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Citizens United Is a Radical Rewriting of the Constitution by Pro-Corporate Supreme Court

Lisa Graves

Five Republican appointees to the U.S. Supreme Court just struck down critically important laws regulating corporations' influence on election and public policy. The Center for Media and Democracy strongly opposes this radical decision by a bare majority of the Supreme Court to rewrite the First Amendment and give corporations even greater influence in elections and public policy. With this decision, huge corporations like Goldman Sachs and AIG will be able to use their enormous wealth to run campaigns against the president or any person who might oppose their agenda.

In our view, this decision is terrible for our democracy. The corruption of policy development we have already seen by the big insurance companies in the health care debate, by the big banks opposing regulations to protect our economy, and the big oil companies slowing efforts to address global warming, even under the current rules that the Court just struck down, show this decision will make things worse. We cannot sit on the sidelines and let this radical decision stand.

Badge_Corporate_Rights.pngYou can help us stand up to the Court by casting your vote against this judicial activist decision and sending a strong rebuke. Please click to sign our petition and help put Americans before corporations. Please share this link: We also have a new "portal" we are launching in SourceWatch to help educate the general public about these issues and provide a gateway for getting more involved. You can bookmark this link,, to stay up-to-date on the latest news about this issue.

We are also lending our voice to nationwide coalition efforts to fight this decision. In particular, CMD has joined the steering committee of Move to Amend to support a broad-based effort to amend the Constitution to restore individual rights. We are also supportive of another coalition focusing on changing federal election law. But it's clear to me that we need to pursue the broadest effort to restore individual rights, so I hope you will join us and the Campaign to Legalize Democracy in these efforts to reassert the primacy of the individual in our democracy.


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When I worked for the Senate Judiciary Committee reviewing President Bush's judicial nominees and their agendas, I feared this day would come. That's why I tried to help keep John Roberts off the appellate court, and then was so saddened the day he was appointed and when I saw President Bush promote him to become Chief Justice after I had left the government. In reading the biographies, writings, and speeches of right-wing nominees, it became clear to me that a revolution in the law was being fomented to undermine the power of ordinary people to regulate corporations in their communities. Today's decision is a huge gift to corporations from a Supreme Court that has been radicalized by right-wing ideology, whose political agenda was made obvious in the Bush v. Gore case and whose very political decision today only makes things worse.

We cannot just wring our hands, in my view, and let this stand. There is a great deal of work to be done. The Center for Media and Democracy, which has been documenting corporate spin, lies, and disinformation for over a decade through our PR Watch efforts, is ready to help. We've been spearheading a specialized encyclopedia of the people, corporations and money behind the headlines and policy, in SourceWatch, and we recently invested in a major upgrade of that Website to make it more useful for the millions of people who visit it each year. I'll be keeping you posted on developments in what will be a long-term effort to reverse the Supreme Court's radical decision.

If you care about fighting spin and you are concerned about the health of American democracy, I hope you will join me in saying the Supreme Court really got it wrong today, and this must be fixed. You can help put Americans -- and people -- before corporations by signing here today. It'll only take a moment to say NO to the Supreme Court's arrogant effort to elevate corporations "rights" and undermine the power of the people in our democracy.

Lisa Graves is the Executive Director of the Center for Media and Democracy based in Madison, Wisconsin.

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