Nevada on Thursday became the 19th state to formally call on Congress to pass a constitutional amendment that would overturn the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision and permit Congress and state legislatures to put sensible limits on political spending.
With a 12-9 vote in the state Senate, Nevada also joined 737 localities across the country that have endorsed an amendment to overturn the disastrous ruling.
The 2010 decision allowed corporations, labor unions and other groups to spend unlimited amounts to influence elections, potentially giving them a dangerous amount of influence over decisions that should be left to individual voters.
The Nevada action is a milestone — half of the 38 states needed to ratify an amendment now seem to prepared to act should Congress propose one. All 27 existing amendments were passed first by a two-thirds majority of each house of Congress and then ratified by legislatures in three-fourths of the states; with 50 states, 38 supporting ratification are now needed.
This process is very different from calls to invoke Article V of the Constitution, which would convene a new constitutional convention to propose amendments. A convention could be catastrophic, as it could invite wholesale attacks on core principles in our Constitution without voter consent or safeguards via checks-and-balances.
Amending the Constitution is difficult. However, it is possible. With enough support at the grassroots level, we can pressure Congress to pass an amendment limiting the power of big money and then get the needed 38 states to ratify it. You can help. If you haven’t already, please sign Common Cause’s petition and tell your representatives in Washington to get busy and pass an amendment and send it to the states for ratification.
Office: Common Cause National
Issues: Money in Politics