Constitutional Amendment Push on Citizens United Heating Up in the States [w/video]

Rhode Island has become the fourth State to enact a resolution calling on Congress to send a Constitutional amendment reversing Citizens United v. FEC to the states for ratification. The Rhode Island vote follows similar resolutions in New Mexico, Hawaii and Vermont. Several other states are poised to follow. The state resolutions reflect a growing consensus that the 5-4 decision in Citizens United – – which ruled that Americans are not permitted to limit election spending by corporations and unions – – is a dangerous departure from settled First Amendment law and principles of republican democracy.

Last month, State Attorneys General from Mississippi, West Virginia, Massachusetts, Vermont, Montana, New Mexico, Hawaii, Delaware, Rhode Island and Kentucky asked the United States Senate Judiciary Committee to move the Constitutional amendment process forward. The Attorneys General call for a 28th Amendment to “put the electoral process back where it belongs: in the hands of the people, not corporations.”

More than 100 cities and towns across the country have also passed Constitutional amendment resolutions.

And in Montana, they are not waiting for the Supreme Court to rule on Montana’s challenge to Citizens United in the Western Tradition Partnership v. Bullock case. Initiative 166 will allow the citizens of Montana to vote in the Fall on a resolution condemning Citizens United and the recent fabrication of Constitutional (as opposed to legislative) rights for corporations. Montana’s Governor Brian Schweitzer, a Democrat, has joined the state’s Lieutenant Governor John Bolinger, a Republican, in supporting the measure.  “Both the Lt. Governor and I strongly believe Montanans, and our country, need to stand together to address the problem of corporate money in our elections,” said Governor Schweitzer. The Governor discussed the Constitutional amendment ballot initiative with Chris Matthews on Hardball recently:

 

 

About Jeff Clements

Jeff Clements is co-founder and chair of the board of Free Speech for People, a national non-partisan campaign to overturn Citizens United v. FEC, challenge excessive corporate power, and strengthen American democracy and republican self-government. He co-founded Free Speech For People in 2010, after representing several public interest organizations with a Supreme Court amicus brief in the Citizens United case. Jeff has served as Assistant Attorney General and Chief of the Public Protection Bureau in the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office. As Bureau Chief, he led more than 100 staff in the enforcement of environmental, healthcare, financial services, civil rights, antitrust and consumer protection laws. In private practice, Jeff has been a partner at Mintz Levin in Boston, and in his own firm. Jeff also has served in leadership capacities on numerous boards, including that 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; Friends of Casco Bay, an environmental organization he co-founded with others to protect and enhance stewardship of Maine’s Casco Bay; and The Waldorf School in Lexington, Massachusetts. In 2012, Jeff co-founded Whaleback Partners LLC, which provides cost-effective capital to farmers and businesses engaged in local, sustainable agriculture. Jeff graduated with distinction in History and Government from Colby College in 1984, and magna cum laude from the Cornell Law School in 1988. He lives in Concord, Massachusetts with his wife and three children. Jeff Clements Twitter: @ClementsJeff Email: jclements@freespeechforpeople.org
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