President Obama’s weekly address today blasted the Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision in the Citizens United case that struck down the McCain-Feingold restrictions on corporate spending in elections. In overruling the Austin v. Michigan Chamber of Commerce case, Citizens United effectively invalidates laws in 24 states (including Massachusetts) that restrict use of corporate funds in elections. He calls for a “forceful” response.
If President Obama is correct about the impact of the decision, and I think he is, it seems to me that “a forceful, bipartisan response” is a 28th Constitutional amendment to restore the First Amendment, and control over corporations, to the people. This is what the Free Speech for People campaign that was launched in response to the decision is trying to do. (Disclosure again: I’m working as counsel to the campaign). This is picking up steam and Congresswoman Donna Edwards is expected to introduce amendment language soon. President Obama’s leadership on this effort would be powerful, and his use of language such as “strikes at our democracy” suggests that he ought to be inclined to do so.