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Texas Legislative Updates

Austin Bar Legislative Update


FREE TO SPEND: This morning, the United States Supreme Court in a one page per curiam opinion reversed the Montana Supreme Court’s decision in American Tradition Partnership v. Bullock.   Please see attached.  The decision effectively extends the SCOTUS's 2010  Citizens United ruling to strike down state campaign finance laws on corporate free speech grounds.

The Justice at Stake Campaign issued the following statement this morning about how today's decision will impact state judicial campaigns and the independence of our judiciary. 

Supreme Court Decision Fails to Address Threat to State Courts
Damage from Soaring Special Interest Spending in Judicial Elections to Continue

“Unfortunately, the Supreme Court’s decision ignores the damage that special interest money is inflicting on America’s state courts. The threat to fair and impartial elected courts in America is even clearer now than when Citizens United was issued. 

“Deep-pocketed special interest groups are pouring money into judicial elections to push courts to decide cases in their favor. Common-sense election reforms are more necessary than ever, to protect our courts and other democratic institutions.”

In the last decade, campaign fundraising in state supreme court elections more than doubled, from $83.3 million in 1990-1999 to $206.9 million in 2000-2009. Special interest groups accounted for at least $39 million in additional TV ad spending in 2000-09, according to a report co-authored by Justice at Stake, and total independent spending on court elections is believed to be significantly higher.

Justice at Stake, along with eight retired Montana Supreme Court Justices, filed an amicus brief urging the Court to deny certiorari, allowing the Montana ruling to stand, or in the alternative, to schedule the case for full briefing and argument. You can view the amicus brief by clicking here. Justice at Stake’s statement of Jan. 22, 2010, about the Citizens United ruling is available by clicking here

The Justice at Stake Campaign is a nonpartisan, nonprofit campaign working to keep America’s courts fair and impartial. Justice at Stake and its 50-plus state and national partners educate the public, and work for reforms to keep politics and special interests out of the courtroom – so judges can protect our Constitution, our rights and the Rule of Law.

The Austin Bar Legislative Update is a membership benefit of the Austin Bar Association





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