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Obama Slams Citizens United
Yesterday, President Obama issued a first-ever statement in support of a constitutional amendment to overturn the U.S. Supreme Court’sCitizens United ruling. During an "Ask Me Anything" conversation with the general public on the website Reddit (a session that has garnered a record-breaking 4 million views for the social news website and inspired 25,000 people to register to vote, according to the Los Angeles Times), participant Suzanne Merkelson asked: “What are you going to do to end the corrupting influence of money in politics during your second term?” The president responded:
Money has always been a factor in politics, but we are seeing something new in the no-holds barred flow of seven and eight figure checks, most undisclosed, into super-PACs; they fundamentally threaten to overwhelm the political process over the long run and drown out the voices of ordinary citizens ... Over the longer term, I think we need to seriously consider mobilizing a constitutional amendment process to overturn Citizens United (assuming the Supreme Court doesn't revisit it). Even if the amendment process falls short, it can shine a spotlight on the super-PAC phenomenon and help apply pressure for change.
President Obama’s statement marks an important new milestone in the growing movement to reclaim our democracy. In just two and a half years, this movement has defied the skeptics who said Washington would never pay attention to a call for a constitutional amendment to overrule the Supreme Court. Millions of Americans across the political spectrum have demonstrated that their voices will be heard on this critical question of our time.
Our democracy is in crisis. We will either continue down the road toward a plutocracy or we will restore the fundamental promise of government of, for, and by the people. We should all look forward to the president taking further action in support of the call for this constitutional amendment. We should also urge all presidential and congressional candidates in this election to join this call. At this crucial moment in our history, we must use the power we have to preserve our republic.
John Bonifaz wrote this article for YES! Magazine, a national, nonprofit media organization that fuses powerful ideas and practical actions. John is co-founder and executive director of Free Speech For People.