WASHINGTON - The US Supreme Court on Monday followed up on its 2010 ruling that unleashed corporate spending in federal elections, reversing a decision that upheld a century-old Montana law restricting business political campaign expenditures.

By a 5-4 vote, the high court ruled for three corporations - a political advocacy group called American Tradition Partnership Inc, a nonprofit that promotes shooting sports and a small family-owned painting business - that challenged the law for violating their free-speech rights.

In 2010, by a 5-4 vote in splitting along conservative-liberal ideological lines, the Supreme Court gave corporations the constitutional free-speech right to spend freely to support or oppose political candidates in federal elections, a ruling sharply criticized by President Barack Obama.

The decision two years ago has triggered a massive increase in campaign spending that affected the elections for Congress in 2010 and has reshaped the political races ahead of the Nov. 6 presidential and congressional elections.

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