Resolutions condemning the Supreme Court’s controversial Citizens United ruling have been introduced to the state legislatures of North Carolina, West Virginia, and New Hampshire.
The three pieces of symbolic legislation — SJR 109 in North Carolina, HR 9 in West Virginia, and HR 7 in New Hampshire — all call on Congress to pass a constitutional amendment to reverse the 2010 decision and limit money in politics.
The Citizens United ruling held that restrictions on independent political spending by corporations and unions violated the First Amendment. The ruling paved the way for Super PACs, outside campaign groups that can receive unlimited sums of money to influence elections as long as they do not coordinate with a candidate’s campaign.
North Carolina’s proposed resolution claims the ruling unleashed “the use of corporate money into the political process unmatched by any campaign expenditure totals in United States history,” while West Virginia’s proposed resolution says that “states should have the power to limit by law the influence of money in their political systems.” New Hampshire’s proposed resolution warns the ruling “presents a serious and direct threat to our democracy by drowning out the voices of ordinary citizens.”
The North Carolina and West Virginia resolutions were both filed on Tuesday. The New Hampshire resolution was filed in January.
More than 350 cities and 11 states have called on Congress to overturn the ruling, according to the advocacy group Public Citizen. Prominent Democrats such as President Barack Obama and Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) have also called for the ruling to be overturned with a constitutional amendment.
“It is inspiring to see local leaders drive a call to get Big Money out of politics in West Virginia,” Jonah Minkoff-Zern, a senior organizer with Public Citizen, said in a statement. “Passing a constitutional amendment is a momentous task, but one that can be done if we organize block by block, city by city, state by state.”
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and other House Democrats have introduced a constitutional amendment that would overturn the Citizens United ruling. But the proposed amendment, which must be passed by a two-thirds vote in both the House and the Senate, has little chance of being ratified any time soon due to Republican opposition.
The proposed amendment states: “Nothing in this Constitution shall be construed to forbid Congress or the States from imposing reasonable content-neutral limitations on private campaign contributions or independent election expenditures, or from enacting systems of public campaign financing, including those designed to restrict the influence of private wealth by offsetting campaign spending or independent expenditures with increased public funding.”
[Money in Congress via Shutterstock]