7 Comments


  1. Hello folks,

    Just a quick note to thank you for the thoughtful critique of the Move To Amend proposal. I appreciate that you have given us a pretty darned good overall grade, and assess our proposal as “among the best language out there, even with its apparent flaws.”

    Deeper still, I appreciate the respectful tenor with which you offer your criticisms of what you perceive to be flaws.

    In that spirit I will provide some specific reactions below. But before I do I want to make the point that respectful debate can helps sharpen analysis, but only actual political education and grassroots organizing can help build a movement. I believe the Move To Amend coalition is doing that.

    A few specific responses–

    1) First, it is inaccurate to identify me as the “drafter.” It would be more accurate to include the entire Executive Committee of Move To Amend. I respectfully request that you edit that section to include my colleagues: (http://movetoamend.org/national-leadership-team)

    2) Speaking only for myself, I do not believe the phrase “natural person” is ambiguous. It is a well-established part of the legal lexicon to use the phrase to distinguish a living person from a artificial person. See http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Nat… and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natural_person

    3) I think Section Two does specifically overturn Buckley vs. Valejo. You express concern that our proposal is “leaving the door open for the Roberts 5 to use the First Amendment to skirt this language.” But our proposal specifically states: The judiciary shall not construe the spending of money to influence elections to be speech under the First Amendment.

    And that brings me to a more substantive disagreement, which is this– I simply do not support a sweeping constitutional prohibition regarding all “advocacy communications.”

    4) Lastly, you have correctly assessed that Section 3 is an effort to reassure civil libertarians that this Amendment would not legalized government censorship.

    Thanks again for you good work,

    David Cobb

    • pewestlake pewestlake

      Thanks very much for stopping by and adding your comments, David. I’ve updated this page in accordance with your input. You can see in the top note that my concern about the distinction between “natural” and “artificial” persons is a long-term concern that isn’t fully germane to the current debate. It’s worth mentioning but not worth grading. 😉

      As I mentioned in the new section above (in bold), I’m not in favor of adding a power to regulate advocacy communication, per se. I just think it’s more thorough to eliminate the specific mention of campaign or electoral communication so as not to tie Congress’ hands with respect to other types of money-driven communication, like issue advocacy and lobbying. However, given that this language does, essentially, address the specific points raised by Justice Kennedy in his majority opinion, I have updated the grades to reflect that efficacy.

      Glad to know that I got it right on Section 3!

      Debate issues aside, I completely agree with the Move To Amend methodology, which is why this site is essentially co-branded. We maintain our independence but we fully endorse the Move To Amend language and approach to organizing around this issue. In fact, Move To Amend has proven to be far more effective in the short time since the Citizens United ruling was handed down than any other organization, including those that have been, ostensibly, working on these issues for decades.

      Your comments and critiques are always more than welcome and so are those of your colleagues at Move To Amend. Think of this as a second home. Guest authors always welcome.

      And lastly, thank you for your diligence and hard work on this issue. I’ve seen you in action and am always impressed with your knowledge, energy and enthusiasm. With allies like you, I know we’ll be successful, and probably sooner than we think.

      Thanks again for stopping by.

      In solidarity,
      Paul Westlake


  2. I am well-impressed by this web site. I find it informative and helpful in sorting out the issues associated with amending the Constitution to restore government that is responsive to people rather than powerful special interests.

    One complaint: I had a hard time finding the name of the person behind the alias “pewestlake,” and I am still in the dark about his credentials. Please clearly identify the author(s) of each opinion on the page where it appears on the web site. Better still, please provide a link from the name of the author to a short disclosure of his or her relevant credentials, so that a reader can jump in anywhere and quickly ascertain who is doing the talking.

    • pewestlake pewestlake

      Paul,

      Thank you for the constructive criticism. We do have author pages but they were buried after a recent site redesign. I was just looking into WordPress plugins that enable links to author bios from posts but I still have to sort out how to provide the same information on static pages. In any event, your comment is a reminder that it needs to be a priority. In the meantime, my bio is here: http://www.amendmentgazette.com/about/paul-westlake/

      I’m glad that you find the site useful. It continues to be a work in progress and I’m always trying to find the best ways to present the information without letting the menu get too cluttered. Thanks again for the comment.

      Best,
      Pw


      • Your web site contains some really great content! I especially like Paul Westlake’s interviews under Multimedia, which provide a conceptual framework for evaluating amendment proposals. I also like the report cards on the amendments that have been proposed. However, I could not find a draft “ideal” amendment on the web site. Is one there? Where is it?

        • pewestlake pewestlake

          Thanks again, Paul. It’s great to hear that the site is useful, even though it still needs some more work on layout and presentation.

          The proposal we offer is on the front page: http://www.amendmentgazette.com/

          And an explanation of the reasoning behind our proposal is here: http://www.amendmentgazette.com/2012/06/08/a-process-oriented-amendment/

          As I mentioned before, the site recently underwent a layout redesign. The menu was simplified as part of that process but it also meant some pages were left out unintentionally. Your inquiries have helped to remind me that the links need to be re-established in some form.

          Thanks again!
          Pw


          • Thank you, Paul, for the link to the Sovereignty Amendment, and for the link to the explanation of it. So far I can see nothing wrong with it, but these things must be contemplated for awhile. Put another way, I have yet to see anything better.

            We should try to get all the organizations that are working toward a 28th amendment to agree on the language. Then we could all pull together and get the job done.

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