A recent article in Roll Call, Hobby Lobby Ruling Fuels Amendment Push, highlights the national amendment movement to overturn Citizens United. The article also features a quote from Free Speech For People President, John Bonifaz.
In its recent ruling to confer religious liberties on closely held corporations, the Supreme Court makes no mention of its 2010 Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission ruling.
Yet the high court’s Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores ruling grows directly out of its Citizens United decision to reject limits on independent corporate political spending. And the 5-4 Hobby Lobby ruling deepens the rift on Capitol Hill between liberals agitating for limits on corporate power and conservatives railing against government intrusions on free speech.
Senate Democrats have already scheduled a vote on a constitutional amendment that would give Congress and the states the power to restrict political spending. Such an amendment directly challenges both Citizens United and the court’s landmark Buckley v. Valeo ruling, which in 1976 upheld limits on campaign contributions but found caps on political spending unconstitutional.
The Hobby Lobby ruling has stoked liberal anger over the court’s expanding “corporate personhood” doctrine, which critics on the left argue threatens a host of environmental, civil rights and consumer safety laws. Now some Democrats on Capitol Hill are considering additional amendments that go beyond campaign financing to more explicitly spell out that corporations are not people.
On the day of the Hobby Lobby ruling, Sen. Edward J. Markey, D-Mass., announced that he would sign onto a joint resolution authored by Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., that proposes a constitutional amendment stating the terms “people,” “person” or “citizen” as used in the Constitution do not include corporations, limited liability companies or other corporate entities. Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass., is rounding up support for a House version of the measure.
“From Citizens United to Hobby Lobby, Supreme Court majorities continue to extend our basic Constitutional rights — the inalienable rights held by individuals — to corporations,” Markey said in a statement. “Corporations are not people, period.”