From the perspective of historian Doris Kearns Goodwin and attorney Jeff Clements, board chairman of the nonprofit organization Free Speech for People, a 28th amendment to the Constitution that will overthrow the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United campaign finance decision is essential to democracy.
Amending the Constitution is a difficult process, and that, the two say, is as it should be. “Constitutional amendments are warranted only by what James Madison called ‘extraordinary occasions,’” Goodwin and Clements write. “That is why enacting and ratifying an amendment to the US Constitution is no easy matter.”
But as they review the history of America’s constitutional amendments in an article for the Reuters News Agency, Goodwin and Clements note, “The situation we face today with regard to campaign finance is one of those ‘extraordinary occasions.’
Overwhelming political spending by a relative handful of organizations and extremely wealthy people is marginalizing the voices and participation of most Americans. In the 2012 presidential election, a few dozen super-PAC donors exceeded all the contributions of $200 or less from the nearly four million donors to the Romney and Obama campaigns combined.
The 2014 midterm elections brought even greater concentration of big spenders. Indeed, virtually all political spending now comes from far less than 1 percent of Americans, and increasingly from global corporations using “dark money” entities to obscure the source.
Goodwin and Clements believe that, “To hope that the current court will fix things is folly. That is why the 28th amendment is necessary to overturn Citizens United, just as Americans have used the amendment process to overturn the Supreme Court six times before.”
You can read their entire article at the Reuters website.