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Sanders proposes amendment to the Constitution to counter Citizen’s United

14 Dec

According to a story in The Hill, Independent Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont has proposed an amendment to the Constitution to exclude corporations from First Amendment rights to spend money on political campaigns.

The proposed amendment’s a reaction to the 2010 Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision, wherein the conservative majority Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that the government cannot put limits on election advertisements funded by corporations, unions or other groups. Democrats have charged that the decision essentially treats corporations as people who can enjoy First Amendment rights.

“Make no mistake, the Citizens United ruling has radically changed the nature of our democracy, further tilting the balance of power toward the rich and the powerful at a time when already the wealthiest people in this country have never had it so good,” Sanders said.”In my view, history will record that the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision is one of the worst decisions ever made by a Supreme Court in the history of our country.”

S.J.Res. 33, would state corporations don’t have the same constitutional rights as persons, that corporations are subject to regulation, that corporations may not make campaign contributions and that Congress has the power to regulate campaign finance.

While the Citizens United case affected corporations, unions and other entities, the Sanders amendment focuses only on “for-profit corporations, limited liability companies or other private entities established for business purposes or to promote business interests.”

The Hill reports that Sanders said he’s never proposed an amendment to the Constitution before, but said he sees no other alternative to reversing the Citizens United decision.

“In my view, corporations should not be able to go into their treasuries and spend millions and millions of dollars on a campaign in order to buy elections,” he said. “I do not believe that is what American democracy is supposed to be about.”

This past summer, Republican Tea Party (GOTP) presidential bridesmaid candidate Mittens Romney mewed “corporations are people my friend,” when fielding a question about whether taxes should be raised in order to increase federal revenues, which drew sharp reactions from Democrats.

The Sanders amendment is co-sponsored by Democratic Senator Mark Begich of Alaska, and a similar amendment has been proposed in the House by Democratic Representative Ted Deutch of Florida.

While it’s true these proposals don’t have a snow ball’s chance of moving forward in the House and Senate, as each would need the support of two-thirds of both chambers to pass, Sanders, Begich and Deutch should all be thanked by liberty loving people everywhere; Citizens United is one of the most infamous Supreme Court decisions since Dred Scott and make no mistake it will one day be overturned.

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1 Comment

Posted by on December 14, 2011 in Constitution

 

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One response to “Sanders proposes amendment to the Constitution to counter Citizen’s United

  1. Adam Herman

    January 7, 2012 at 21:56

    I don’t see how proposing a censorship amendment is supposed to further the cause of liberty. Sanders proposed amendment would give the government broad censorship powers over all political content produced by corporations. This would not be limited to just 30-second ads, but also to books, movies, and music, if it had political content, and was thus a “contribution” to a political campaign.

    Now of course in practice the law probably wouldn’t be enforced that way, but is arbtirariness a virtue? Should we divide corporations into favored and disfavored speakers? Or should the same laws apply to everyone? Sanders’ amendment would give the government total control over political discourse in this country. Note that the amendment doesn’t limit itself to corporations. It gives Congress power to regulate ALL campaign finance, which means this blog.

     

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