Group Working to Undo Citizens United
CHARLESTON, W.Va. - According to people working to undo Citizens United, that Supreme Court decision giving corporations the right to make unlimited political contributions is so unpopular that it won't be the law of the land much longer. The group Move to Amend says corporations should not have the same constitutional rights - including free speech - as individuals.
Spokesman Dave Cobb, a member of the Move To Amend national leadership team, says polls have found that 80 percent of Americans across the political spectrum feel the same way.
"Whether they're a Democrat, a Republican, an Independent, a Green, a Libertarian, this is not just an issue. This is a principle about how our government is supposed to operate."
In "Citizens United vs. The Federal Election Commission," the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the government could not limit corporate and union political spending, because buying ads is a form of free speech. Separate rulings had found that corporations have many of the same constitutional rights as individuals, including free speech. The court decisions mean super-PACs (Political Action Committees) are able to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on attack ads this election.
Cobb says the decision is gut-level offensive to people. When his group puts forward a constitutional amendment to address it, he says, people will respond.
"We put it on the ballot, it passes by 70, 75, 84 percent of the vote. There is no doubt that Citizens United is not going to be the law of the land within 10 years."
Cobb says corporations can have privileges, but never the same rights as people. However, he notes that courts have overturned numerous laws because they violate the rights of corporations.
"The only time I believe the courts should actually overturn a democratically enacted law is if that law actually violates the rights of a living, breathing human being."
Cobb has traveled around the country for the last year and a half talking about the issue. He was in Charleston on Friday. He says he has never seen a court ruling that offends so many people so deeply, which is why he expects it to be changed - one way or another.
More information is available at www.movetoamend.org.