ONTD Political

Millions of Voters Demand Constitutional Amendment to Overturn Citizens United

10:41 pm - 11/11/2012

Grassroots campaigns with the lofty goal of amending the US Constitution to overturn the Supreme Court's landmark 2010 Citizens United ruling got a thumbs up from millions of voters across country on Election Day.

Voters approved ballot measures in two states and more than 120 cities in several states calling upon legislators to pass an amendment to the Constitution to overturn the Citizens United ruling that unleashed the deluge of unfettered campaign spending that helped make 2012 the most expensive election season in history.

The ballot measures faced little organized opposition, and voters approved every measure placed on ballots by campaign finance reform activists across the country. In several cases, 70 percent to 80 percent of voters supported the measures.

The ballot measures and resolutions are non-binding, and it remains to be seen if elected officials will heed the wishes of voters and initiate the long march toward amending the US Constitution to restore campaign finance limits like those shattered by the Citizens United ruling.

Reformers, however, say the millions of voters who supported the ballot measures make it clear that Americans are fed up with endless streams of negative campaign ads and the record amounts of money spent on political campaigns that increasingly come from mega-wealthy and even secret donors.

"It's time to get the money out of politics, and the voters back in," said Aquene Freechild, senior organizer with Public Citizen's Democracy Is for People campaign.

In Colorado, voters approved Amendment 65 by a margin of nearly 74 percent to 26 percent. Amendment 65 instructs the state's congressional delegation to propose and support a constitutional amendment allowing Congress and the states to limit campaign contributions, and also instructs the state legislature to support such an amendment. Thirty-eight state legislatures are needed to ratify an amendment to the Constitution.

A similar statewide initiative passed in Montana with support from 75 percent of voters.

Earlier this year, the US Supreme Court stood by its Citizens United ruling and threw out a 100-year old Montana law banning corporate spending in state elections. Meanwhile, Montanans have watched an unfolding scandal surrounding a right-wing group called American Tradition Partnership that has challenged campaign contribution limits in court while facing allegations of illegal electioneering during the 2010 election.

"The Rocky Mountain rebellion that began in Montana is spreading, and folks in Washington had better pay attention,"" said Derek Cressman, who leads the Amend 2012 campaign for Common Cause, one of two main progressive groups that worked to place the measures on ballots.

Chicago voters approved an amendment measure by 74 percent, and local resolutions were passed in 120 cities and towns across Massachusetts. Local measures also passed in cities and towns in Oregon, Colorado, Illinois, Wisconsin, Ohio and California.

"The fact that voters in red Montana, blue Massachusetts, and purple Colorado all agree that Citizens United has to go tells you something very profound about the American values we all hold in common and how hopelessly out of touch the Supreme Court is with them," Cressman said.

A recent Associated Press poll found that 81 percent of Americans support limits on corporate campaign spending and a vast majority who have heard of Citizens United believe the decision has had a negative effect on elections.

Move to Amend, another group the placed measures to overturn Citizens United on the ballots in a list of cities, has pledged to abolish "corporate personhood."

In the Citizens United ruling, the Supreme Court majority argued that limiting donations to outside campaign groups such as super-PACs by corporations and unions was a violation of the First Amendment. Opponents such as Move to Amend say the court in effect granted free-speech rights normally enjoyed by persons to corporations and created "corporate personhood."
mollywobbles867 12th-Nov-2012 04:56 pm (UTC)
I have a bad feeling that Citizens United will be around for a very long time. I hope I'm wrong.
winniechili 12th-Nov-2012 04:59 pm (UTC)
Considering how little impact all that money had on the outcome of the election, I'm almost happy Citizens United exists, may they spend themselves silly with nothing to show for it for time to come.
snoozeen 12th-Nov-2012 05:27 pm (UTC)
lol same

i really enjoyed watching a fool and his money parted so easily.

Everything with karl rove right now is A freaking +.
keestone 13th-Nov-2012 12:24 pm (UTC)
I wish I could say the same, but I'm pretty sure ridiculous amounts of spending from out of state PACs killed two state propositions I would have really loved to see pass and nearly managed to pass one that never should have gotten that close.
thecityofdis 12th-Nov-2012 05:26 pm (UTC)
I do not like Citizens United at all, but this rubs me the wrong way:

how hopelessly out of touch the Supreme Court is with them

It's not SCOTUS's job to be ~in touch~ with American values; it's their job to interpret the law. I can think they made a bad call on this one, but it doesn't make them Out Of Touch(TM).
snoozeen 12th-Nov-2012 05:28 pm (UTC)
right? we need a body that doesn't give a shit about what the people want in the moment.

and if that sounded sarcastic, it isn't. i mean it. it's why the supreme court isn't elected by the people!
crossfire 12th-Nov-2012 05:45 pm (UTC)
I don't know why so many people seem to think the judicial branch should be their personal rubber stamp on things.
skellington1 12th-Nov-2012 07:03 pm (UTC)
True that.
teacoat 12th-Nov-2012 08:36 pm (UTC)
I don't know, I do think that Scalia and Thomas in particular ARE out of touch - with what the Founders intended the Constitution to be. Anyone who thinks they didn't want the Constitution to evolve with the times is some special kind of delusional.
moonshaz 12th-Nov-2012 09:20 pm (UTC)
wrestlingdog 12th-Nov-2012 08:42 pm (UTC)
Thank you.
keestone 13th-Nov-2012 12:27 pm (UTC)

I don't want the Supreme Court to reflect what the general population wants, I want them to be dispassionate, incorruptible, and right. In this case, I think they were wrong and have damaged the political process in their error.
shhh_its_s3cr3t 12th-Nov-2012 06:26 pm (UTC)
In a way I can understand how this would be a good thing. However, would we have seen a 47% gem fall from Mittens soulless lips if he wasn't allowed to have his little fundraisers? I don't know.
farchivist 12th-Nov-2012 07:21 pm (UTC)
What amuses me most about Citizens United right now is that Republicans are horrified that the ruling has backfired on them. A lot of them seem absolutely shocked that Democrats would make use of the ruling too. Did they really think the only people with money were themselves?
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