How the Citizens United decision changed politics
The 2010 Citizens United Supreme Court ruling changed U.S. politics — possibly forever — and Democrats desperately want it overturned. Here's how the decision on Super PACs has shaped politics in America.
Rights for people, not for corporations
“Who’s court? Our court! Who’s court? Our court! [00:41] Rights are for people not for corporations! Rights are for people not for corporations!”
How the ruling changed politics
In January 2010, the Citizens United Supreme Court ruling changed U.S. politics — possibly forever. After the ruling, President Obama announced, “This week, the United States Supreme Court handed a huge victory to the special interests and their lobbyists, and a powerful blow to our efforts to rein in corporate influence. This ruling strikes at our democracy itself.”
The freedom of speech
In a 5-4 ruling, the court decided that under the Constitution's protection of free speech corporations may spend unlimited amounts of money influencing politics. This gave way to a deluge of powerful Super PACs and a flood of corporate lobbying. Sen. Bernie Sanders shared his thoughts, stating, “Our U.S. Supreme Court in a series of deeply misguided decisions, unleashed an unprecedented flow of money into American politics. These decisions culminated in the infamous Citizens United case, which opened the financial spigots for huge campaign contributions by billionaires and large corporations to turn the United States political system to their narrow and greedy advantage.” Undoing the effects of the Citizens United ruling has become a rallying cry for Democratic politicians.
Another constitutional amendment?
Elizabeth Warren spoke on the topic, stating, “I heard everyone here talking about, as Democrats we all want to overturn Citizens United because we want to end this unlimited spending. Yeah, except everyone on this stage except Amy and me is either a billionaire or is receiving help from PACs that can do unlimited spending. So if you really want to live where you say, then put your money where your mouth is and say no to the PACs.” But overturning the ruling would require another Constitutional amendment — which is nearly impossible given political divisions in Washington. “It's no longer one person, one vote, but the amount of money that's actually voted. Corporations are not people. I have never seen a corporation eat, sleep, and in fact it's a conglomerate made only to make money. We are the people.”, one protester concludes.
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