Amendment Roundup 07-11-12


Recent news and notes from the movement to overturn Citizens United…



Democracy Now
California Calls for Constitutional Amendment Against Citizens United

California has become the sixth and largest state to call for a constitutional amendment that would overturn Citizens United, the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision that paved the way for massive corporate spending to influence elections. On Thursday, California’s Senate voted 24-to-11 to urge Congress to draft an amendment against Citizens United. The measure had passed the state Assembly in March.


Corporations Are Not People
Stamford, CT Passes Bipartisan Resolution to Reverse CU

In a bipartisan condemnation of the Supreme Court’s 5-4 Citizens United decision, the Stamford, Connecticut Board of Representatives has passed a Resolution calling for Congress to pass and send to the States for ratification a Constitutional amendment reversing the decision. The vote of the city’s governing Board was 26 for, 5 against, and 5 abstentions.


Coffee Party USA
“CITIZENS UNITED” — We’re Coming After You!

This week, with the passage of AJR 22, California joins 5 other states, Hawaii, New Mexico, Vermont, Rhode Island, and Maryland in calling for a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United. David Cobb will discuss the different amendments being offered by several groups and why he feels Move To Amend’s version is the best.  I’ll ask David, “Where do we go from here?”  We’ll also talk about the political developments of the past week, and as always we are thrilled to take your calls.


Bonney Lake-Sumner Courier-Herald
Citizens United decision unleashed corporate money

Having now been both a union member and also having been in management, I view unions as necessary evils to balance out the power of corporations. Unfortunately, they can no longer really compete with big business politically. As you have read in my previous columns, corporations have an enormous effect on our country and its government. I believe, based upon my study, that large, powerful corporations, especially financial ones, hold too much sway over both political parties in Washington D.C., and the nation.


OMB Watch
Has the Supreme Court United Against Citizens’ Participation in Government?

American Tradition Partnership – like the U.S. Supreme Court in Citizens United – argued that disclosure laws, rather than outright bans on political contributions, would guard against corruption or the appearance of corruption. But the Montana Supreme Court pointed out that the organization making this argument is also involved in a separate, simultaneous lawsuit asserting that those same disclosure laws are unconstitutional restrictions of the freedom of speech.
Complete Text of Initiative No. 166

It is policy of the state of Montana that each elected and appointed official in Montana, whether acting on a state or federal level, advance the philosophy that corporations are not human beings with constitutional rights and that each such elected and appointed official is charged to act to prohibit, whenever possible, corporations from making contributions to or expenditures on the campaigns of candidates or ballot issues.


Daily Record (editorial)
Unlimited Money the Root of Political Evil

Let the legal experts debate whether Citizens United was the “right” interpretation of First Amendment protections. It was nonetheless the wrong decision for the nation. The road to a constitutional amendment is long and daunting, but this is one journey that must be attempted.


MetroWest Daily News (editorial)
An Amendment to Undo Citizens United

For years, columnist George Will has ridiculed complaints about campaign spending by pointing to the amount Americans spend on yogurt, or potato chips, which consume more money but are far less important than choosing a president. But when Americans spend millions on yogurt, they get yogurt. What do billionaires get when they throw fortunes at a favored political candidate?


[And from the opposition…]


Outside The Beltway
Citizens United Was About Freedom Of Speech, Not “Corporate Rights”

Corporations […] have rights because they are entities made up of individuals who have Constitutional, and natural, rights. To accept the “no corporate rights” argument, one would also have to accept that individuals lose their rights any time they act as a group toward a common purpose, whether that group is called Citizens United, or the American Civil Liberties Union, or the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.
[Editor’s note: This thesis merely acknowledges that the “rights” of corporate entities themselves are expressions of the individual rights of the owners. It will reappear on a regular basis throughout this fight and it will always be a sign of desperation that is 100% wrong. People supersede their creations at all times.]


Los Angeles Times (editorial)
Citizens United Got It Right

A pretty good argument, I’ve always thought, but it stumbles over media companies (as Kennedy notes at length in Citizens United). If “money isn’t speech,” as many a New York Times editorial has declared, may the government put a limit on how much a corporation can spend publishing a newspaper? The law Citizens United overturned actually exempted media companies from its spending limits. But the difficulty — impossibility, really — of defining a media company and explaining why it should have more rights than any other company suggests that a right granted to one company should be granted to all.
[Editor’s note: It’s really sad when an intelligent and thoughtful commentator doesn’t understand the difference between “speech” and “press.” Hint for Michael Kinsley: All press is media but not all media is press.]



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