Skip to comments.Bernie Sanders’ New Bid to Overturn Citizens United Ruling
Posted on 12/09/2011 11:43:17 AM PST by ropin71
Bernie Sanders, Vermonts independent senator and the only avowed socialist in the U.S. Senate, announced Thursday afternoon that he has officially proposed a constitutional amendment overturning the Supreme Courts controversial Citizens United decision from 2010. (Sanders is also an occasional contributor to In These Times.)
That ruling gutted a portion of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law, passed in 2002, which forbid electoral advertising by corporations, nonprofits and unions. Reactions to the decision mostly split along partisan lines, with Republicans calling it a blow for the First Amendment and Democrats predicting it would allow corporate influence to undermine the democratic process.
Sanders amendment is identical to one introduced by Representative Ted Deutsch (D-Fla.) in the House of Representatives earlier this year. It is not, however, the only amendment aimed at reversing Citizens United. No fewer than five such amendments have been proposed, most recently in November, when half a dozen Democratic senatorsincluding Dick Durbin of Illinois, the Senate Dems second-in-commandfiled their own version.
But the competing proposals are far from redundant. Most of the would-be amendments up to this point have simply given the federal government explicit power to regulate election-related spending by candidates, unaffiliated individuals and corporations; the Sanders-Deutsch measure goes much further, declaring that the Constitution only protects the rights of natural persons, and not private entities established for business purposes.
That kind of language is likely to be supported by many liberals and the Occupy movement, whose general assemblies often feature signs calling for an end to corporate personhood. Yet because Sanders proposal could be interpreted to deny all organizationsincluding not-for-profit advocacy groups, religious establishments and unionsany protection under the First Amendment, or the rest of the Constitution, even in nonelectoral circumstances, it will also probably raise vigorous objections from civil libertarians on the right and the left. The ACLU, for example, officially supported the Citizens United decision because it opposed the original (and much less restrictive) limits on speech in the McCain-Feingold law.
None of the proposals are expected to reach the two-thirds majorities they need to pass in each house of Congress. But as we approach the first presidential election since the Citizens United ruling, Senator Sanders move may indicate that the debate over the ruling's effects is not going to go away any time soon.
Say what you will about Bernie, but you’ve got to give him his props in several areas.
He is, was, and always will be a Socialist. He is very up-front about it and has never tried to hide the fact.
He comes out and plainly advocates for Socialist policies, without trying to hide, disguise, or sneak them by you camouflaged as something else.
He is going about addressing his grievance the proper way, by trying to amend the Constitution. Not via clever end-runs or judicial fiat as is typical of liberals.
I’d rather deal with an honest Commie like Bernie than a thousand Barack Obamas or Mitt Romneys talking out both sides of their mouth any day.
He wanted to unionize IBM in Vermont, causing them to pull out of building a billion dollar expansion in the state.
He cost the state many millions of dollars and the loss of hundreds of jobs.
I give him no props.
He and we, would be much better off if he were living in somebody else's country.
The rest of them are just too cowardly to admit it......................
Watch out for exceptions for the unions. After all, they’re a protected class
Careful what you ask for Bernie. Under this corporations wouldn't enjoy freedom of the press. Thus, virtually every newspaper, publisher, radio and television network would be subject to federal regulation with regard to content. Is that what you really want?