Constitutional Amendment Seeks to Undo Damage Caused by Citizens United Ruling

Saturday, March 16, 2013
Sen. Bernie Sanders

Seeking to end corporate influence in U.S. elections, two members of Congress want the nation to adopt a constitutional amendment that would nullify the Citizens United ruling (pdf) by the U.S. Supreme Court that allowed unrestricted spending by big business and the wealthy.


Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) and Representative Ted Deutch (D-Florida) introduced a joint resolution calling for the amendment in an effort to undo the damage brought about by the controversial 2010 court decision, which did away with federal restrictions on contributions by corporations and unions.


“What the Supreme Court did in Citizens United,” said Sanders, “is to tell billionaires like the Koch brothers and Sheldon Adelson, ‘You own and control Wall Street. You own and control coal companies. You own and control oil companies. Now, for a very small percentage of your wealth, we’re going to give you the opportunity to own and control the United States government.’ That is the essence of what Citizens United is all about. That is why this disastrous decision must be reversed.”


Known as the “Democracy is for People Amendment,” the new law would bar all corporate entities from spending their general treasury funds in elections. It would do this by codifying in law that the right to vote belongs solely to people.


Sanders and Deutch admit that getting the amendment adopted will not be easy. Such a change would require the House and Senate each to approve it by a two-thirds vote, and it would have to be ratified by three-fourths of the states.


The proponents noted that since the Citizens United ruling, nine states and more than 300 local governments have passed resolutions calling for the court decision to be overturned.

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

Introduced Constitutional Amendment says: 'Democracy for People, Not Corporations' (by Jon Queally, Common Dreams)

The Democracy is for People Amendment (by Senator Bernie Sanders and Congressman Ted Deutch) (pdf)

The Democracy is for People Amendment: Legal Analysis (by Gregory L. Colvin) (pdf)

Citizens United Ruling Gave more than $500 Million to 4 Consulting Firms (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)

Hidden Fallout from Citizens United Case: Employers Allowed to Badger Employees with Election Propaganda (by Noel Brinkerhoff and David Wallechinsky, AllGov)

Citizens United Ruling Opened New Era in Campaign Financing (by Noel Brinkerhoff and David Wallechinsky, AllGov)

40% of Outside Campaign Money was Made Possible by Supreme Court Ruling (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)


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