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This resolution under consideration by the state legislature, while symbolic, says in no uncertain terms that the state of Massachusetts wants the issue of the Citizen’s United ruling to be addressed by a constitutional amendment. It was introduced by Senator Eldridge, and is now also co-sponsored by our state Senator Eileen Donoghue. Thank you Senator Donoghue for doing it.
The text of the resolution:
1 WHEREAS, THE FIRST AMENDMENT TO THE UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION
2 WAS DESIGNED TO PROTECT THE FREE SPEECH RIGHTS OF PEOPLE, NOT
4 WHEREAS, FOR THE PAST THREE DECADES, A DIVIDED UNITED STATES
5 SUPREME COURT HAS TRANSFORMED THE FIRST AMENDMENT INTO A
6 POWERFUL TOOL FOR CORPORATIONS SEEKING TO EVADE AND INVALIDATE
7 DEMOCRATICALLY-ENACTED REFORMS;
8 WHEREAS, THIS CORPORATE TAKEOVER OF THE FIRST AMENDMENT HAS
9 REACHED ITS EXTREME CONCLUSION IN THE UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT’S
10 RECENT RULING IN CITIZENS UNITED V. FEC;
11 WHEREAS, THE UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT’S RULING IN CITIZENS
12 UNITED V. FEC OVERTURNED LONGSTANDING PRECEDENT PROHIBITING
13 CORPORATIONS FROM SPENDING THEIR GENERAL TREASURY FUNDS IN OUR
15 WHEREAS, THE UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT’S RULING IN CITIZENS
16 UNITED V. FEC WILL NOW UNLEASH A TORRENT OF CORPORATE MONEY IN OUR
17 POLITICAL PROCESS UNMATCHED BY ANY CAMPAIGN EXPENDITURE TOTALS IN
18 UNITED STATES HISTORY;
19 WHEREAS, THE UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT’S RULING IN CITIZENS
20 UNITED V. FEC PRESENTS A SERIOUS AND DIRECT THREAT TO OUR DEMOCRACY;
21 WHEREAS, THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES HAVE PREVIOUSLY USED
22 THE CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT PROCESS TO CORRECT THOSE
23 EGREGIOUSLY WRONG DECISIONS OF THE UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT
24 THAT GO TO THE HEART OF OUR DEMOCRACY AND SELF-GOVERNMENT;
25 NOW BE IT RESOLVED THAT THE COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS
26 HEREBY CALLS UPON THE UNITED STATES CONGRESS TO PASS AND SEND TO
27 THE STATES FOR RATIFICATION A CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT TO RESTORE
28 THE FIRST AMENDMENT AND FAIR ELECTIONS TO THE PEOPLE.
Ultimately, the only fix for Citizens United and the last few decades of rulings allowing the intrusion of big corporate money into our politics is a constitutional amendment. No laws that try to do anything substantial about this problem will pass muster with the current Supreme Court - they’ve made it clear that the speech of people with a lot of money is way more important than the speech of everyone else, and more important than a fair democracy free of corrupting influence.
A hearing is scheduled in the Joint Committee on the Judiciary, where the bill is still under review, on February 28.
What I like about this resolution, is that with it, we will know where our state legislators stand on this very crucial issue facing our country.
PS - also posted on BMG.
PPS - here is the bill on the MA legislature website - complete with history of the bill, more current list of cosponsors, and the time and place of the hearing, which is Feb 28 at 1:00 PM in room A-2.
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