, Newburyport, MA

January 26, 2013

Take action now to oppose Citizens United

Newburyport Daily News

---- — To the editor:

Jan. 21 marked the third anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court decision known as Citizens United.

The ruling is one of many cases in which corporations have convinced the courts that the Bill of Rights applies to them just as much as it does to human beings.

In regard to the First Amendment right to freedom of speech, a willfully naïve 5-4 majority of the justices decided that no harm would come from enabling global corporations, the super rich and any others who could hide behind the secrecy of super PACs to dump limitless money into our elections at all levels.

This ruling had an immediate impact on the 2010 election, but that was nothing compared to what occurred in the election just past. It’s only going to get worse, if left unchecked.

That is why voters in this area and across the country have said they want action, and why we must take steps now to turn around this runaway campaign spending train before 2014.

“In a July Gallup Poll, Americans ranked reducing the corruption of government as the second-highest priority for the next president — right behind job creation. Clearly, those Americans are concerned about corruption and the appearance of corruption in our electoral system,” according to Eric Schneiderman, New York attorney general. (See North Shore Move to Amend on Facebook.)

The proposed 28th amendment would restore to we the people all of the freedoms the founders placed in the Bill of Rights just for human beings.

North Shore Move to Amend, an affiliate of the national Move to Amend organization, wants “to firmly establish that money is not speech, and that human beings, not corporations, are persons entitled to constitutional rights.”

Corporations have used “free speech” rights granted by the courts, not the Constitution, to avoid genetically modified food labels and to lie in their marketing.

Turning to the Fourth Amendment, corporations have used “The right of the people to be secure … against unreasonable searches and seizures ...” to block essential, unannounced safety and environmental inspections.

To accomplish Move to Amend’s goal, we must lobby our U.S. representatives and senators on behalf of all those who worked tirelessly on their campaigns, while donating modestly, and who voted for a ballot question to overturn Citizens United.

Americans of all persuasions have said what they want, and the Constitution provides that “The Congress, whenever two-thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution … ,” so the Congress need not wait for two-thirds of the states to force it to act.

Congress should listen to the people and act now, before more harm is done.

For information about this important work, contact

John Harwood