Massachusetts Calls for 28th Amendment to Overturn Citizens United; Bipartisan Vote; 7th State to Do So

 Massachusetts is Seventh State to Call for Constitutional Amendment: No to Citizens United and “Corporate Rights:”

Passage of Amendment Resolution is Bipartisan

Massachusetts has become the seventh state to call for passage and ratification of the 28th Amendment to the Constitution that would overturn Citizens United and restore fair and equal elections. Republicans and Democrats joined in the Massachusetts House of Representatives to pass a Constitutional  amendment resolution.

The House vote followed a similarly overwhelming and bipartisan vote in the Senate earlier in the week, where Senators of both parties condemned the Citizens United decision and voted 35-1 in favor of calling on Congress to pass the 28th Amendment and send it to the states for ratification.  Leading up to the Legislature’s vote, more than sixty Massachusetts city councils and citizen town meetings passed similar resolutions.

Millions of Americans across the country have signed resolutions calling for a Constitutional amendment to restore the power of the people to regulate political and election spending and to preserve the Bill of Rights for human beings rather than corporations. The 5-4 Citizens United  decision and related decisions used a “corporate speech” theory to rule that the First Amendment means that the people are not permitted to enact limits on corporate, union, or any other spending in elections.

The action in Massachusetts follows demands for the 28th Amendment from New Mexico, Rhode Island, California, Hawaii, Vermont, and Maryland.

Action for a 28th Amendment is heating up in other states as well. Montana, following a rebuff by the Supreme Court to its challenge to Citizens United, will have a ballot initiative before the voters that would instruct its political representatives to work for the 28th Amendment and hold that corporations do not have the same rights as people under the Constitution. Montana’s Governor (a Democrat) and Lieutenant Governor (a Republican) have done a video together to explain why they support the effort.

Several amendment resolutions are pending in Congress. The Senate Judiciary Committee’s subcommittee on the Constitution recently held a hearing on Citizens United and the need for a Constitutional amendment. Such an amendment, done right, would restore the ability of all Americans to debate and decide for ourselves (1)  how to prevent unlimited spending and corruption from destroying free and fair elections and (3) how to ensure that state-created corporations are not beyond the control and oversight of the people. My written testimony, with a grid comparing the different amendments, can be accessed here.

More on the Massachusetts vote from many of the organizations involved from their release- – MA bicameral Passage Release 080112 and  here.

About Jeff Clements

Jeff Clements, an attorney and author, is the president and co-founder of Free Speech for People, a national, non-partisan campaign to challenge the creation of Constitutional rights for corporations, overturn Citizens United v. FEC, and strengthen American democracy and republican self-government. He is the author of the Corporations Are Not People (Berrett-Koehler, 2012). Mr. Clements, an attorney, has represented and advocated for people, businesses and the public interest since 1988. Mr. Clements served as Assistant Attorney General and Chief of the Public Protection & Advocacy Bureau in the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office from early 2007 to 2009. As Bureau Chief, he led more than 100 attorneys and staff in law enforcement and litigation in the areas of civil rights, environmental protection, healthcare, insurance and financial services, antitrust and consumer protection. Mr. Clements also served as an Assistant Attorney General in Massachusetts from 1996 to 2000, where he worked on litigation against the tobacco industry and handled a wide range of other investigations and litigation to enforce unfair trade practice, consumer protection and antitrust laws. In private practice, Mr. Clements has been a partner in the Boston law firms of Clements & Clements, LLP and Mintz Levin. He also has practiced in Maine, where he has represented clients in a variety of appeals and litigation, and in investigations and prosecutions by the U.S. Attorney’s Office and Maine Attorney General’s Office. In the 1990s, Mr. Clements was elected as a Trustee and President of the Board of Trustees of the Portland Water District, a public agency responsible for protecting and delivering safe drinking water and ensuring proper treatment of wastewater for 160,000 people in Portland and South Portland, Maine and several surrounding communities. He was a co-founder, officer, and director of Friends of Casco Bay, an environmental advocacy organization focused on protection and stewardship of Maine’s Casco Bay. He also has served as a Trustee and President of the Board of The Waldorf School in Lexington, Massachusetts. Mr. Clements graduated with distinction in History and Government from Colby College in 1984, and magna cum laude with a concentration in Public Law from the Cornell Law School in 1988. He lives in Concord, Massachusetts with his wife and three children.
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One Response to Massachusetts Calls for 28th Amendment to Overturn Citizens United; Bipartisan Vote; 7th State to Do So

  1. Pingback: Hitting the road and hope to see you. | Corporations Are Not People

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