Amendments to revoke corporate constitutional “rights,” reverse Buckley v. Valeo, and establish a right to vote.
Editors’ Note: We believe a proactive and ambitious platform is needed to reverse the decline of democracy in America and reverse the Supreme Court’s anti-democratic interpretation of our Constitution. Since soon after our inception more than a decade ago, we have promoted amending our Constitution to enshrine principles too important to be left to the ebb and flow of eelctoral politics and judicial nominations.
Since the US Supreme Court’s outrageous ruling in Citizens United v FEC, we’ve been pleased to see rapidly increasing agreement on the need for constitutional change. Two of these three proposed Amendments to the U.S. Constitution (not necessarily in this language) now are being promoted by the MoveToAmend, coalition (in which we participate) which emerged in January of 2010. We invite your feedback on this approach and individual amendments.
This article offers interesting history on each of the prior Amendments and summarizes the duration and nature of the campaigns that drove each Amendment.
An Amendment to Preclude Corporations from Claiming Bill of Rights Protections
SECTION 1. The U.S. Constitution protects only the rights of living human beings.
SECTION 2. Corporations and other institutions granted the privilege to exist shall be subordinate to any and all laws enacted by citizens and their elected governments.
SECTION 3. Corporations and other for-profit institutions are prohibited from attempting to influence the outcome of elections, legislation or government policy through the use of aggregate resources or by rewarding or repaying employees or directors to exert such influence.
SECTION 4. Congress shall have power to implement this article by appropriate legislation.
More on why we need to revoke corporate constitutional privileges (a.k.a., corporate personhood)
An Amendment to Reverse Buckley v. Valeo and Dominance of Wealth in Electoral Politics
SECTION 1. For the purposes of providing all citizens, regardless of wealth, a more equal opportunity to influence elections, public policy and run for public office; of furthering the principle of “one person, one vote” and preserving a participatory and democratic republic; as well as the purpose of limiting corruption and the appearance of corruption, we the people declare the unlimited use of money to influence elections incompatible with the principle of equal protection established under the Fourteenth Amendment.
SECTION 2. The Congress shall have the power to set limits on contributions and expenditures made to influence the outcome of any federal election.
SECTION 3. Each state shall have the power to set limits on contributions and expenditures made to influence the outcome of elections in that state.
SECTION 4. The power of each state to set limits on contributions and expenditures shall extend to all elections in that state, including initiative and referendum elections, as well as the power to lower any federal limits for the election of members of Congress to represent the people of that state.
SECTION 5. Congress shall have power to implement and enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
Possible additions/strengthening of Section 1:
- Equal protection under the law shall not be abridged or denied on account of wealth, religion, sex, or race.
- Include ban on corporate spending within this Amendment, rather than in separate one (see below).
Thanks to Derek Cressman for drafting this Amendment
An Amendment to Create a Constitutional Right to Vote
If it seems strange to you that we are calling for an amendment to establish something you thought we already had, you may want to read this article first.
HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION 28
Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States regarding the right to vote.
Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, (two-thirds of each House concurring therein), That the following article is proposed as an amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which shall be valid to all intents and purposes as part of the Constitution when ratified by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States:
SECTION 1. All citizens of the United States, who are eighteen years of age or older, shall have the right to vote in any public election held in the jurisdiction in which the citizen resides. The right to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States, any State, or any other public or private person or entity, except that the United States or any State may establish regulations narrowly tailored to produce efficient and honest elections.
SECTION 2. Each State shall administer public elections in the State in accordance with election performance standards established by the Congress. The Congress shall reconsider such election performance standards at least once every four years to determine if higher standards should be established to reflect improvements in methods and practices regarding the administration of elections.
SECTION 3. Each State shall provide any eligible voter the opportunity to register and vote on the day of any public election.
SECTION 4. Each State and the District constituting the seat of Government of the United States shall establish and abide by rules for appointing its respective number of Electors. Such rules shall provide for the appointment of Electors on the day designated by the Congress for holding an election for President and Vice President and shall ensure that each Elector votes for the candidate for President and Vice President who received a majority of the popular vote in the State or District.
SECTION 5. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
The above resolution was introduced by U.S. Representative Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Illinois).
Resources on Establishing a right to vote
- Our argument for the need to establish a right to vote.
- So what is the Voting Rights Act?
- For an in-depth analysis of the impacts of ex-felon disenfranchisement, see The Truly Disenfranchised by Manza, Uggen and Britton (pdf).