Support growing for overturning ‘Citizens United’ ruling

Online Staff Report

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Advocates are celebrating a significant milestone in the campaign for a constitutional amendment to overturn the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2010 ruling in Citizens United that opened the floodgates of money from corporations and the ultra wealthy into our political system. Support for the campaign now stands at one-third of what is needed for victory.

The Constitution can be amended by votes of a supermajority of each chamber of Congress, followed by ratification by three-quarters of the states. Support for an amendment now stands at one-third of each of those thresholds. In support are 27 sponsors and co-sponsors in the Senate out of 67 needed (40 percent), 98 sponsors and co-sponsors in the House out of 290 needed (33 percent), and official resolutions, ballot measures or official calls for an amendment in 16 out of the 38 states needed (42 percent).

Fast gaining momentum, the movement for a constitutional amendment aims to reassert popular sovereignty and return America to the founding constitutional principle embodied in the phrase, ‘We, the People,’” said Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen. “We, the People of the United States are fast on our way to winning a constitutional amendment to ensure our government works for us, not JP Morgan, Pfizer and Walmart.”

Sixteen states have formally called for an amendment by ballot measure, resolutions passed by the legislature, or official letters signed by a majority of state legislators. Those states are California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and West Virginia.

In addition, nearly 500 cities, towns and counties, including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Philadelphia, have called for an amendment, and more than 2,000 elected officials nationwide are on record supporting one.

A 2010 Peter Hart poll found that 82 percent of Americans support congressional action to limit corporate spending on elections (which Citizens United unleashed), and that 79 percent support a constitutional amendment to accomplish this. This past September, an Associated Press poll found that 83 percent of Americans favor limits on the amount of money corporations, unions and other organizations can spend on our elections.

Public support is also bipartisan. The 2010 Peter Hart poll revealed that 68 percent of Republicans, 82 percent of independents, and 87 percent of Democrats support an amendment. The 2012 AP poll showed that 81 percent of Republicans, 78 percent of independents, and 85 percent of Democrats want to limit corporate, union and other outside spending.

Posted Sept. 24, 2013

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