Commentary: Citizens united against Citizens United
September 1, 2012
Thanks to Anne Macquarie for her insightful article on the impact of the terrible Supreme Court decision upholding Citizens United. She is so correct in her assessment that this decision puts extreme power into the hands of corporations and the wealthy elite, giving them the right to spend unlimited money anonymously for their own political gain. They are a bottomless pit of spending that is drowning out the voice of the people.
Two of the great fallacies of the Citizens United ruling are that it equates “money” with “speech,” deeming any attempt to regulate money spent in politics unconstitutional, and secondly, that corporations, as associations of people, have the same constitutional right to freedom of speech.
What this means is that our state and federal governments have no means to pass laws regulating the flood of money pouring into election campaigns. It’s projected that a mind-boggling $10 billion will be spent on political advertising this election cycle.
In one recent example of how this is playing out in the courts, the Supreme Court summarily reversed a decision of the Montana Supreme Court upholding a state law limiting independent political spending by corporations.
Let’s be clear about what’s going on: The current U.S. Supreme Court is actively taking away the right and responsibility of our elected state and federal legislatures to regulate political campaigns.
In her article, Ms. Macquarie quotes Justice John Paul Stevens’ dissenting opinion, which illustrates just how ridiculous and dangerous this ruling really is…
“Corporations have no consciences, no beliefs, no feelings, no thoughts, no desires. Corporations help structure and facilitate the activities of human beings, to be sure, and their ‘personhood’ often serves as a useful legal fiction. But they are not themselves members of ‘We, the People,’ by whom and for whom our Constitution was established.”
This ruling must be overturned if we want to protect a democracy of “We the People,” not “We the Corporations.”
It’s time for the people of this country to say “no” and put a stop to the unlimited flow of money flooding our elections and corrupting our political system.
There’s a grassroots movement across the country calling upon our local governments to pass resolutions supporting a constitutional amendment to reverse Citizens United and put an end to this very dangerous decision. More than 300 cities and at least eight states are calling for a constitutional amendment to overturn the high court ruling.
We would like to see Carson City join with these concerned cities and states in applying the political pressure necessary to amend this decision. We need to let our local government officials know this is an important concern for their constituency.
To sign a petition asking the Carson City mayor and Board of Supervisors to add our city to the list of cities and states that are taking action against this law, please visit http://signon.org/sign/carson-city-nv-board.
•-Sandra Whitteker and Janette Dean are Carson City residents.