Our Legal Advocacy Program, launched in September 2013, helps to advance our mission in three key ways:
- Pushing back in the courts to fight for free and fair elections, hold power accountable, challenge the fabrication of corporate constitutional rights and the doctrine of unlimited campaign spending, and advance the promise of political equality for all;
- Developing cutting-edge legislation on campaign finance, corporate governance, and charter reform;
- Building support in the legal community for a new jurisprudence; and
- Serving as a key legal resource for the growing constitutional amendment movement.
This program is supported by an impressive Legal Advisory Committee of prominent lawyers, former judges, and legal scholars who help us identify opportunities to make our arguments in the courts and who help us build a pro bono legal network.
Our legal advocacy work manifests itself in a multipronged strategy. Below is an overview of our key issues.
We engage in legal advocacy in the courts and before government agencies to fight for free and fair elections and hold power accountable. In targeted cases pending in federal and state courts across the country, Free Speech For People’s Legal Advocacy Program challenges the doctrines of unlimited campaign spending and of corporate constitutional rights as we advance a new jurisprudence in defense of our democracy, and fight to ensure free and fair elections using secure and reliable hand-marked paper ballots. Read more about our litigation.
Free Speech For People works to support and develop model legislation that provides innovative and thoughtful solutions to particular issues of campaign finance and corporate power. Our current legislative priorities, besides the constitutional amendment, include ending super PACs and fighting political spending by foreign-influenced corporations. Read more about our legislation.
On November 7, 2014, in partnership with Harvard Law School and Harvard Law Professor John Coates, a leading corporate law expert in the country, we convened our first symposium, entitled “Advancing a New Jurisprudence for American Self-Government and Democracy.” We brought together prominent constitutional law professors and attorneys interested in creating new scholarship and legal arguments challenging the doctrines underlying the Citizens United, McCutcheon, and Buckley rulings.
In 2015, Free Speech For People co-hosted two additional symposia, which help amplify and organize voices of dissent within the legal community. On November 16, 2015, Free Speech For People and Harvard Law also hosted a symposium on, “Ending Super PACs: Is the SpeechNow ruling vulnerable?” The forum examined the case of SpeechNow, how a potential challenge could be crafted, and how overruling SpeechNow could affect Super PACs and campaign financing.
Free Speech For People and Loyola Law School cohosted a symposium on “Corporations, the Constitution and Democracy” on November 20, 2015. This event brought together some of the nation’s leading thinkers to examine how the role of big money and corporate claims of constitutional rights impact our democracy and our Constitution.
Free Speech For People is recognized across the country as a key legal resource for the growing constitutional amendment movement to overturn Citizens United and challenge the falsehood of corporate constitutional rights. Through our Legal Advocacy Program, we serve as a resource to author amicus briefs, op-eds, blog postings, and to provide expert analysis to key questions in the Democracy Movement.
Through our Legal Advocacy Program, we will continue to serve as such a resource in the following ways:
- Providing expert testimony before Congress and state legislatures 1) on the threats posed to American self-government by Citizens United, McCutcheon, Buckley v. Valeo, and the doctrines underlying those rulings and 2) on the history of our constitutional amendment process to defend our democracy;
- Defending the rights of voters to place measures on state ballots calling for an amendment, such as California’s Proposition 49;
- Authoring issue briefs, op-eds, and blog postings, and holding public education events to educate people further on the Citizens United, McCutcheon, and Buckley v Valeo rulings, on the doctrines underlying those rulings, and on the case for a constitutional amendment;
- Providing expert analysis to reporters and editors covering these questions; and
- Educating state attorneys general, congressional offices, and offices of state legislators on these questions.