Why Move to Amend is Incorporated in the USVRA



The constitutional amendment proposed by Move to Amend was incorporated in the Voters’ Rights Amendment (USVRA) because it, of all other proposals, provides the best language to reverse the decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court regarding corporate personhood in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission and the Court’s equation of money and free speech in Buckley v. Valeo.

Inclusion of both issues in the USVRA is essential because corporate power comes at the expense of People Power and the expenditure of unlimited amounts of personal and corporate money interferes with the ability of individual voters to cast an effective vote.

Ultimately, unless the power of corporations and money in elections is corraled, the voters will have no voice in their own government, and “taxation without representation” will once again be imposed on the American People.

The Supreme Court’s 1976 decision in Buckley went largely unnoticed by most voters; however, there was bipartisan outrage when the Supreme Court announced its decision in Citizens United in January 2010.  Since then, there have been a number of proposals to amend the Constitution to reverse its impact and several introductions of legislation to modify its provisions.

One of the best known of these proposals is Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders’ “We the People, Not We the Corporations” proposal to exclude corporations from First Amendment rights to spend money on political campaigns.

Senator Sanders introduced his proposal in the U.S. Senate in 2011 and his petition has been signed by more than 209,660 people.  During the Super Tuesday election last week, 50 Vermont communities passed a measure urging the U.S. Congress to begin the process of altering the U.S. Constitution in order to clarify that corporations do not have the same rights as human beings.

Critically missing from Senator Sander’s proposal is language that clearly reverses the equation of money and free speech as laid down in the Buckley decision.  This is corrected in the Move to Amend proposal.

According to the Move to Amend website:

“Move to Amend is a broad coalition of organizations and individuals, who share common values, working together to end corporate personhood and demand real democracy.

“MovetoAmend.org is a coalition supported by hundreds of organizations and tens of thousands of individuals dedicated to ending the illegitimate legal doctrines that prevent the American people from governing ourselves.

“Since the Move to Amend coalition launched in 2010, our grassroots activists have successfully passed dozens of community resolutions declaring public support for a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United v. FEC by establishing that a corporation is not a person, and money is not speech!”

More than 236,238 people have signed the Move to Amend petition:

“We, the People of the United States of America, reject the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling, and move to amend our Constitution to firmly establish that money is not speech, and that human beings, not corporations, are persons entitled to constitutional rights.

“The Supreme Court is misguided in principle, and wrong on the law.  In a democracy, the people rule.  We Move to Amend.”

A discussion of other proposals can be found here and an excellent history of corporate personhood is here.

The Move to Amend proposal is incorporated in its entirety in the first three sections of the USVRA, and supporters are encouraged to also sign the Move to Amend petition.

Image credit: willamettelive.com

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