Ninth Circuit Court Upholds Montana Political Contribution Limits
Montana Attorney General Tim Fox announced on Monday that the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld his office’s defense of Montana’s contribution limits in the case of Lair v Motl.
Spokesman Eric Sell explained the ruling.
“In a case that goes back to 2011, there was a challenge to Montana’s campaign contribution limits as passed by the voters back in 1994,” Sell began. “The challenge was that the contribution limits were too low, and violated political speech. The 9th circuit ruled against that argument today, siding with Attorney General Fox, saying that Montana does have the right to set the contribution where voters set them back in 1994. We view this as a big win for the initiative process, because it was the will of the people who established the limits.”
In 2011, District Judge Charles Lovell ruled that the contribution limits were too low and violated free speech rights. That decision was overturned on Monday. However, Sell said there may be another appeal, this time to the U.S. Supreme Court.
“That could be,” he said. “However, we feel very strongly about the position we’re in, and the 9th Circuit Court ruling is very favorable,” he said. “We’re pretty confident that the Supreme Court will uphold the 9th Circuit Court’s decision.”
Montana’s contribution limits were passed by voters in 1994, through a citizen initiative. The Lair case challenging the contribution limits has been ongoing since 2011.