LWV. “The Supreme Court has made a tragic mistake. Their decision announced today in Citizens United v. FEC is constitutionally irresponsible and will surely bring about an anti-democratic revolution in how we finance elections in this country.
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“The Supreme Court has made a tragic mistake. Their decision announced today in Citizens United v. FEC is constitutionally irresponsible and will surely bring about an anti-democratic revolution in how we finance elections in this country.
Today, basic pillars of American democracy have been undermined – that elections should not be corrupted by vast corporate wealth and that the voters should be at the center of our democratic system.”
Mary G. Wilson, LWV Press Release1/21/10
We the People
Free and Sovereign
Subordinate & Accountable
Time limited charter passed by a state legislature
Could not influence elections or legislation
Terminated for public harm
Profit was incidental
Gave former slaves
legal protections of the Constitution.
“…nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”
This case has been cited as precedent to hold that a corporation is a “natural person.”
(14th Amendment protection)
brought before the
Supreme Court between
1890 and 1910,
19 dealt with African Americans, 288 dealt with corporations.
Michigan Supreme Court ruled,
“A business corporation is… primarily for the profit of the stockholders.”
Political money is equivalent to speech.
--expanded 1st Amendment protections to include political expenditures.
Money = Speech
Corporations won the 1st Amendment right to spend money on
ballot initiatives and referenda.
Chief Justice Rehnquist wrote the dissent.
“The question presented today, whether business corporations have a constitutionally protected liberty to engage in political activities, has never been squarely addressed by any previous decision of this Court.
However,…the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the Congress of the United States, and the legislatures of 30 other States…have concluded that restrictions upon the political activity of business corporations are both politically desirable and constitutionally permissible. The judgment of such a broad consensus of governmental bodies expressed over a period of many decades is entitled to considerable deference from this Court.”
DISSENT: 1st National Bank of Boston v. Bellotti
The US Supreme Court allows
corporations & unions to spend
supporting or opposing
candidates and issues in elections.
“The appearance of influence … will not cause the electorate to lose faith in our democracy.”
From Citizens United v. FEC majority opinion 1/21/10
Based on two US Supreme Court precedents:
Corporation is a Person
Money = Speech
Of the 100 largest economies on Earth, 47 are countries --- 53 are corporations.
The 400 richest Americans own more wealth than the poorest 150 million Americans.
Only human beings, and not other entities, have constitutional rights.
Money is not equivalent to speech and, therefore, can be regulated in the political process.
Supreme Court ruled itself supreme among
the 3 branches of government.
Established judicial review.
Ask LWV to support Move to Amend!
“A member of Congress…reluctantly confirmed for me that any candidate who runs for national office must go to…the big banks
to raise money.”
NYTDecember 1, 2010
Two years after the “too big to fail” bailout, the 5 largest banks were 20% larger
than before the crisis.
The 5 largest banks in the US control
$8.6 trillion in assets = 60% of GDP.
Thomas Hoenig 12/1/10
…focusing less on the INSTITUTIONS AND RULES enabling corporations to apply that power to harm the Earth and its inhabitants.”
Corporations won 4th Amendment
“search and seizure” protection.
Justice Harlan dissented: “…the power of the government…to look into the books, records & papers of a corporation of its own creation, to ascertain whether that corporation has obeyed or is defying the law, will be greatly curtailed, if not destroyed.”
Section 1 (A corporation is not a person and can be regulated)
The rights protected by the Constitution of the United States are the rights of natural persons only.
Artificial entities, such as corporations, limited liability companies, and other entities, established by the laws of any State, the United States, or any foreign state shall have no rights under this Constitution and are subject to regulation by the People, through Federal, State, or local law.
The privileges of artificial entities shall be determined by the People, through Federal, State, or local law, and shall not be construed to be inherent or inalienable.
Section 2(Money is not speech and can be regulated)
Federal, State and local government shall regulate, limit, or prohibit contributions and expenditures, including a candidate’s own contributions and expenditures, for the purpose of influencing in any way the election of any candidate for public office or any ballot measure.
Federal, State and local government shall require that any permissible contributions and expenditures be publicly disclosed.
The judiciary shall not construe the spending of money to influence elections to be speech under the First Amendment.
Nothing contained in this amendment shall be construed to abridge the freedom of the press.