Late last week, Senator Bernie Sanders proposed a constitutional amendment to correct the judicial travesty known as Citizens United vs. the Federal Elections Commission. Following is a clip from the Senator’s press release.
Warning that “American democracy in endangered,” Sen. Bernie Sanders on Thursday proposed a constitutional amendment to overturn a Supreme Court ruling that allowed unrestricted and secret campaign spending by corporations on U.S. elections. The first constitutional amendment ever proposed by Sanders during his two decades in Congress would reverse the narrow 5-to-4 ruling in Citizens United vs. the Federal Elections Commission.
In that controversial decision almost two years ago, justices gave corporations the same First Amendment free-speech rights as people.
“There comes a time when an issue is so important that the only way to address it is by a constitutional amendment,” Sanders said of the effort to override the court decision that he labeled “a complete undermining of democracy.”
Sanders’ Saving American Democracy Amendment would make clear that corporations are not entitled to the same constitutional rights as people and that corporations may be regulated by Congress and state legislatures. It also would preserve the First Amendment guarantee of freedom of the press. It would incorporate a century-old ban on corporate campaign donations to candidates, and establish broad authority for Congress and states to regulate spending in elections.
Sanders proposal in the Senate is a companion measure to a constitutional amendment introduced in the House by Rep. Ted Deutch (D-Fla.). “The dominance of corporations in Washington has imperiled the economic security of the American people and left our citizens profoundly disenchanted with our democracy,” the congressman said. “I look forward to working with Sen. Sanders to save American democracy by banning all corporate spending in our elections and cracking down on secret front groups using anonymous corporate cash to undermine the public interest”…
The Deutch proposal in the House, you might be interested to know, is called Outlawing Corporate Cash Undermining the Public Interest in our Elections and Democracy, or OCCUPIED. It’s also worth noting, I think, that the 2010 midterm elections saw, “nearly $4 billion in campaign spending, breaking all records.” I know I don’t have to tell you this, but our elections are being bought in the United States, and we’ve made it legal for high net worth individuals to do so.
In order to be successful, these amendments would have to be approved by a two-thirds majority in both the House and Senate, and then be ratified by three-quarters of the states. It’s an incredibly difficult process by design, and the odds are against Sanders, Deutch. That doesn’t mean, however, that we should just sit by idly, waiting for it to fail. I intend to contacted my elected officials on Monday, asking whether or not they support the legislation, and I’d like to ask for you to do the same… You can find contact information for your elected officials here.