Former MT Supreme Court Justice James Nelson & Jeff Clements: Why Montanans Should Support 28th Amendment

Former Montana Supreme Court Justice and Free Speech For People Board Member, James C. Nelson and Free Speech For People co-founder, Jeff Clements coauthored  an op-ed with the Billings Gazette on “Why Montanans Should Support 28th Amendment.”

According to Nelson and Clements, “American democracy is in crisis, and modest measures now are inadequate to the task. We need a 28th Amendment to the Constitution to replace government of the money with government of the people, and Montana can take the lead.”

They continue that even the basic Democratic promise of “one person, one vote” is endangered, and that political equality has been devalued because of big money’s corrupting influence.

Nelson and Clements make the point that it’s time to “level the field,” adding that “Citizens United also applies when we elect judges, as in Montana. Recent studies from the American Constitution Society show the influence of money in judicial elections is driving court decisions in favor of contributors.”

On addressing the issue, they write:

We can fix this but it will take a constitutional amendment. Only an amendment can correct a Supreme Court that will not correct itself. Indeed, eight of our 27 amendments have reversed Supreme Court missteps.

While a constitutional amendment must clear a high bar, Americans do this when the chips are down. All 27 previous constitutional amendments passed by two-thirds of Congress and were ratified by three-quarters of the states in circumstances no less challenging than now.

Montanans already have led this effort. In 2012, 75 percent of voters approved Initiative 166, charging Montana’s congressional delegation to work to pass a 28th Amendment to overturn Citizens United. Voters agreed that this amendment should ensure that courts do not give corporations the inherent rights of human beings under the Constitution, and secure a level playing field so all individuals, regardless of wealth, may be represented and express our views. The initiative received majority support in every one of Montana’s 56 counties.

“We can make history again by winning the 28th Amendment to end this corrupt, unfair and dysfunctional chapter of our politics.”

To read the op-ed in its full and original format, click here.

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