To the Editor;
January 21, 2020 is the 10th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s 5-4 Citizens United v. FEC ruling. The Justices declared government restrictions on “independent” political spending by corporations, unions and billionaires to be unconstitutional. The majority opinion declared that the 1st Amendment protects the “act of speech” by incorporated entities, whether we consider them to be people or not. It also granted constitutional rights to artificial entities which use them to avoid compliance with democratically enacted laws. They might as well have changed the first three words to the Constitution to “We the Corporations.”
Not surprisingly, this decision and other related Supreme Court decisions, has opened the floodgates to big money in our elections, and it is corrupting our democracy. As President Barack Obama said at the time, the decision “gives the special interests and their lobbyists even more power in Washington – while undermining the influence of average Americans who make small contributions to support their preferred candidates.” Ten years is long enough to live with the folly of this decision!
Only a Constitutional Amendment can overturn a Supreme Court decision and, at this point in time, only the We the People Act (HJR-48 in the House) has the requisite language to fix the problem. Representative William J. Keating is a co-sponsor of HJR-48 in the House. We’re hoping one of our two senators, Edward Markey or Elizabeth Warren, will introduce similar legislation in the Senate.
For the sake of our democracy and for the average citizen to have a voice in our system of self-government, I urge you to support what will be the 28thAmendment to our Constitution by calling Senator Warren’s office at (202) 224-4543 and Senator Markey’s office at (202) 224-2742 and asking them to introduce or co-sponsor a bill with language similar to that of HJR.48 in the Senate.
Jack W. Dean, Mattapoisett
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