Good news for democracy: Lawmakers at all levels of government met with activists on Capitol Hill this week to sign a “Declaration for Democracy” in support of the effort to overturn the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision. That decision made legal unlimited campaign spending by corporations and unions.
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, author of one of the proposed amendments affecting the decision, said to the crowd:
The U.S. Constitution has served us very well, but when the Supreme Court says, for purposes of the First Amendment, that corporations are people, that writing checks from the company’s bank account is constitutionally protected speech and that attempts by the federal government and states to impose reasonable restrictions on campaign ads are unconstitutional, our democracy is in grave danger. There comes a time when an issue is so important that the only way to address it is by constitutional amendment.
Suzanne Merkelson at United Republic:
Each member echoed Sanders, especially focusing on the momentum building across the country for such an amendment. Hawaii, New Mexico, and this week, Vermont, have all passed resolutions in their state legislatures calling on Congress to overturn Citizens United. They’re joined by over 147 cities nationwide that have passed resolutions. The summit highlighted the Resolutions Week initiative spearheaded by Public Citizen and other organizations, aimed at passing local resolutions the week of June 11.
“We have developing here a grassroots movement,” [Democratic congressman Tom] Udall said.
The speakers had nothing but vitriol for Citizens United, which Schumer derided as the “worst [Supreme Court] decision since Plessy v. Ferguson,” which was the 1896 ruling that supported “separate but equal” racial segregation.