Truthout: Fifty Activist Groups Call for Congressional Hearings on Citizens United

-by: Mike Ludwig

February 15, 2012- Fifty organizations presented letters to the House and Senate Judiciary Committees on Tuesday requesting hearings this year on the need to amend the Constitution to overturn Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission, the 2010 Supreme Court ruling that opened the floodgates for unlimited independent campaign spending and gave rise to the infamous Super PAC.

So far in the 112th Congress, lawmakers have introduced 13 constitutional amendment resolutions of varying scope, and dozens more have been introduced in state legislatures. Hearings in the Judiciary Committees would be the next step in moving Congress toward proposing an amendment.

The letter comes just weeks after 350 events, protests and teach-ins in communities across the country gave shape to a mass movement to overturn Citizens United.

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Huffington Post: The Future of American Democracy

-By Dennis Kucinich & Russell Simmons

January 21, 2012- This is not a progressive issue or a conservative issue. This is not a Tea Party issue or a liberal issue. This is an American issue. Money is destroying our politics and our political system. The signs are everywhere. A "super PAC" supporting Mitt Romney spent $3.5 million to knock Newt Gingrich out of the lead in Iowa. A super PAC supporting Newt Gingrich is spending a greater amount of money to return the favor to Mitt Romney in South Carolina. Our electoral system has become such a joke that two late-night comedians are now actually participating in it and are generating great laughter just by demonstrating how it operates.

In the past, Congress has made two bipartisan efforts to control the impact of money on our elections, first in the early 1970s and more recently with the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002, known as "McCain-Feingold." Both of these laws tried to restrict the influence of money on our elections. But after each of these efforts, the Supreme Court kicked down the door and allowed campaign money to flow more freely.

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Huffington Post: Chief Justice John Roberts’ Defense Of Supreme Court Ethics Doesn’t Soothe Critics

-By Mike sacks

January 5, 2012- WASHINGTON — Chief Justice John Roberts used his annual year-end report to defend his colleagues' integrity, but that defense did not move prominent critics clamoring for the justices to abide by the same ethical rules as other federal judges do.

In the 16-page report, released on Saturday, Roberts rebuffed calls for the U.S. Supreme Court to adopt the Code of Conduct for United States Judges — which binds lower courts but not the high court — and pushed back against partisan demands that Justices Clarence Thomas and Elena Kagan recuse themselves from what may be the term's most controversial conflict, the health care cases slated for oral argument in March.

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Justice Integrity Project: Chief Justice’s Report Ducks Ethics Scandals

-By Andrew Kreig

The federal courts function honestly, according to the annual report on the federal judiciary that Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts issued Dec. 31 in the middle of the New Year's holiday weekend. Noting at the outset the disgrace that bribery brought to baseball in 1919, Roberts said the federal judiciary needs no reforms because its members seek to address their duties in an ethical manner. Roberts said he had "complete confidence" in the integrity of judges, including his colleagues on the Supreme Court. As chief justice, Roberts presides over both the nine-member Supreme Court and the administrative office of the federal judiciary. His report focused heavily on the need for public confidence in the judiciary. But he recommended nothing more than what he called continued self-discipline by judges.

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