January 21, 2012 is the second anniversary of the Supreme Court decision of CITIZENS UNITED v. FEDERAL ELECTION COMMISSION
Today, I choose to look forward to the day it is overturned. In that vein, I offer a survey of Constitutional Amendments proposed to achieve that end. I will analyze them in future diaries. This is just a reference.
Article V of the Constitution provides for two methods of amendment. Congress can propose an amendment with 2/3 approval from each chamber. Joint Resolutions are the vehicles used for this process. Once approved by Congress and signed by the President, 3/4 of the state legislatures must ratify it.
- Senate Joint Res. 29
- Senate Joint Res. 33
- Senate Joint Res. 35
- House Joint Res. 6
- House Joint Res. 7
- House Joint Res. 8
- House Joint Res. 65
- House Joint Res. 72
- House Joint Res. 78
- House Joint Res. 82
- House Joint Res. 86
- House Joint Res. 88
- House Joint Res. 90
- House Joint Res. 92
- House Joint Res. 97
- House Joint Res. 100
- United For The People
- Move to Amend
Congress shall have power to regulate the raising and spending of money and in kind equivalents with respect to Federal elections, including through setting limits on–
(1) the amount of contributions to candidates for nomination for election to, or for election to, Federal office; and
(2) the amount of expenditures that may be made by, in support of, or in opposition to such candidates.
A State shall have power to regulate the raising and spending of money and in kind equivalents with respect to State elections, including through setting limits on–
(1) the amount of contributions to candidates for nomination for election to, or for election to, State office; and
(2) the amount of expenditures that may be made by, in support of, or in opposition to such candidates.
Congress shall have power to implement and enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
The rights protected by the Constitution of the United States are the rights of natural persons and do not extend to for-profit corporations, limited liability companies, or other private entities established for business purposes or to promote business interests under the laws of any state, the United States, or any foreign state.
Such corporate and other private entities established under law are subject to regulation by the people through the legislative process so long as such regulations are consistent with the powers of Congress and the States and do not limit the freedom of the press.
Such corporate and other private entities shall be prohibited from making contributions or expenditures in any election of any candidate for public office or the vote upon any ballot measure submitted to the people.
Congress and the States shall have the power to regulate and set limits on all election contributions and expenditures, including a candidate’s own spending, and to authorize the establishment of political committees to receive, spend, and publicly disclose the sources of those contributions and expenditures.
Congress shall have the power to regulate the contribution of funds by corporations, entities organized and operated for profit, and labor organizations to a candidate for election to, or for nomination for election to, a Federal office, and the power to regulate the expenditure of funds by corporations, entities organized and operated for profit, and labor organizations made in support of, or opposition to, such candidates.
A State shall have the power to regulate the contribution of funds by corporations, entities organized and operated for profit, and labor organizations to a candidate for election to, or for nomination for election to, public office in the State, and the power to regulate the expenditure of funds by corporations, entities organized and operated for profit, and labor organizations made in support of, or opposition to, such candidates.
Nothing contained in this Amendment shall be construed to allow Congress or a State to make any law abridging the freedom of the press.
House Joint Resolutions and others after the fold…
Ii I analyze any more Democrat Bills, I will have to come up with a new category for them.
[Congressional Bills 112th Congress] [From the U.S. Government Printing Office] [H.J. Res. 78 Introduced in House (IH)] 112th CONGRESS 1st Session H. J. RES. 78 Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States to clarify the authority of Congress and the States to regulate the expenditure of funds for political activity by corporations. _______________________________________________________________________ IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES September 12, 2011 Ms. Edwards (for herself and Mr. Conyers) introduced the following joint resolution; which was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary _______________________________________________________________________ JOINT RESOLUTION Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States to clarify the authority of Congress and the States to regulate the expenditure of funds for political activity by corporations. Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled (two-thirds of each House concurring therein), That the following article is proposed as an amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which shall be valid to all intents and purposes as part of the Constitution when ratified by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States: ``Article-- ``Section 1. Nothing in this Constitution shall prohibit Congress and the States from imposing content-neutral regulations and restrictions on the expenditure of funds for political activity by any corporation, limited liability company, or other corporate entity, including but not limited to contributions in support of, or in opposition to, a candidate for public office. ``Section 2. Nothing contained in this Article shall be construed to abridge the freedom of the press.''. <all>
This is similar to my second proposed amendment in that it works to deny Constitutional protection to corporate political spending. This is probably the least disruptive method from a legal standpoint, but it retains the “regulating the hand that feeds” conflict of interest problem.
It does not include organized religion, which should not be engaging in political campaigns but do anyway.
To be fair, it does not include unions either. On the other hand, unions are associations of actual people, not “artificial persons”. They do not pose the same threat to our sovereignty as corporations. Perhaps someday an adjustment will need to be made, but that becomes a slippery slope problem.
The freedom of the press must be maintained, though the corporate media undermines the Fourth Estate through the corrupt use of ownership powers.
Constitutional Authority Statement:
[Congressional Record Volume 157, Number 134 (Monday, September 12, 2011)] [House] [Pages H6097-H6098]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]By Ms. EDWARDS: H.J. Res. 78. [[Page H6098]] Congress has the power to enact this legislation pursuant to the following: Article V of the Constitution.
- The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution,
- or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments,
- which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as Part of this Constitution, when
- ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States,
- or by Conventions in three fourths thereof,
as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress;
- that no Amendment which may be made prior to the Year One thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any Manner affect the first and fourth Clauses in the Ninth Section of the first Article;
- and that no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate.
This is a simple and straightforward answer to Citizens United. Without a mandate, I think that there would be many partisan battles over regulation. Especially when one party confuses corporations with living people.
I also think it needs an enacting clause. Other than that, I like it.
Restricted money goes out, unrestricted money comes back – the very definition of “money laundering”. DeLay either is lying or he does not believe that the law applies to him. I am quite certain that DeLay and his lawyer are familiar with the concept of money laundering.
DeLay makes pejorative statements about the court and the jury foreman, then claims he is not criticizing the jury. Might as well ask how hard it was for the prosecutor to find a court that was not biased in favor of republicans. Or maybe the grand jury “just sworn in” was the only one not yet corrupted? (Is there a standing Grand Jury, or are they all “just sworn in”?)
He was prosecuted because he was so successful in redistricting Texas? The republicans were so successful that the courts found they had illegally disenfranchised an entire segment of the voters.
Political prosecution? Political crime!
They claim that he was prosecuted because the Democrats turned people against politicians and Washington? Spin, Spin, Spin. Project, Project, Project. Lie, Lie, Lie.
There was no corporate money, except that Citizens United made it legal, except that the ruling was not in effect at the time of the crime, except … Their arguments are all over the map because they have no moral compass.
They will delay and appeal until political change gives him a free pass. It’s what Microsoft did ten years ago.
Do you think he will ever spend a day in jail?
No. Simply because the Court of Criminal Appeals is an elected court, it’s all Republican, it’s highly political. It’s known as a prosecutors’ court, but in this case I would bet that they’re going to rule for the defendant. The Third Court of Appeals, where the appeal will start, is also a Republican court.
Lou Dubose, via Salon.com
- “Tom DeLay Sentenced to Three Years in Prison” and related posts (news.firedoglake.com)
- The end of Tom DeLay (salon.com)
Conservative activist judges defied precedent and judicial restraint to give unrestrained political speech to corporate entities and special interests without regard for the chilling effect on free speech for natural citizens. Roberts and Alito violated some of the very principles they claimed (during their confirmation hearings) made a good judge.
There is much I would like to say on the subject, but Justice John Paul Stevens has already said what needs to be said far more thoroughly and in greater detail than I could ever hope to. With difficulty, I condensed part of his dissent into what I devoted a whole page to.
Just for a taste, he said things like:
The basic premise underlying the Court’s ruling is its iteration, and constant reiteration, of the proposition that the First Amendment bars regulatory distinctions based on a speaker’s identity, including its “identity” as a corporation. While that glittering generality has rhetorical appeal, it is not a correct statement of the law.
The Court’s ruling threatens to undermine the integrity of elected institutions across the Nation. The path it has taken to reach its outcome will, I fear, do damage to this institution (SCOTUS).
Essentially, five Justices were unhappy with the limited nature of the case before us, so they changed the case to give themselves an opportunity to change the law.
The unnecessary resort to a facial inquiry “run[s] contrary to the fundamental principle of judicial restraint that courts should neither anticipate a question of constitutional law in advance of the necessity of deciding it nor formulate a rule of constitutional law broader than is required by the precise facts to which it is to be applied.”. Scanting that principle “threaten[s] to short circuit the democratic process by preventing laws embodying the will of the people from being implemented in a manner consistent with the Constitution.”
It is easy to take a few sound bites out of context, stripping it of it’s full and intended meaning. In my excerpt, I strove to remain faithful to the dissenting opinion of Justice Stevens, and the length shows it. The result only covers a portion of the dissent, and I recommend reading the whole dissent. If you do not have the time, at least start with my excerpts on my “Citizens United” page.
- Scholars and Law Professors Call for Constitutional Amendment to Reverse Corporate Take Over of Elections (grantlawrence.blogspot.com)
- Is Citizens United Hurting American Democracy? (politics.usnews.com)
- What is a Judicial Restraint? (brainz.org)