Senate Permits Debate on Proposed Constitutional Amendment Reversing Citizens United Ruling

Posted Sept. 10, 2014

MP3 Interview with Jonah Minkoff-Zern, director of Public Citizen's Democracy is for People campaign, conducted by Scott Harris

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As momentum has gathered to overturn the controversial Supreme Court rulings in the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission and McCutcheon v. FEC cases that opened the floodgates of unlimited and unaccountable money in U.S. election campaigns, activists across the country have been working hard to raise the issue at both the state and federal levels.

On Sept. 8, the U.S. Senate voted 79-to-18 to allow debate and a vote on the proposed "Democracy For All" constitutional amendment that would overturn much of the campaign finance precedents set forth by the conservative majority in the high court’s recent rulings. The amendment, sponsored by Sen. Tom Udall, D-New Mexico, would authorize Congress and the states to regulate and limit fundraising and spending on federal candidates and would also prevent the Supreme Court from reversing future campaign finance regulations passed by Congress.

Although Senate Democrats temporarily overcame a possible Republican filibuster, the amendment will likely be defeated because a two-thirds vote is required in both the Senate and House, followed by two-thirds of the 50 states ratifying the measure in order to become part of the U.S. Constitution. Sen. Udall, a lead sponsor of the bill, said before the vote, "We are here to say as strongly and forcefully as we can, 'Corporations are not people.' And were are here to take back our democracy from billionaires." Republicans counter by asserting that campaign spending is a form of free speech. Between The Lines’ Scott Harris spoke with Jonah Minkoff-Zern, director of Public Citizen's Democracy is for People campaign, whose group turned in 3 million petition signatures supporting the Democaracy For All amendment. Here, he talks about the significance of the Senate vote and what many believe will be a long battle to victory.

Find more information on groups working to overturn the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling by visiting Public Citizen's Democracy is for People campaign at democracyisforpeople.org.

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