Could Citizens United Be Toast in Just Two Months?
Last December, the Montana Supreme Court defied Citizens United by upholding the state's century-old campaign finance laws. That decision could well be overturned when it comes before the Supreme Court, which stayed the Montana high court's decision in February. But never fear, reformers: The Eleventh Amendment Movement (TEAM), an obscure group based in Hawaii, claims thatCitizens Unitedcould be effectively overturned within the next two months.
Here's TEAM's argument, as laid out in an amicus brief filed with the Supreme Court: Because the plaintiff in the Montana case made a "technical error" by naming state Attorney General Steve Bullock in his official capacity, the 11th Amendment bars the Supreme Court from touching the Montana decision. Theamendment affirms the principal of sovereign immunity, which prevents federal courts from interfering with lawsuits brought by individuals against state governments.
The group is represented by Carl Mayer, a New York lawyer who's won cases against the likes of Nike and has been working on behalf of journalist Chris Hedges to strike down the indefinite detention provision of the National Defense Authorization Act. Last Wednesday, a federal judge sided with Hedges. (Mayer also unsucessfully sued the New England Patriots and NFL for $185 million on behalf of New York Jets fans, claiming that Patriots coach Bill Belichick rigged games by secretly taping opponents' signals.)