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Over 120 Groups Call on Congress to Back Constitutional Amendment Overturning Citizens United

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/09/05/over-120-groups-call-congress-back-constitutional-amendment-overturning-citizens

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The money whores won’t ever let that happen. Our government is a House of Ill Repute.

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Can science help solve this Citizens United fiasco?

https://www.ffwd.org/blog/tech-nonprofits/democracy-earth/

Seriously? HJ Res 2? It is a recipe for constitutional disaster. Nothing is actionable. Everything is permissible. Your description of it is a whitewash. Your description of the problem is astonishingly superficial. It did not begin with Citizens United. It began LONG before that.

If you seriously want to solve the problem, which apparently you do not, you will support HJ Res 48.

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I think we should at least try to roll things back. That would mean Citizens United is first on the list.

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Gary,

I’m sorry, but superficial and empty efforts rarely produce anything positive and usually further delay serious change. HJ Res 2 is a complete sham, blue smoke and mirrors, concocted by House leadership to pull the wool over voters’ eyes by pretending they are working on something that they have zero intention to do. Read it. It doesn’t even do anything about CU. It will LET someone do something about CU but it does nothing to require it. It will also LET someone do the opposite, making Santa Clara, Dodge v. FOrd, CU, SpeechNow, etc. far worse. As I said earlier, nothing is actionable, and everything is permitted under it.

But it is not intended to be passed. It doesn’t read like any of the existing 27 amendments. It is all show and no go. If House leadership were truly interested in this issue, they would not hold orientations for freshmen members with no one other than lobbyists/big money funders. If House leadership were truly interest in this issue, they would be talking about it, which they haven’t since forever.

BTW, you mentioned “bi-partisan” in the description. That is technically correct. But HJ Res 2’s predecessors never had a GOP member sign on. Until this year, only HJ Res 48 had a Republican, Walter Jones, on board. Somehow that has never been enough for you to write about HJ Res 48. But Rep. Jones died in Feb of this year; so HJ Res 48 is currently without a GOP co-sponsor.

I dare you to generate a piece honestly contrasting the two. Who knows, you might generate truly useful action.

Norm

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Anything that fails to address the core definition of a corporation as being a legal person is a fail out of the gate.

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The Amendment Itself should prohibit Corporations or other artificial entities which are not Natural Persons from acting in any way to Influence an American Election.

Corporations are NOT People.

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The Very Rich are so rich they can bribe anyone. Anyone. There will be no progressive agenda unless it suits the Very Rich. They just offered a choice of a multi-million dollar bribe to an Iranian oil tanker captain to divert his ship to a hostile country for seizure or personal financial sanctions upon himself if he did not. Straight up bribe. I ask all of you on this thread; what’s your price? How much is your ideology worth to you? If you and your great grandchildren never had to work again, would you sell out?
That’s what the progressives are up against.

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As CommonPaine (thanks Norm!) points out there are serious differences and intent between HJ res 2 and HJ res 48 sponsored respectively by Ted Deutch and Pramila Jayapal. There may not be problems if both are passed to fully remove big-money and corporate personhood from politics - Jayapal is a co-sponsor of HJ 2

H.J.Res.2 - Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States relating to contributions and expenditures intended to affect elections.- 138 co-sponsors

H.J.Res.48 - Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States providing that the rights extended by the Constitution are the rights of natural persons only. - 63 co-sponsors


"The (Jayapal) amendment requires federal, state, and local government to (1) regulate, limit, or prohibit election contributions and expenditures, including a candidate’s own contributions and expenditures; and (2) require that any permissible contributions and expenditures be publicly disclosed. The judiciary is prohibited from construing the spending of money to influence elections to be speech under the First Amendment, and the amendment shall not be construed to abridge the freedom of the press"

Deutch is a clinton/obama centrist and Israeli tool, who wouldn’t support real reforms absent weasel-room or take big-money and foreign manipulations (Israel) out of our politics.

Jayapal is a proven champion of progressive issues and true reformer. I trust her judgment and integrity a hell of a lot more than any neo-liberal centrist.

Seems pretty damn clear big-money is an atrocity and intolerable abuse and corruption of all political processes that must be ended now completely! Corporations must not ever be considered people or included under Constitutional protections and big-money manipulations and domination of elections ended.

I see elsewhere around the web how people miss Mr. O without remembering what he did. This makes me so sad. Time and time again it was shown he was more conservative than Nixon for gawds sake and people miss that? O my…

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This “campaign” has been a huge JOKE from the get-go - what 8 years ago. It is quite obvious that Congress will never willingly vote away their cash cows! ever.

If this ridiculous farce is what Common Dreams is pushing, I am having second thoughts about your progressive credentials!

Author sez:
“Major civil rights, environmental, labor, LGBTQ, and good government groups sent a letter to lawmakers …”

Did they insert a large check? When these activists and the people they represent own more congresspersons than do the corporations, they may get the change they seek.

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I hope John Roberts realizes that he and the SCOTUS on his watch have trashed our democracy! Those garden tools SOLD US out to their corporate pimps!

This is all very true, but may seem a bit like an off-the-wall diatribe to those who are not up on the details of what’s going on.

There are two main differences between HJR2 & HJR48: (1) HJR2 says Congress “may” regulate campaign finance, whereas HJR48 says it “shall.” (It is perhaps worth recalling Fredrick Douglas’ observation that power concedes nothing without a demand.); (2) HJR2 says nothing about whether Corporations and similar creatures of law have the same civil rights as natural persons under the Constitution, whereas HJR48 proscribes that very clearly.

The latter is particularly significant because SCOTUS gave corporations protections under the 5th & 14th amendments all the way back in the 19th century, and those protections have since been used time and again in the courts to prevent federal, state & local governments from regulating and even getting full disclosure from corporations. And this fact really shows in our laws protecting the environment and public health.

For further information I strongly encourage readers to familiarize themselves with the web site of the primary advocacy group behind HJR48, Move-to-Amend.

Re: off-the-wall diatribe

I expected far more, perhaps naively, from Common Dreams and most of those 120 groups. Pushing nonsense is no way to establish credibility. Neither is it a means for enhancing public knowledge about an issue. IMO Common Dreams should have analyzed the competing resolutions and come to some conclusions about them before hyping nonsense.

You did a far better job in a few lines than Common Dreams did in the entire article. A full analysis would be far more lengthy than most comment rules allow; so I will give you a pass on not mentioning another key difference. You quite correctly noted a couple primary differences in wording, (HJ Res 48’s command, “shall”, instead of HJ Res 2’s permission, “may”, and HJ Res 48’s revocation of corporate constitutional personhood) you failed to mention HJ Res 48’s revocation of spending money on elections as the equivalent of free speech. HJ Res 2 is also totally silent on that point.

IOW, HJ Res 2 creates no new legal principles upon which the courts and the public can rely in order to protect our interests and rights against the ever increasing entitilements of monopolists and oligarchs. Neither does it specifically revoke two of the most egregious legal doctrines created and used by the Supreme Court to enhance the interests and political power of wealth and corporations. HJ Res 48 does specifically revoke both.

Common dreams just dropped a couple rungs on my credibility ladder.

So, my point in my previous comment was this, what happens if HJ Res 2 is passed and ratified? What new or old rights does it grant or resurrect? The answer to both questions is, it depends on where you live. Should you live in a progressive state like California, the state will likely pass laws that will better control the outsized influence of corporations and individuals like the (remaining) Koch brothers. If you live in a regressively run and heavily gerrymandered state like N Carolina, Ohio or Wisconsin, the state could do just the opposite by eliminating all campaign finance limits of any sort and by extending to corporations more 1st, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th and 14th Amendment rights to the detriment of living, breathing human beings. And none of that could be challenged under the amendment proposed by HJ Res 2.

There is no resolution that’s going to matter now, not while the Supreme Court is dominated by the Roberts five and Republicans control the Senate. The time when things mattered was when there was a vacant Supreme Court seat, in 2016. Some “progressives” here told me, repeatedly, that it didn’t matter though, voting your conscious was more important (conscious excludes court consideration when your vote can make actually difference, apparently). Oh well.

Your first sentence is true enough. But enlisting support for action comes before enactment. We had all the chess pieces in place in 2009. But nothing happened on this. One can, rightly, say that 2009 was before the CU decision. But everything that led up to that obscene decision had long been screwing up our democracy. POCLAD had been on the case for decades, but the media was almost entirely mute, and the politicians were somewhere else. According to analyses by Piketty and by Princeton, and others, our “representatives” were busy doing the bidding of the wealthy and Big Business. Voting blue only works when we put the right blue candidates on the ballot.

No other entity but Supreme Court justices make constitutional decisions like Citizens United in our country. Conservatives would never give up a vacant seat for cockamamie reasons like some progressives deluded themselves into doing, never. The Court will be a yoke for any progressive president and Congress, or center-left president and Congress, for years to come. Read about the Taft Court and what it did to laws emanating from the Progressive Era to understand what it can do. I’ll always remember the pure stupidity I was confronted with for arguments about ignoring the Court in 2016.