Our Blog

Ronald McDonald And Friends Sue Seattle To Stop Minimum Wage Hike

 

 Last summer, Seattle passed a law to raise the city's minimum wage to $15 per hour. Sounds great, except McDonald's and other members of the International Franchise Association are suing the city, claiming that the law violates the Equal Protection Clause under the Fourteenth Amendment. 

In October 2014, we filed an amicus brief arguing that corporations and franchises shouldn't be allowed to claim a constitutional provision written to protect newly-freed slaves after the Civil War. On March 10, the case will reach a federal courtroom.

Today on Huffington Post, Ron Fein explains why we need a constitutional amendment to put an end to all of this.

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Let Californians Instruct Their Elected Representatives

Do Californians have the right to “instruct” their elected representatives through the ballot?

Our amicus brief filed before the California Supreme Court, points to the California Constitution and argues "yes". A new op-ed published in the L.A. Daily News, by Ron Fein and Congressman Ted Lieu contines, "it is not enough for the legislator to speak to and for the people once she is elected. The people must have access to diverse tools in order to express their political sentiments." 

The tools we use to communicate with our leaders are more important now than ever to ensure our elected officials accurately carr out the will of people. It's time to restore Proposition 49 back to the ballot and let the people of California choose how to instruct their representatives.

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Will SCOTUS Make The "Right Ruling For The Wrong Reason"? Ron Fein Explains To The Sacramento Bee

In a new piece published today in the Sacramento Bee, Ron Fein provides analysis on the upcoming case Los Angeles v. Patel. 

A case before the Supreme Court about hotel guest registers and the Fourth Amendment has gained the attention of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other corporate heavy hitters, who believe the protection of the Fourth Amendment should extend to all business records. The case involves a Los Angeles ordinance that makes hotels keep detailed guests registers, and make those registers available to the Police department at any time.

But the hotel operators say this ordinance violates the Constitution's Fourth Amendment, the right against unreasonable searches and seizures. Some in the corporate world are framing the case the wrong way by claiming the law violates the Fourth Amendment rights of the businesses—not those of hotel guests. 

The Supreme Court might make a big mistake in making the right ruling for the wrong reason. Our friends at the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) have more information on case here

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Jeff Clements Speaks In San Francisco On Inspiring a Grassroots Movement To Amend the Constitution

On Tuesday, February 24, the Bay Area Lawyer Chapter of the American Constitution Society in San Francisco hosted Jeff Clements for a special conversation on how to amend the Constitution and reclaim democracy from special interest groups. Five years after the Citizens United ruling, the movement to get money out of our politics is growing, but so is the threat of unchecked coporate power.

How Citizens United Has Changed Washington Lawmaking

 

Speaker John Boehner has close ties to the American Action Network, a dark money nonprofit, and the Congressional Leadership Fund, a super PAC. These groups raise funds from clients of lobbyists looking to increase their own influence. (Photo: J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

Paul Blumenthal and Ryan Grim tell Huffington Post "The Inside Story Of How Citizens United Has Changed Washington Lawmaking". In this important piece, we learn the direct impact the Court's 2010 Citizens United ruling has had on the flow of money in Washington and its influence on decision making. 

Blumenthal and Grim explain, "Politically active nonprofits, known as "dark money" groups for their ability to shield the identity of donors, and super PACs, which take unlimited sums of money but must disclose donors, have become dominated by lobbyists and other political operatives with close ties to leaders in Congress. Meanwhile, businesses with issues before Congress are pumping increasingly more money into the lobbyist-connected organizations."

There's a lot more to this story. Read the full article here. 

Victory In Chicago!

Yesterday, on February 24, Chicagoans went to the polls and 80% of voters (and counting) took a stand against the corrupting influence of big money. Voters in Chicago voted "YES", in favor of small-donor focused reform that would put the power of politics back in the hands of the people.  

Great News From Maine—Maine Secretary Of State OKs Clean Election Signatures

Maine Citizens for Clean Elections aims to provide candidates with access to more cash so they can better compete with their privately financed opponents.

Maine’s secretary of state says a group hoping to strengthen the state’s clean public-financing elections law has submitted enough signatures to put its proposal to voters.

Stamp Stampede Talks Money In Politics On CNBC

Check out this clip of Ben & Jerry's co-founder and StampStampede.org founder Ben Cohen, stamping money out of politics on CNBC.

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President Obama: "I’d Love A Constitutional Amendment To Reverse Citizens United"

President Obama spoke with Vox Editor-in-chief Ezra Klein on how to best reform campaign finance, amongst other topics. 

On "unlimited money" in politics as a key cause of polarization, Obama said, "I would love to see some constitutional process that would allow us to actually regulate campaign spending the way we used to, and maybe even improve it."

Watch the full interview above and read more on Vox.