March 8, 2012 •
Measure the Result of Citizens United Decision
Citizens in 53 communities approved a measure on Vermont’s Town Meeting Day, coinciding with Super Tuesday, calling on the United States Congress to begin the process of amending the Constitution in order to clarify that corporations do not share the same rights as natural persons possess.
The push for such a measure is a result of the decision of the United States Supreme Court in the Citizen’s United case.
Bernie Sanders, U.S. Senator from Vermont, introduced such an amendment in December and appreciated support by his constituents for his efforts, noting “Unlike the U.S. Supreme Court, Town Meeting Day voters understood that corporations are not people.”
December 12, 2011 •
Federal House and Senate resolutions meant to blunt the Supreme Court’s Citizens United v. FEC decision have recently been submitted to Congress.
Senate Joint Resolution 33, introduced by Senator Bernie Sanders, and House Joint Resolution 90, introduced by Representative Theodore E. Deutch, both expressly exclude for-profit corporations from “the rights given to natural persons” and prohibit corporation spending in all elections, including ballot issues.
Additionally, the resolutions allow the government “to regulate and set limits on all election contributions and expenditures, including a candidate’s own spending, and to authorize the establishment of political committees to receive, spend, and publicly disclose the sources of those contributions and expenditures.’’
The amendment proposed reads as follows:
Section 1. The rights protected by the Constitution of the United States are the rights of natural persons and do not extend to for-profit corporations, limited liability companies, or other private entities established for business purposes or to promote business interests under the laws of any state, the United States, or any foreign state.
Section 2. Such corporate and other private entities established under law are subject to regulation by the people through the legislative process so long as such regulations are consistent with the powers of Congress and the States and do not limit the freedom of the press.
Section 3. Such corporate and other private entities shall be prohibited from making contributions or expenditures in any election of any candidate for public office or the vote upon any ballot measure submitted to the people.
Section 4. Congress and the States shall have the power to regulate and set limits on all election contributions and expenditures, including a candidate’s own spending, and to authorize the establishment of political committees to receive, spend, and publicly disclose the sources of those contributions and expenditures.
Other constitutional amendments introduced related to campaign finance can be found in our prior blog posts, including Constitutional Amendment to Control Campaign Financing and Constitutional Amendment to Reverse Citizens United.
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