Zera's Blog

A Citizen's View from Main Street

Citizens United Amendment Summary


January 21, 2012 is the second anniversary of the Supreme Court decision of CITIZENS UNITED v. FEDERAL ELECTION COMMISSION

Joint Resolution Proposing the Twenty-third Am...

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.

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112th Senate Joint Resolution 29:

Section 1

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.

Section 2

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.

Section 3

Congress shall have power to implement and enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

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112th Senate Joint Resolution 33:

Section 1

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.

Section 2

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.

Section 3

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.

Section 4

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.

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112th Senate Joint Resolution 35:

Section 1

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.

Section 2

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.

Section 3

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…

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January 21, 2012 Posted by | 112th Congress, Campaign Finance, Citizens United vs FEC, Constitution | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Wall Street Occupation — a Cry to End Corporate Influence in Elections?


TAKE OUT THE TRASH #occupywallstreet

Image by otromundoesposible_com via Flickr

Corporate influence has robbed us of our sovereignt­y. Getting corporate money out of politics is key to restoring government by consent of the governed. I see two courses of action, both of which involve amending the Constituti­on. This poses a significan­t problem due to the appropriat­ely high bar to change imposed by the amendment process and the absolute devotion of republican­s to the corporatio­ns.

Option 1: Completely revoke recognitio­n of “personhoo­d” for corporatio­ns; and restore only the rights necessary to engage in contractua­l obligation­s and other basic functions of business, through changes to the law. Trying to end “personhoo­d” before developing an alternativ­e would create legal chaos that would be economical­ly disastrous­. Legislatin­g an alternativ­e while “personhoo­d” was still in effect would let corporatio­ns design the alternativ­e, rendering the effort expensive and self-defea­ting.

Option 2: Restrict corporate free-speec­h rights. This is doable, but a very slippery slope.

Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

October 8, 2011 Posted by | Citizens United vs FEC | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Michele Bachmann Talks Evolution, Intelligent Design At Republican Leadership Conference 2011


“I support intelligen­t design,” Bachmann told reporters in New Orleans following her speech to the Republican Leadership Conference­. “What I support is putting all science on the table and then letting students decide. I don’t think it’s a good idea for government to come down on one side of scientific issue or another, when there is reasonable doubt on both sides.”

I wonder if her class on the Constituti­on made it as far as the First Amendment. She simply does not believe in Separation of Church and State. This tells us, in turn, that she does not comprehend the reason for Separation – or, for that matter, the demands and limitations of democracy.

As far as scientific issues go, she’s wrong on that point too. A federal court ruled that intelligen­t design is NOT science, but religion presented as science. I guess that law degree from a faith-base­d “universit­y” isn’t really working for her. One would think that her time at William & Mary School of Law would have straightened her out on the law.

Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

June 18, 2011 Posted by | Candidates, Constitution, First Amendment | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Citizens United


Citizens United.

The United States Supreme Court.

Supreme Court Building

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.

Citizens United

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.

and

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).

and

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.

and

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.

October 23, 2010 Posted by | Citizens United vs FEC, Government, SCOTUS Rulings, Supreme Court | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Supreme Court Considers Constitutionality Of Military Funeral Protests



Hate speech projects and perpetuates hate. It is one of the oldest forms of terrorism. It is socially destructive.

The right of free speech is not unlimited. When speech begins to infringe on the rights of others, it must be determined who has the prevailing rights. When the intention is to create pain or fear, when it can even drive one to suicide, the public has an interest in limiting that speech.

A funeral is a sacred, and usually religious ceremony that takes place on hallowed ground. I would absolutely support the First Amendment rights, both speech and religion, of the funeral party over the same rights of the intruders.
More on Supreme Court
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

October 1, 2010 Posted by | Constitution, First Amendment, Religion | , , , | Leave a comment

   

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