Aug 22 2014

Californians Fight State Supreme Court Over Citizens United

Did you think the Citizens United ruling in 2010 which allowed corporations to donate unlimited amounts of money to influence our nation’s elections was a bad idea? Well, Democratic Senator Ted Lieu thought that question would be worth putting to the voters of California. Lieu’s Senate Bill 1272 which morphed into Proposition 49, was a ballot measure which would have asked voters if they would like Congress to overturn Citizens United.

The Proposition proposed an amendment to the US constitution which would clearly state that constitutional rights are intended to protect “natural persons” rather than artificially created corporate entities.

But last week the California Supreme Court decided in a 5 to 1 ruling that Prop 49 should stay off the November ballot. The justices agreed with the right wing Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association which had argued that the proposition violated California’s state constitution as it was only advisory in nature and not one that would change state laws. Critics of Prop 49 called it an election year ploy to increase voter turnout among Democrats.

So far 15 other states have come forward to urge Congress to take a stand against Citizen’s United. Activists in California have started a petition in hopes of getting the measure on the ballot in 2016.

GUEST: Michele Sutter, co-founder of Money Out, Voters In, Chair of Yes on Prop 49

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