Posted on January 25, 2013 (November 20, 2020) Democracy Amendments Share: Jeff Clements, Free Speech For People’s Co-Founder and President, speaks at a press conference in Boston on January 24, 2013, in support of Congressman Jim McGovern’s constitutional amendment bills to overturn the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling and reclaim our democracy. Standing behind Jeff from left to right: John Bonifaz, Free Speech For People’s Co-Founder and Executive Director; Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley; Congressman Jim McGovern; Massachusetts State Representative Cory Atkins; and Massachusetts State Representative Marty Walz. Others appearing at this press conference but not included in this photo here: Massachusetts State Senator Jamie Eldridge; Massachusetts State Representative Jim O’Day; Harvard Law Professor John Coates; and David Levine, Co-Founder and CEO of the American Sustainable Business Council. Remarks of Jeff Clements President of Free Speech For People Boston, Massachusetts January 24, 2013 Thank you Representative McGovern, and thank you Attorney General Coakley, for your leadership in the growing movement across the country to reclaim our democracy and our government of, for and by the people. We’ve been reminded this week, as we celebrated the life of Martin Luther King, that his dream was rooted in the American dream, in the American truth, that we are all created equal. This campaign for a Constitutional Amendment to reverse Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission is rooted in the same soil- to make our elections free and fair; and to ensure that our government of the people will not be a corrupted, broken government of large corporations and billionaires. As Justice Stevens wrote in his famous dissent, the Citizens United decision is a radical departure from American Constitutional jurisprudence. It is a radical decision. Citizens United is radical because it brings together two fundamental errors that cripple American democracy. The first is the idea that the American people are not allowed to ensure fair elections by regulating election spending. Citizens United says that state, federal, even local laws that try to balance or moderate the domination of money in our elections violates the First Amendment. Citizens United doubled down on that dangerous and wrong doctrine, opening the way for the $6 billion in spending that we saw in this last election, and for the domination of that spending by a handful of very wealthy people and corporations. That’s not all though. Citizens United also stands as the most extreme version of what has come to be a “Corporate Veto” over American lawmaking. Citizens United is the end game in a line of recent Supreme Court decisions that equates corporations with people. Even before Citizens United, this corporate veto has been deployed to strike down basic, common sense laws across the board, from energy to the environment, from public health to budget and cost controls, from financial regulation to labeling for genetically modified foods. Citizens United brings these two disastrous mistakes together and applies the corporate veto to election and campaign finance laws. If Citizens United is allowed to stand, the promise of American self-government and democracy, will not stand. This is not about party or politics. This is not a partisan fight. This is about what Americans know in our heads and in our hearts: corporations are useful tools but they do not have our sacred Constitutional rights. Our elections are not a commodities market or a game for the rich to play while Americans are told to go from citizen to spectator. That’s why Representative McGovern’s Constitutional amendment package—a comprehensive approach that addresses both of the radical mistakes that led to Citizens United—is so important. It is exactly the right approach. And this approach has the support of Americans across the country. That’s why businesspeople, faith leaders, working people and Americans of every walk of life are coming together to work for the 28th Amendment. That’s why 75% of voters in Montana- a so-called Red State- just approved a ballot initiative calling for a Constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United and so- called corporate rights. That’s why 75% of Colorado votes approved the Constitutional amendment resolution on the ballot there in November. That’s why eleven states have now passed the call for the 28th Amendment, including Massachusetts, thanks to the leadership and work of Senator Eldridge, and Representatives Cory Atkins, and Marty Walz. And thanks to the leadership of Attorney General Coakley. She was the first Attorney General in the nation to call for the 28th Amendment to overturn Citizens United; she has pulled together Attorneys General and others from across the country to support this effort; she has been a critical leader in this fight to renew American democracy. Americans are now coming together to do what we have done 27 times before, seven times to overrule the Supreme Court. Citizens United will not stand. This Constitutional amendment movement will continue to grow—Americans in every state are standing together, and working together— Republicans, Democrats, Independents, all Americans—to overturn Citizens United, to make elections fair and accessible, to ensure that our government of the people does not perish.