistic. So I rung him up this afternoon.
"Now, what the Supreme Court is saying is, 'Yeah, you can bribe an American official,' " Schweitzer told me. "What we're saying in this country now is that if you're an American corporation and you want to bribe an official somewhere in the world, do it in America, where it's legal."