Recent news and notes on the movement to overturn Citizens United –
Los Angeles Times
Justices may take up Montana campaign finance case
Citizens United and an appeals court ruling created a two-track campaign funding system favoring the wealthy. Now the Supreme Court is being asked to hear a Montana case to address some of the issues.
Exasperated defenders of campaign-finance laws see the Citizens United decision as a historic blunder that has all but destroyed not only the 1940s limits on campaign spending by corporations and unions, but also post-Watergate reforms. They are asking the justices to reconsider the Citizens United ruling by taking up a Montana case that raises some of the same issues.
Attorneys who filed amicus briefs to the US Supreme Court in the Montana reprise of Citizens United are urgently calling on Montana Attorney General Steve Bullock to immediately submit a motion asserting sovereign immunity to forestall summary reversal. So far Bullock has refused to do so. The case can be won or lost based on this simple move.
Peter Collins Show (audio)
File Name for Montana Case Mysteriously Changes
Attorney Rob Hager, who won the Karen Silkwood case at the Supreme Court, offers expert commentary on the unusual and unexplained change in the case name of the Montana appeal, in a way that may allow the Court to sidestep the 11th Amendment ban on its jurisdiction in this case.
Berkeley community members protest against corporations’ rights
City officials and Berkeley residents turned out for a Tuesday night rally supporting a constitutional amendment to overturn a 2010 Citizens United decision involving corporate personhood. The rally, which took place at Old City Hall in Downtown Berkeley, was attended by about 100 people including Berkeley City Councilmembers Kriss Worthington and Max Anderson and members from the Northern California Move to Amend movement, the main group involved in organizing the rally.
It is clear from the Minneapolis resolution and others across the nation that there is renewed energy at the state and local levels to clean up our politics and reclaim our democracy. The fight will be a long one, but it’s a fight that this country needs.
New York Magazine
David Axelrod on an Amendment to Overturn Citizens United
What the Supreme Court did with Citizens United, opening the door to this unlimited spending — and because of a loophole three-quarters undisclosed — is take us back to the Gilded Age, back to the robber barons trying to take over the government. When we win, we will use whatever tools out there, including a constitutional amendment, to turn this back. I understand the free speech argument, but when the Koch brothers can spend $400 million, more than the McCain campaign and the Republican Party spent last time, that’s very concerning.
Economy in Crisis (blog)
Fixing Citizens United
Speech matters. It shapes people’s perceptions, knowledge and attitudes. Why else would businesses spend billions of dollars each year on commercial advertising? Corporations and billionaires are not stupid. They would not waste millions of dollars to fund an endless flood of political ads if those ads didn’t pay off. They do. Money may not guarantee victory, but it definitely helps.
Talking Points Memo
Activists Target Boardrooms In Push To Limit Citizens United
The resolution, which passed 4-0, calls on state and federal lawmakers to support a constitutional amendment “to establish that political speech and spending by corporate entities to influence the political process must be regulated and made subservient to the people’s interest in authentic democracy and self-governance.”
NPR – It’s All Politics (blog)
Hate The Latest Political Ads? Don’t Blame ‘Citizens United’
Critics of disclosure say its value to voters is marginal. Teachout says when it comes to political advertising, voters actually want to know “whether those attacks are funded by Goldman Sachs, by a union, by Exxon Mobil. If you knew where the source of that attack came from, it changes how you read the attack.”
Baker Quick News (Oregon)
“Citizens United” Case Prompts Amendment Proposal
In her letter to the Council, Barbara Johnson, speaking for Concerned Citizens of Baker City, said, “While this proposal can have no influence on this November’s elections, we are greatly encouraged by the widespread, bipartisan movement …” She contended that “Super PACs” are opposed by 69% of American adults.
Arizona Daily Independent
Tucson Council votes against corporate personhood
The Tucson City Council declared its support for a 28th amendment to the Constitution which will abolish personhood for corporations, in a unanimous vote. For the purposes of elections, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that corporations have the same free speech rights as individuals. The city resolution is part of a movement called “Move to Amend”.
And from the opposition:
Wall St. Journal (opinion)
Money and the ‘Appearance of Corruption’
When Buckley v. Valeo was decided more than 35 years ago, an editorial in this paper described the resulting mess as a “half-dead monster.” Despite taking serious punishment over the past few years, that monster—sustained by the appearance-of-corruption standard—keeps shambling forward, wreaking havoc on the First Amendment. With American Tradition Partnership Inc. v. Bullock, the Supreme Court can finally go for its heart.