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Group Working to Undo Citizens United

PHOTO: There is a strong movement brewing to limit corporate spending on political campaigns.
PHOTO: There is a strong movement brewing to limit corporate spending on political campaigns.
July 13, 2012

ALBUQUERQUE – Everything changes, including the law, but in a democratic republic such as ours, change can be slow.

Kaitlin Sopoci-Belknap, on the executive committee of Democracy Unlimited and the Move To Amend Coalition, says polls have found 80 percent of Americans – across the political spectrum – are unhappy with the Citizens United ruling, which gives corporations the right to make unlimited contributions to political campaigns. But she thinks it's going to take a lot of grassroots elbow grease to overturn it.

"It's highly unlikely that the Supreme Court will reconsider, and that is why our only remedy is a constitutional amendment, to basically overturn the Court and make clear that corporations are not people and money is not speech."

Sopoci-Belknap believes Citizens United will not stand, but she sees any change as a marathon, not a sprint, possibly taking years to accomplish. She believes there are two ways to undo the Citizens United decision, and says the most commonsense plan is to amend the Constitution.

"Congress could pass a resolution calling for a constitutional amendment and then send it to the states. And two-thirds of the state legislatures need to ratify it."

Another option for overturning the ruling would require three-quarters of the state legislatures to call for a constitutional convention. That is considered a difficult and unlikely way to proceed. Either way, says Sopoci-Belknap, a change is coming.

"When our representatives feel the heat, they see the light. And that's what we need to do, build the heat. It's just so ridiculous, billionaires basically being able to singlehandedly bankroll elections. I think that it's inevitable that this amendment will pass."

Renee Blake/Beth Blakeman, Public News Service - NM