UNITED STATES—Rep. James P. McGovern(D) introduced two constitutional amendments on Tuesday, January 22, 2013 in an effort to overturn the Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, 558 U.S. 310 (2010). The 5-4 court decision held that the First Amendment prohibited the United States government from restricting any independent political expenditure by unions and corporations. The court case is often credited for the creation of “super PAC's,” political action committees that make no contributions to candidates or parties and are able to accept potentially unlimited discreet contributions from individuals, corporations and unions, and utilize them.
The first proposed amendment-- HJ Res 20--seeks to allow congress to pass campaign finance reform legislation that will withstand constitutional challenges by empowering Congress and the States to regulate political spending, according to a statement on the Congressman’s website.
“Three years have passed since the Supreme Court’s dreadful Citizens United decision, and we have seen a dramatic increase in the amount of corporate money flowing into our elections, drowning out the voices of ordinary American citizens eager to participate in the political process,” Said Rep. McGovern who represents the 2nd Worcester District.
HJ Res 21 ,the second proposed amendment, would overturn the Supreme Court decision allowing corporations to claim rights under the first amendment of the United States, and addresses protection of peoples inalienable rights under the constitution.
Dubbed the “People’s Rights Amendment” HJ Res. 21 will not only address corporate rights pertaining to campaign finance, but also clarifies corporations are not people, “We the people who ordain and establish this Constitution intend the rights protected by this Constitution to be the rights of natural persons,” further defining natural persons as not being any type of corporate entity.
“The fact is, corporations are not people, and the Constitution was never intended to give corporations the same rights as the American people. Corporations don’t breath. They don’t have kids. They don’t die in wars,” said McGovern, “The People’s Rights Amendment would overturn Citizens United and put a stop to the growing trend of corporations claiming first amendment rights. This amendment not only addresses corporate rights as they pertain to campaign finance, but is broader in scope to clarify that corporations are not people with constitutional rights.”
The full text of both amendments can be found on the House of Representatives website.
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