It is curious how the Governor picks and chooses his battles. He ordered Wyoming to join nine other states in an effort to persuade the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold a ban on same-sex marriage. Previously Governor Matt Mead ordered the Attorney general to join in the battle to have the Affordable Healthcare Act declared unconstitutional. While he approves efforts to deny the right to marry and the right to adequate healthcare, Wyoming’s Governor was more shy about protecting the rights of states to regulate corporate contributions in political campaigns.
Recently a special interest group appealed a state court decision giving validity to the rights of states to regulate the influence of money on elections. The case involves Montana law directly. But indirectly it involves most states with laws designed to limit campaign contributions.
Twenty-two other states, the District of Columbia and senator Jong McCain joined the Montana cause in the Supreme Court. Wyoming was not one of them even though several western states were. Utah, Nevada, Idaho, New Mexico and Montana signed up to protect state’s rights. But not Wyoming.
Apparently only some state’s rights are worth protecting. Or to put it another way, some rights are worth denying.
There is a growing bipartisan consensus against the decision of the Supreme Court giving corporations the status of citizens when it comes to using their money to buy elections. We have only begun to see the corruptive, corrosive influence the Citizens United decision is having on our democracy. A very small number of very wealthy protagonists are dumping millions of dollars into making sure this will be the ugliest election in American history. All of that was made possible on a 5 men in black robes with lifetime appointments to the U.S. Supreme Court.
The pointless presidential campaign of Newt Gingrich was kept alive by regular transfusions of dollars by one family. The Adelsons of Las Vegas gave him 20 million dollars, which he used like Monopoly money to buy negative ads in a hopeless cause. A PAC created by Karl Rove has raised 56 million dollars. Nearly 60% of that came from three wealthy Texans. The Democrats hands are not clean either. It’s the way that five of the nine members of the Supreme Court want politics to be played.
Many states feel differently. Montana and others want the state legislature to be able to have a say in just how much a few rich folks can spend in their effort to buy the political system. There is not a more important state’s right issue in America today because our very democracy is at stake.