Weather Forecast


Time to overturn court’s bad decision

Jonah Goldberg, syndicated columnist and editor of National Review Online, recently wrote a story accusing Democrats of hypocritically insisting that legislators should not attempt to “tinker or tamper” with the Constitution while advocating for a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United. But of course, this is patently false, since Democrats have frequently supported principles like expanding the rights of women and minorities, simply because we believe that amendments guaranteeing these principles are the right things to stand up for. Isn’t it obvious that whenever we challenge special interests that want to bend the Constitution in favor of entrenched power, it’s because we sincerely desire to protect ordinary individuals’ rights? Remember, the First Amendment unequivocally grants us the right to disagree with the Supreme Court on controversial issues.

Citizens United began when the Court agreed to review a case about “stealth” political ads, aired shortly before elections with the purpose of supporting partisan political interests. A particularly virulent and critical film falsely portraying Hillary Clinton was the focus of pertinent arguments. Although the Supreme Court upheld the need for political disclosure, it used this case to mysteriously morph into an argument about the rights of corporations to make unlimited political donations. A 5-4 majority of justices, granted corporate entities the right to make contributions as forms of free speech like individuals enjoy — effectively defining corporations as having legal individual status and the right to make enormous contributions to political causes as forms of “free speech.” But I do not agree.

Polls done by the Washington Post in February 2010, and others, have consistently affirmed that as many as 80 percent of Americans oppose Citizens United. Fifty U.S. senators now support overturning it, and despite GOP attempts to filibuster the amendment, a companion bill was introduced in the House with the support of 117 co-sponsors.

Democrats use Super- PACs like Republicans do — they have to. But most Democrats support sane limits on campaign contributions. Most Republicans don’t. It’s painfully obvious that corporations are not people. So we, as ordinary Americans, must fight against turning the political process over to the wealthiest special interests.

This is supposed to be government “of … by … and for the people” — not, “of … buy … and for corporations.”

If all Americans deserve a say in who governs, we must clearly offer bipartisan support to overturn this extremely biased decision of the Supreme Court.