-by Michael R. Gideon
September 22, 2011- Two House Democrats are pushing new legislation that would overturn the controversial Citizens United ruling. Reps. John Conyers (D-Mich), senior Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, and Donna Edwards (D-Md) are hope to gain support from other political figures unhappy at the Supreme Court’s 2010 decision.
The Citizens United decision ruled that corporations should not be limited in the amount they can donate to fund broadcasts for or against political candidates. The Supreme Court’s 5-4 vote, split along ideological grounds, hinged on the argument that such a limitation would be an unfair barrier to free speech, effectively treating corporations as if they are people.
The ruling has been widely criticised over the past year, because it is seen as having opened the floodgates for corporations to flood the political debate with millions of dollars of funding. The wider assumption that corporations are effectively afforded the same constitutional rights as people has also been slammed as corporatist nonsense.
John Conyers and Donna Edwards face stiff opposition with their bill to allow states to overturn the ban. But they are likely to win support across the nation, if not in Washington itself, as more people become concerned about the huge sums of money that are not only infiltrating, but are also arguably influencing, the American political system.