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Ninth Circuit reinstates Montana campaign finance law

The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit [official website] on Tuesday issued an order [text, PDF] temporarily staying an injunction [JURIST report] blocking Montana's campaign finance law. Montana's campaign finance law [MCA § 13-37-216] law limits the individual contributions to gubernatorial and lieutenant governor candidates to $500 and contributions to candidates for other statewide offices to $250. The trial court's injunction found that the law's limits on campaign contributions violates the free speech clause of the First Amendment [Cornell LII backgrounder]. This order stays the injunction until the lower court provides its full factual and legal findings: "the district court has not issued findings of fact and conclusions of law in support of its order. ... Without such findings, however, the court is severely constrained in its consideration of the underlying issues raised in the emergency motion." The lower court's order is expected to be "finalized and filed soon."

In June the US Supreme Court [official website] struck down [JURIST report] Montana's century-old campaign finance law known as the 1912 Corrupt Practices Act [PPL backgrounder] as invalid under the Supreme Court's 2010 ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission [JURIST report]. The Supreme Court's decision overturned a ruling [JURIST report] by the Montana Supreme Court [official website] that upheld the Corrupt Practices Act.

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