Recent news and notes from the movement to overturn Citizens United…
The MetroWest Daily News
State Senate passes Eldridge’s Citizens United resolution
The state Senate yesterday passed a bipartisan resolution calling for the U.S. Congress to pass a constitutional amendment to overturn the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. The constitutional amendment would restore the First Amendment and end unlimited outside spending in elections, according to the office of state Sen. Jamie Eldridge, lead sponsor of the resolution.
The Courier-News (Aurora, IL)
Area Move to Amend seeks meeting for ballot initiative
A DuPage Move to Amend group has submitted a petition to the Wayne Township calling for a special meeting to place a non-binding, advisory question on the November 2012 ballot. The question will give voters a chance to voice their opinion for a Constitutional amendment clearly stating that the rights enumerated in the U.S. Constitution are for living human beings only. If it appears on the local ballot, the question formulated by Move to Amend will read, “Should the United States Constitution be amended to clearly state that only individual persons, and not corporations, associations, or any other organizational entities, are entitled to the rights enumerated in the Constitution?”
Township meeting to focus on political contributions of corporations, unions
Naperville Township will be the next area governing body to gauge what its voters have to say about the U.S. Supreme Court’s controversial Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision.
Utah Supreme Court denies citizen resolution place on Salt Lake ballot
The Utah Supreme Court denied a petition Tuesday to allow Move to Amend to ask residents to endorse the idea of a federal constitutional amendment saying that corporations are not people and money is not speech. Salt Lake City put the brakes on the resolution after determining that while Utah permits ballot initiatives that create laws, it doesn’t permit those that simply express an opinion. Law student Caleb Proulx, a member of Move to Amend, challenged the statute and made his case before the high court last week. The issue came down to the definition of the word “legislation.”
The (Almost) Brilliance of Representative Dingell and His Friends
Not every “independent political expenditure” is evidence of a bribe or quid pro quo influence peddling. Sometimes, believe it or not, an independent expenditure is just an independent expenditure. So if the only basis the Court has for upholding a restriction on political speech is quid pro quo corruption, or the appearance of quid pro quo corruption, that ground is not solid enough to bear the weight of a complete ban on independent expenditures by corporations or by anyone. The first part of Dingell’s bill is inconsistent with this principle. But interestingly, the second part is not — or at least, is not necessarily. And if effectively insulated from the constitutional taint of the first part, could provide a critical vehicle for reestablishing a power that Congress certainly should have.
Kane County Chronicle
Petitions filed for ballot question to undo Citizens United
A citizens group filed petitions this week to have a question on the Nov. 6 ballot in Kane County that would undo the Citizens United decision and amend the U.S. Constitution to limit money in election campaigns. Kay Gamble and others who circulated petitions since March delivered more than the 12,000 minimum. They filed 1,481 petition pages bearing 14,386 signatures of registered voters. But the biggest push was in the last month to get more than the minimum amount of signatures, she said. “We collected 8,736 signatures in 26 days,” said Gamble, of Sleepy Hollow, who led the local effort. “They were shaking their heads at the county clerk’s office. One woman said she’d never seen a stack of petitions that high. We, the people, passionately want our democracy back.”
Pittsfield Residents Weigh In On Citizens United Resolution
Berkshire County’s largest city [Pittsfield] may become the next Massachusetts municipality to support a growing movement to limit corporate campaign spending, following a unanimous endorsement from the City Council subcommittee on Ordinances & Rules on Monday.
Campbell council votes to support amendment abolishing ‘corporate personhood’ in the U.S.
Following the lead of Mountain View and Los Altos Hills, the Campbell City Council passed a resolution at its Aug. 7 meeting in support of a U.S. constitutional amendment abolishing “corporate personhood.” The 4-1 council vote came after a lengthy discussion where several members of a group called Santa Clara County Move to Amend voiced its opposition to the corporate personhood issue. Councilman Jeff Cristina dissented.
Yes Weekly (Greensboro, NC)
Residents push for resolutions on Citizens United
A push by Greensboro residents for a city council resolution opposing the Citizens United vs. Federal Elections Commission Supreme Court decision has gained traction. After Occupy Greensboro members reached out to council members and spoke at the July 17 meeting, City Attorney Mujeeb Shah-Khan wrote a memo saying council could consider a resolution on the topic written by staff, a council member or a third party.
The Raw Story
Coloradoans likely to vote in November on Citizens United ruling
The nearly 177,000 signatures in support of the ballot measure is well over the 86,105 valid signatures needed to qualify for the Colorado ballot this November. Colorado Fair Share and CoPIRG (Colorado Public Interest Research Group) lead the signature gathering effort. Other supporters included Colorado Common Cause, Free Speech for People, Colorado Progressive Coalition, CleanSlateNow.org, Colorado 350.org, People for the American Way, Public Citizen, Communications Workers of America, and the Colorado Center on Law and Policy.
Los Angeles Times
Sen. Whitehouse vows to continue effort to alter Citizens United
One of the senators who didn’t support the bill was John McCain, a sponsor of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform bill that Citizens United partially overturned. McCain told Whitehouse he wouldn’t support the DISCLOSE Act because it had a special exemption for unions, which Whitehouse said was not true.
Citizens United and the Supreme Court’s failure to lead
One of the most important jobs of the U.S. Supreme Court is to create clarity, certainty and predictability regarding the meaning of the law. The public needs to know what acts are legal and illegal, and why. Also, the court often is the chief expositor of the U.S. Constitution. If the court fails to explain its decisions, then it fails to fulfill its function in our constitutional system.
Attorney General Schneiderman fights mega-expansion of Citizens United
New York’s Attorney General knew what was at stake last Spring, organizing dozens of states in protest. Though he was already understaffed and denied funding by Congress to shore up criminal cases against the biggest banks on Wall Street, Eric Schneiderman knew the disease of money in US politics was about to get much worse – over 50 times worse – as “Son of Citizens United” made its way to the Roberts Court.
Triple Pundit (blog)
Why Citizens United Must Be Overturned
This issue is important to anyone interested in sustainability for several reasons. First of all, moving to a sustainable future is going to involve significant change. As you well know, those reaping fortunes from the status quo, are now in a position to invest unlimited cash, which they have lots of, to make sure that things do not change, despite what might be best for all of us. Second, the unprecedented concentration of wealth and the concomitant level of inequality that we are experiencing today, is actually destroying our economy.
And from the opposition:
American Enterprise Institute (blog)
Why Citizens United Has Nothing to Do with What Ails American Politics
Citizens United is one of the most misunderstood Supreme Court decisions ever. It doesn’t stand for what many people say it does. Take, for example, President Obama’s famous statement that the decision “reversed a century of law that I believe will open the floodgates for special interests—including foreign corporations—to spend without limit in our elections.” In one sentence, the former law professor made four errors of law.
[Editor’s note: The author, Ilya Shapiro, testified for the opposition in the Senate alongside movement allies Lawrence Lessig and Buddy Roemer. “More important than Citizens United was SpeechNow.org v. FEC, decided two months later in the D.C. Circuit” [Court of Appeals], is a point he continually makes. But, as noted in the Annotated Reference section here, the Circuit Court’s hands were essentially tied as “the Supreme Court decided Citizens United v. FEC, which resolves this appeal.” So even Speechnow is really an extension of Citizens United. Ilya works for the hyper-libertarian and hyper-partisan Cato Institute. Nuff said.]