U.S. Senate / Hearing on constitutional amendment regarding CITIZENS UNITED July 24th

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  • Next week, on Tuesday, July 24th, the U.S. Senate will hold its first-ever hearing on how a constitutional amendment can over-rule the Citizens United decision.

  • This spring and summer, the U.S. Supreme Court was forced to face the mistake it made in Citizens United, when Montana fought to protect its century-old law banning corporate money in elections. The Court doubled down on Citizens United, but not before Senators John McCain (R-AZ), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), and Attorneys General from 22 states, including Republicans from Idaho, Utah, and Washington State, all urged the Court to reconsider Citizens United. Free Speech For People played a key role in this story, leading the filing of friend-of-the-court briefs before the Montana Supreme Court and before the U.S. Supreme Court, and organizing a grassroots campaign calling on the Court to revisit Citizens United. Although the Court ruled against us again, this campaign added substantial bi-partisan strength to our movement, and that support will be crucial for our work ahead to pass an amendment.

  • Business leaders are calling for an amendment too. More than 2,000 business leaders have already joined our call for an amendment, recruited either by Free Speech For People or by our friends at the American Sustainable Business Council -- or through our GetTheDoughOut partnership with Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Ice Cream.

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MrsBJLee
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Comments

This could be fascinating. Given that the Citizens United ruling simply upheld the 1st and 14th amendments. What kind of proposal will the Democrats make that overturns freedom of speech and equal protection under the law and still gets most Americans on board?

I think a much better track might be to address campaign spending in a manner that applies to everyone and does not separate people into favored and disfavored groups. Perhaps simply rewriting BCRA so that it applies to everyone equally would accomplish the task.

Paleo-con
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

Money is not speech. It is property.

This is precisely about reestablishing a real sense of equal protection.

1 person = 1 voice = 1 vote. That is democracy.

1 $ = 1 voice = 1 vote. That is plutocracy.

Which do you want paleo-con?

ah2
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Dec. 13, 2010 9:00 pm

We need to do away with the premise of corporate personhood. If corporations or any other organization were not presumed to have 1st and 14th amendment rights as natural persons have, then government could not restrict something that does not exist. When the government starts restricting rights, they usually go to far. Those presumed rights of artificial corporations and organizations should not exist in the first place.

To accomplish that would also demand that the corporate/government collusion be eliminated.

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camaroman
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May. 9, 2012 10:30 am
Quote ah2:

Money is not speech. It is property.

This is precisely about reestablishing a real sense of equal protection.

1 person = 1 voice = 1 vote. That is democracy.

1 $ = 1 voice = 1 vote. That is plutocracy.

Which do you want paleo-con?

Is this sesame street.... I wasn't aware $1 bills could speak and physically vote. Bt in the cartoon lives of liberal.. apparently buildings and corporate charters have those abilities.

But what you are really saying is that you want to outlaw people from spending money on polical electioneering. And since Citizen United stated VERY Clearly that Since CEO's and Corporate officers were in fact US citizens. they couldn't have thier rights taken away by mere association to a corporation. So we need to outlaw EVERYONE from spending thier money on electioneering. Completely abandon the 1st amendment.

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Capital.0
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May. 22, 2012 2:21 pm

Probably if CEO's want to spend their shareholders money on politicians, they should take a vote from their shareholders.. Shareholders who agree to support the politician could forfeit that amount of their dividend profits.

Shareholders opposing the politician shouldn't find their dividends cut to support someone they disagree with.

Votes might be difficult...some shares are only held for minutes.

The CEO can provide an amount from his own personal funds that all Ameri cans are limited to. He needn't rob the corporate treasury.

A corporation is a dead piece of paper sitting in a safe. It's called a charter.. It's a birth certificate granted by the state.

I don't vote or spend money on politicians on behalf of my birth certificate. The whole thing is nonsensical.

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease".

polycarp2
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm
Quote polycarp2:

Probably if CEO's want to spend their shareholders money on politicians, they should take a vote from their shareholders.. Shareholders who agree to support the politician could forfeit that amount of their dividend profits.

I do not believe they require your micro managing. But let me guess, you would love to hire a bunch of "special" government agents to comb over every discussion and penny spent by a corporation... because all people associated with corporations are guilty until proven innocent. Maybe give those "special" agent a symbol to identify them, like say.... 2 lightening bolts.

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Capital.0
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May. 22, 2012 2:21 pm

I'm really curious as to what language people think will fix Citizens United.

The corporate personhood problem seems to be fixed easily by replacing "person" with "natural person" in the 14th Amendment.

Regardless of all the blathering of the justices, I think the CU decision is decided completely apart from any analysis of the 14th Amendment.

Congress shall make no law... abridging the freedom of speech

"There is no such thing as too much speech."

chilidog
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

Then you agree, chilidog, that by doing away with a corproation or any other organization's assumed, presumed 1st and 14th amendment rights, government then would have no reason to restrict or prohibit free speech as defined in the Constitution for natural persons and not artificial creations by legalitiy.

The Catholic Church claims "right of conscience" in contesting the providing of birth control to females under its insurance provisions. Can the "Catholic Church" or a corporation or any other artificial organization have a "conscience", muchless a right to it?

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camaroman
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May. 9, 2012 10:30 am

I don't agree with anything. I'm just trying to articulate what (I have read that others have said) how the Court decided Citizens United.

Speech cannot be regulated based upon WHO is speaking.

chilidog
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

Churches, organizations , nor corporations have a conscience, muchless speak. The only reason I agree with the citizens united decision is that , like Glasser, I do not want the government placing restrictions on the freedom of speech, for the simple reason that, the first victim of government restriction is never its last. Thusly, if corporations, churches and other organizations were never assumed to have 1st or 14th amendment protection in the first place, it would not be necessary for the government (the court in this case) to even consider restricting or prohibiting non-existant rights. We do not want to go down that slippery slope. Corporations, churches, nor organizations,(unions included) are not persons. Are we going to give gangs those same protections?

Sorry, had to edit. My bad typing.

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camaroman
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May. 9, 2012 10:30 am

Corporations are NOT PEOPLE. They CAN'T BE! If corporations are people then we couldn't sell corporations because that would be slavery! We can't sell people! So THERE! Corporations ARE NOT PEOPLE! Did anyone make that argument yet?

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MrsBJLee
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Feb. 17, 2012 8:45 am

I think the salient point is that ALL speech by a corporation is necessarily COMMERCIAL SPEECH, for which the courts have always allowed regulation.

Maybe Kagan or whoever didn't make that argument, maybe that was one instance where Kennedy et al decided they would actually act like judges and not rule on anything they weren't asked to.

chilidog
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

MrsBJLee - What in the BLUE BLAZES is going on here? That's 2 times in 1 day that we 100% agree.

The day that MONEY = SPEECH is the day that MY VOICE is equal to that of Rupert Murdoch's "NEWS CORPORATION.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/News_Corps

So take that CORPORATE CONGLOMERATE and put them up against FLETCHER CHRISTIAN.

As Handsome, clever, cool, intelligent, sometimes sardonic, and daring as I may be...

I am NO MATCH for some wrinkled old Austrailian Prune that's married to a Hot Chinese Sex Pot!!!

NEWS CORPORATION > Fletcher Christian

-----------------------

So... how about FLETCHER CHRISTIAN vs. TED TURNER!!!

I do know more about professional wrestiling than he does.

But...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ted_Turner

Ted Turner has a little more clout than I do.

He did marry "BARBARELLA!

So as much as it pains me... even though I am CLEARLY smarter than this hick...

TED TURNER > Fletcher Christian

I mean... as GREAT as I am. I can't get all liquored up and book myself on Charlie Rose and say this!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DSlB1nW4S54

Good Gawd! I'd like to get all liquored up and say some stuff to Charlie Rose! I promise... it would be his HIGHEST RATED show of ALL TIME!!!

He'd probably tuck his tail between his legs and run! He might even throw a WOMAN or TWO under the bus for his getaway! Like he did here!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jP6l39I47QA

---------------------------

So clearly... my vote does not equal a rich psychopath's money.

If it did... we wouldn't be in the mess we are in.

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Fletcher Christian
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Feb. 15, 2012 11:49 am

See Fletcher, I knew we could find some common ground. :-)

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MrsBJLee
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Feb. 17, 2012 8:45 am

I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'... July 24th is my B-day!

So... please... pretty please, with sugar on top... "raise" one for ol' Fletch on the 24th!

BTW... a GREAT TASTING, American Micro-brew would be best. After all... you do want to "taste" your beer don't you?

My favorite is a little something called "Hoppin' Frog" from Ohio. The next is STONE, "Ruination" from CA.

After that... anything from Leinenkugel or Samuel Adams will do.

Dear God! PLEASE! NOTHING from "budweiser", OK?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uY-Bg5Odi0M

If your "instincts" didn't already tell you... then let this movie show you the way...

BEER WARS

Watch it and see how "America" really works. Good ideas start from a full glass.

------------------------

The Keystone Pipeline is everything that is WRONG with the United States of America. Anyone who supports this endeavor deserves to be SLAM DUNKED IN A TOILET BOWL!

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Fletcher Christian
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Feb. 15, 2012 11:49 am

Just don't drink Guinness:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diageo

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_members_of_the_American_Legislative...

chilidog
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm
Quote ah2:

Money is not speech. It is property.

This is precisely about reestablishing a real sense of equal protection.

1 person = 1 voice = 1 vote. That is democracy.

1 $ = 1 voice = 1 vote. That is plutocracy.

Which do you want paleo-con?

I want 1 person = 1 voice = 1 vote. I am not sure what your reference to money is pertaining to. Are you suggesting that Citizens United has something to do with voting?

Paleo-con
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

I just didn't want everyone to forget this was comming up! Can we watch this on TV or over the net??

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MrsBJLee
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Feb. 17, 2012 8:45 am

If speech cannot be regulated based on who is speaking, why did the court not strike down the prohibitions against direct campaign contributions by corporations?

chilidog
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm
Quote chilidog:

If speech cannot be regulated based on who is speaking, why did the court not strike down the prohibitions against direct campaign contributions by corporations?

Because a campaign donation is not necessarily speech, campaign funds are used for much more then speech.

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WorkerBee
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Apr. 28, 2012 11:22 am
Quote MrsBJLee:

Corporations are NOT PEOPLE. They CAN'T BE! If corporations are people then we couldn't sell corporations because that would be slavery! We can't sell people! So THERE! Corporations ARE NOT PEOPLE! Did anyone make that argument yet?

Because "corporations are people" is not literal. Corporations are very clearly organizations of people.

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WorkerBee
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Apr. 28, 2012 11:22 am

Sorry.....either they are people LIKE MITT SAID or they are NOT!

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MrsBJLee
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Feb. 17, 2012 8:45 am

DOES ANYONE KNOW IF WE CAN WATCH THIS TOMORROW & WHAT TIME IT'S HAPPENING? ? ? ?

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MrsBJLee
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Feb. 17, 2012 8:45 am
Quote chilidog:

If speech cannot be regulated based on who is speaking, why did the court not strike down the prohibitions against direct campaign contributions by corporations?

Because the restrictions on contributions apply to everyone equally, and therefore do not favor one speaker over another. The Citizens United ruling was about ending unequal restrictions.

Paleo-con
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm
Quote MrsBJLee:

Sorry.....either they are people LIKE MITT SAID or they are NOT!

Let us try this... If a group of people are standing against a wall, you have a group of people standing against a wall. If that same group of people all work for XYZ Corporation, you still have a group of people standing against a wall. Their membership in an organization did not change the fact that they are still people. Since they are still people, they must be treated like people.

If, as you say, the people against the wall are no longer people, what did they become? They still have names, feelings, families, hobbies, and interest just like people.

Citizens United simply says: If Bob was a person before he joined an organization, he is still a person afterwards. Therefore, if Bob could speak before he joined an organization, he can still speak afterwards.

Paleo-con
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

Your example is NOT the same. We are not talking about the working people of the corporation! We are talking about the corporation itself and YOU KNOW IT! So although you think you are clever with your above example, it is NOT the same!

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MrsBJLee
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Feb. 17, 2012 8:45 am

The problem with the corproations as people in your analogy is giving the wall the same protections of the 1st and 14th amendment, as if they were people because people were standing against them. Corproations, churches, or gangs are not people.

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camaroman
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May. 9, 2012 10:30 am
Quote MrsBJLee:

Your example is NOT the same. We are not talking about the working people of the corporation! We are talking about the corporation itself and YOU KNOW IT! So although you think you are clever with your above example, it is NOT the same!

Actually, the example is exactly on target. The people that work in an organization are the organization. A corporation does NOT have personhood; it is the people that make a corporation that have personhood. I do see a clue in your writing that might help us understand why you are having a hard time with the concepts discussed. What exactly do you mean by "the corporation itself"? My contention is that since a corporate entity is not a person, it cannot be an "itself".

Paleo-con
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm
Quote camaroman:

The problem with the corproations as people in your analogy is giving the wall the same protections of the 1st and 14th amendment, as if they were people because people were standing against them. Corproations, churches, or gangs are not people.

The wall is just a wall and plays no part in the analogy other than being a location. The issue, and the only issue, is how the people are treated. Corporations, churches, or gangs are organizations of people. And those people have the same first amendment rights inside or outside the organization.

Paleo-con
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm
Quote Paleo-con:

If a group of people are standing against a wall, you have a group of people standing against a wall. If that same group of people all work for XYZ Corporation, you still have a group of people standing against a wall. Their membership in an organization did not change the fact that they are still people.

The right wingers love to talk about this "association of persons" that is a corporation, to include the employees. It doesn't. It is, at best, an "association of persons" who own stock in the corporation, which apparently according to the FEC may include up to 49.99999% of foreigners...

But that FEC rule might be obsolete with CU. I think everyone is barking up the wrong tree when they criticize CU based on the "persons" element of the 14th Amendment.

Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech.

chilidog
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

OK....today is the day! Is anyone watching this on TV? I'm going to try and find it on the tube. If you watched it please let us know how it went.

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MrsBJLee
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Feb. 17, 2012 8:45 am

HERE IS A LINK IF YOU WANT TO WATCH IT!

http://www.judiciary.senate.gov/hearings/hearing.cfm?id=2b53f9fbe82f752c41d78bced0513f11

It's supposed to happen at 2:30 PM so adjust that to your time zone.

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MrsBJLee
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Feb. 17, 2012 8:45 am

Here is a list of who is on the panel.

“Taking Back Our Democracy: Responding to Citizens United and the Rise of Super PACs” Tuesday, July 24, 2012Hart Senate Office Building, Room 2162:30 p.m.Panel I The Honorable Max BaucusUnited States SenatorState of Montana The Honorable Bernard SandersUnited States SenatorState of Vermont The Honorable Thomas UdallUnited States SenatorState of New Mexico The Honorable Donna EdwardsUnited States CongresswomanState of Maryland Panel II The Honorable Charles “Buddy” RoemerFormer Governor of LouisianaBaton Rouge, LA Lawrence LessigRoy L. Furman Professor of Law and LeadershipHarvard Law SchoolCambridge, MA Ilya ShapiroSenior FellowCato InstituteWashington, DC

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MrsBJLee
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Feb. 17, 2012 8:45 am

I CAN'T BELIEVE IT!! I'M NOT GOING TO BE ABLE TO WATCH BECAUSE OF A DOCTORS APPOINTMENT! IS ANYONE FROM THIS BOARD GOING TO LISTEN IN???

H E L L O 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 OUT THERE

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MrsBJLee
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Feb. 17, 2012 8:45 am

Back on response #33 I posted a link to watch this hearing. A video is now available to watch if you are interested. Senator Bernie Sanders spoke. I really liked what he said. If you don't want to watch the entire video but you want to watch Senator Sanders just move it forward to around the 30 minute mark.

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MrsBJLee
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