16 States Call to Overturn ‘Citizens United’
Oregon last week became the 16th state to call for a constitutional amendment to overturn the controversial 2010 Supreme Court ruling Citizens United v. FEC, which prohibits the government from restricting enormous independent political expenditures by corporations, associations, and labor unions.
A bipartisan group in the Oregon state legislature argued that Citizens United is unconstitutional and the influence of big money in politics should be curbed so that individual citizens have a greater say in their government. Legislators emphasized that “money is property and not speech, and the Congress of the United States, state legislatures and local legislative bodies should have the authority to regulate political contributions and expenditures.”
Oregon joins 15 other states across the country that have also rejected the Supreme Court decision, including California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, Rhode Island, Vermont, and West Virginia.
The increasing number of states that have shown opposition to Citizens United is a potent symbol of the public’s disgust with a political system that all too often treats the concerns of ordinary Americans as secondary to the interests of big donors. Members of Congress should heed the calls for reform from their home states, but state legislators shouldn’t rest on their laurels after asking their members of Congress to act. The states can take action on their own with reforms like Fair Elections that put elections back in the hands of We, the People.