“Taking Elections Back From the Corporations and the Constitution Back from the Gang of Five”
February 03, 2010, 6:00am

By Robert Borosage — OurFuture.org

Rep. Donna Edwards (D-Md) and Rep. John Conyers (D-Mi) and chair of the House Judiciary Committee today introduced an amendment to the Constitution to overturn the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizen’s United that gave corporations the right to spend unlimited funds in election campaigns as a matter of free speech.

Edwards, a brilliant first term legislator with a long commitment to free elections, quoted Justice Lewis Brandeis: ‘We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can’t have both.’ It is time we remove corporate influence from our policies and our politics. We cannot allow corporations to dominate our elections, to do so would be both undemocratic and unfair to ordinary citizens.”

“The ruling reached by the Roberts’ Court overturned decades of legal precedent by allowing corporations unfettered spending in our political campaigns,” said Congresswoman Edwards. “Another law will not rectify this disastrous decision. A Constitutional Amendment is necessary to undo what this Court has done.”

Judiciary Chair Conyers concurred and co-sponsored the amendment, noting that “”The Supreme Court’s idea that corporate political is no different than an individual citizen’s political speech was not the law when the Constitution was written, was not the law before the Supreme Court’s decision two weeks ago, and should not be the law in the future.”

Senator John Kerry announced a plan to introduce a similar amendment in the Senate

A broad coalition of groups are joining together to push the drive for the amendment, while supporting legislation to limit the Court’s ruling.

This should lead to campaigns in every state to pass the amendment – and force legislators to decide which side they are on: Should corporations be guaranteed the same free speech rights as American citizens?

The Supreme Court’s decision – imposed by the gang of five activist conservative justices – is wrong on the law, wrong on the history, wrong on the principles of a Republic (as opposed to the interests of Republicans). Scorning decades of precedent, and dozens of settled federal and state laws, the right-wing majority imposed a power-grab every bit as egregious as the decision in Bush v Gore that made Bush president by shutting down the vote count in Florida.

If citizens begin to understand the stakes, then this decision may well backfire on the Gang of Five and their conservative allies.

See amendment and Edwards and Conyers’ statement here: http://donnaedwards.house.gov/index.cfm?sectionid=54&sectiontree=29,54&itemid=121

See Edwards’ floor speech on issue here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ysUr0fj3aRY

For more information go to www.freespeechforpeople.org.