1st Amendment News

Constitutional amendment would limit Citizens United ruling

Alarmed about the growing corporate spending in politics, a coalition of citizens and organizations are proposing a Constitutional amendment asserting that “money is not speech.” The amendment would restrict the right of corporations and unions to spend unlimited money on elections, a right cemented by the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling. The ruling established that political spending is a speech protected under the First Amendment. (ABC News, February 12, 2013, by Jilian Fama)

“A subsequent decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals in Speechnow.org v. FEC authorized the creation of super-PACs, political action committees that can accept unlimited contributions from individuals and corporations but cannot make direct contributions to candidates. These outside spending groups – which can spend unlimited funds to independently support a political candidate, as long as they do not coordinate directly with the campaign – spent more than $468 million to influence the outcome of the 2012 presidential election alone,” reports Ashley Portero, February 11, 2013 in the International Business Times.

But Lawrence Lessig argued in the New Republic, March 16, 2010, that passing an amendment against what the Court never asserted, that corporations are persons would not be effective. If you want to limit foreigners and corporations from influencing elections, he says, an amendment should protect our election from “non-citizens.” Corporations are not citizens. Lessig proposed the following amendment: “Nothing in this Constitution shall be construed to restrict the power to limit, though not to ban, campaign expenditures of non-citizens of the United States during the last 60 days before an election.” db

 

 

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