Submitted by ub on Fri, 08/15/2014 - 11:07

A constitutional amendment to overturn the Citizens United decision and to restore the principle of one voice, one vote in our electoral process has been introduced.

This Democracy for All Amendment would reverse destructive Supreme Court decisions like Citizens United v. FEC, that have given corporations and the wealthiest donors the right to buy unlimited influence in our elections. Crowley joins Reps. Over 100 members of US Congress support the constitutional amendment.

Supreme Court decisions like Citizens United have cast a dark cloud over our democracy by bringing us dangerously closer to an electoral system where the voices of everyday Americans are easily, and all too often, drowned out by corporations, shadowy front groups, and a handful of billionaires.. By reversing Citizens United and related cases, the Democracy for All Amendment will restore and protect the integrity of our electoral process – one of the pillars of our nation’s democracy.

The Democracy for All Amendment is the House companion to S.J. Res. 19, the constitutional amendment slated for a historic vote in the U.S. Senate this year.

Since the 2010 Citizens United decision, Americans have witnessed an unprecedented explosion of big money in state and federal elections. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, outside spending tripled between 2008 and 2012, and 93 percent of the more than $600 million spent in 2012 by Super PACs came from about 3,300 donors, or .0011 percent of the American population.

Beyond the explosion of outside spending invited by the Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United, this decision also dramatically undermined the legitimacy of all campaign finance laws. In his far-reaching opinion for the 5-4 majority, Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy held that any election law that goes beyond preventing quid pro quo, bribery-style corruption between candidates and donors risks violating the First Amendment. Unfortunately, in 2014 the Supreme Court only further embraced this narrow understanding of corruption in McCutcheon v. FEC when it invalidated aggregate limits on how much a single donor could spend per election cycle. Writing for the 5-4 majority, Chief Justice John Roberts even went so far as to argue that the influence awarded to donors is not a corrupting quid pro quo transaction, but a form of political speech protected by the First Amendment.

Sponsored in the U.S. Senate by Senator Tom Udall (D-NM), S. J. Res. 19 was amended and passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee on July 10, 2014. The provisions within the Democracy for All Amendment are the product of months of collaboration between the House and Senate sponsors of previously proposed constitutional amendments, constitutional scholars, and grassroots advocacy organizations committed to restoring the integrity of our electoral process. In addition to overturning recent rulings like Citizens United and McCutcheon, the Democracy for All Amendment also reverses the Supreme Court’s controversial holding in Buckley v. Valeo, which invalidated a number of provisions in the post-Watergate Federal Election Campaign Act of 1974 and first established that spending money in elections is a form of constitutionally protected speech.

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