Visible steps in Washington toward a Constitutional amendment

Visible steps in Washington toward a Constitutional amendment that will reverse the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision are welcome.

Last month Senator Durbin’s Subcommittee on The Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights approved a modified version of the Udall amendment proposal (Senate Bill 19). The original proposal addressed the “money in politics” matter by specifying that campaign contributions are not speech protected by the First Amendment, but fails to address the more general matter of “corporate personhood.” As pointed out in the attached Steering Committee notes, the Durbin modification does touch on this latter issue, but not in a direct way that Move To Amend (MTA) favors (House Joint Resolution 29). See an MTA letter at the following website: https://movetoamend.org/action-alert-contact-senate-subcommittee-constitution-civil-rights-and-human-rights-june-13.

At the local level, two County Democratic Party Committees have now adopted resolutions favoring amendment, namely Morgan County and Gallia County (not Athens!). People are urged to contact their local committee reps, of either party, urging their adoption of similar resolutions. (To find out who your rep is, contact the election board in your county.)

 

John Howell, DOC Coordinator

 

PS: If you would like to read arguments against the amendment proposals above, go to http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2014/06/amending-the-first-amendment-how-the-campaign-finance-amendment-will-silence-free-speech. To my mind they boil down to the argument that limitation on campaign spending favor incumbents. Some truth perhaps, but the imbalance that now favors the wealthy seems far greater than the imbalance of incumbency under conditions where all voices can be heard without being drowned out by the voice of big money. The argument also made by the Heritage Foundation article, namely that any restriction on free speech is unacceptable, cannot be taken seriously. Speech is restricted already in ways that are not contested, i.e., don’t yell “fire” in a theater, speak the truth under oath, etc. The consequences of speech restrictions matter.

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