After months of delay, the Massachusetts Senate, in overwhelming bipartisan vote of 35-1, for an amendment to restore democracy by overturning the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling. Attention now turns to the House as the end of the legislative session approaches.
The 2010 Citizens United decision overturned decades-old laws restricting corporate expenditures, ruling that they violated the First Amendment’s protection of free speech. The decision dramatically expanded the fabricated “corporate rights” doctrine and has unleashed a flood of corporate money into federal, state, and local elections.
Senator Jamie Eldridge, lead sponsor of the bill, had this to say:
“The Citizens United decision dramatically dilutes the voice of every American who does not control a large corporate treasury. The health of our democracy and the integrity of our political system are at stake, and I am proud of the Senate for passing this resolution today and sending a strong message that our democracy isn’t for sale.”
Cities and towns across the Commonwealth have voted on similar measures. To date, 68 communities have voted in favor of a Constitutional Amendment including Boston, Springfield and Worcester. If a similar resolution is passed by the House, Massachusetts will join the state legislatures in California, Hawaii, Maryland, New Mexico, Rhode Island, and Vermont in voicing their states’ opposition to the decision and support for a Constitutional Amendment to address its ramifications.