In recognition of Constitution Day, dozens of legal minds from around the country signed an open letter calling for the passage of a 28th Amendment to overturn Citizens United, one of the most odious Supreme Court rulings in American history.
In 2010, the conservative wing of the high court struck down McCain-Feingold, a law that regulated campaign financing. The ruling allows corporations and the wealthy to basically spend as much money as they want on elections, and in secret through Super PACS. All of this pouring of money into campaigns means the rich have more power than the average citizen, which means candidates are more beholden to their biggest donors instead of the American people.
The decision has since allowed secret money to flow freely into campaign coffers, even foreign money that is supposed to be illegal.
This, of course, represents the biggest threat that democracy has ever faced.
And since the Supreme Court is not going to reverse the decision because conservatives still maintain the majority, the only way to overturn it is to pass a constitutional amendment.
Such an amendment would be the 28th Amendment and many of the top legal minds in the nation have endorsed the idea and are calling for Congress to take action, including Harvard Law professor Laurence Tribe.
“As attorneys, law professors, and former judges with a wide variety of political beliefs and affiliations, we are convinced that our nation’s current election spending framework is a root cause of dysfunction in our political system and requires fundamental reform,” the open letter begins.
“We believe that the Constitution guarantees every citizen the right to participate meaningfully in the political process,” the letter continues. “We believe in a political system where all citizens can trust that their ideas have a fair chance of being heard by their representatives. We believe that, in our system of representative democracy, officeholders should be responsive to the people they serve.”
“We therefore support a Constitutional amendment that would secure these rights and the American republic by enabling reasonable limits on political spending,” the letter concluded. “We commit to engage as citizens, informing ourselves and offering input while Americans across the political spectrum collaborate to craft, pass, and ratify such an amendment.”
Campaign finance reform needs to happen in this country. A few wealthy individuals should not be able to buy a politician and dictate the course of an election. That’s the antithesis of democracy. Transparency and putting clear limits on funding would go a long way to protect democracy and give the American people their voice back.
The Supreme Court can strike down a law, and apparently on weak legal grounds at that, but it can’t strike down a constitutional amendment, and that’s what it will take to get this job done. Several states are currently pushing such an amendment, and a proposal for an amendment has bi-partisan support in the House of the Representatives. The time has come to overturn this abominable Citizens United ruling and give the people their democracy back.
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