Warning that "American democracy in endangered," Sen. Bernie Sanders on Thursday proposed a constitutional amendment to overturn a Supreme Court ruling that allowed unrestricted and secret campaign spending by corporations on U.S. elections. The first constitutional amendment ever proposed by Sanders during his two decades in Congress would reverse the narrow 5-to-4 ruling in Citizens United vs. the Federal Elections Commission.
"Make no mistake, the Citizens United ruling has radically changed the nature of our democracy, further tilting the balance of power toward the rich and the powerful at a time when already the wealthiest people in this country have never had it so good," Sanders said.
"In my view, history will record that the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision is one of the worst decisions ever made by a Supreme Court in the history of our country."
Sanders's amendment, S.J.Res. 33, would state that corporations do not have the same constitutional rights as persons, that corporations are subject to regulation, that corporations may not make campaign contributions and that Congress has the power to regulate campaign finance.
Sanders said he has never proposed an amendment to the Constitution before, but said he sees no other alternative to reversing the Citizens United decision.
"In my view, corporations should not be able to go into their treasuries and spend millions and millions of dollars on a campaign in order to buy elections," he said. "I do not believe that is what American democracy is supposed to be about."
Senator Sanders is circulating a petition to gain support for his amendment, and is available to view or sign online.