By Donald Scarinci | November 28th, 2012 - 11:37am
| More

A constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United and abolish the “super pac” has begun.  The super pac can accept unlimited personal and corporate campaign contributions and accounted for almost a Billion dollars that was spent in this years elections.

Voters in Montana and Colorado have voiced their displeasure with the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. The decision gave rise to the “Super PAC” after holding that the First Amendment does not allow political speech restrictions simply based on a speaker’s corporate identity. 

Montana’s Initiative 166 passed overwhelmingly with 75% of the vote. It states that “the people of Montana regard money as property, not speech.” It further adds that Montanans “intend that there should be a level playing field in campaign spending that allows all individuals, regardless of wealth, to express their views to one another and their government.” It directs the state congressional delegation to propose an amendment establishing that “corporations are not human beings with constitutional rights.

When the Supreme Court issues a decision, it must be followed in every state. Under the doctrine of stare decisis, lower courts are obligated to follow the precedent of the Supreme Court, regardless of whether they believe the justices got the decision right. Supreme Court justices are also bound to honor decisions issued by their predecessors, although the doctrine is arguably a bit flexible in this case.

A decision of the Supreme Court is considered the law of the land and is not easily overturned.  There are only two ways to do it--either wait for the Supreme Court to overturn its own decision, or amend the United States Constitution. 

While there are ways to overturn a Supreme Court decision, it is certainly not easy. One method is to wait for the Supreme Court to reconsider the issue and essentially overrule itself. Brown v. Board of Education is a classic example. The Court overruled the precedent established in 1896 in Plessy v. Ferguson, which held that segregated public facilities were constitutional so long as the black and white facilities were equal. The Court may again reverse course this term when it issues its decision on affirmative action. However, these cases are few and far between, and a significant amount of time generally passes between decisions.

The other option is to amend the Constitution, which is also an arduous task. It requires two-thirds of each chamber of Congress and three-fourths of the states must approve the change. While this may appear daunting, twenty-four U.S. senators and 75 U.S. representatives have introduced or co-sponsored legislation to overturn Citizens United. In addition, eleven states have formally called for an amendment, according to The Reporter.

Critics of Citizens United clearly still have work to do. However, history proves that it can be done. Four of the twenty-seven amendments to the Constitution, including the Fourteenth Amendment, have overturned Supreme Court decision.

 

Donald Scarinci is a managing partner at Lyndhurst, N.J.-based law firm Scarinci Hollenbeck.  He is also the editor of the Constitutional Law Reporter and Government & Law blogs.

 

The Back Room

Report: Christie campaigns for Hutchinson

No real news out of Arkansas this evening as a local report documents Republican Governors Association Chairman Chris Christie stumping in Arkansas on behaf of Republican gubernatorial candidate Asa Hutchinson.

Read More >

LOL

Wake-Up Call

Morning Digest: August 27th

One night in Clifton: Pascrell town hall crystallizes New Jersey's side of Arab-Jewish divide CLIFTON – It was the typical crowd with black yarmulkes and leopard-patterned hijab sprinkled among uncovered bald heads – Ukrainian, Turkish, Polish – Spanish Flamenco-style hair pulled back and framed by loop earrings and at...

Op-Ed

White House’s Tuition Challenge Being Met in NJ

By MICHAEL W. KLEIN In his weekly radio address on August 16, President Obama challenged colleges “to do their part to bring down costs” and lighten the tuition burden on students.  The state colleges and universities in New Jersey have... Read More >

Contributors

(8-27-14) All Americans Should Support Gov. Perry - Political prosecutions have no place in American life. Those who use the justice system as they are using it in Texas... more »
(Asbury Park, NJ) -- There's a word for someone who says one thing and does another: hypocrite.  There's no shortage of 'em in Trenton -- from ... more »
    My Richard Nixon Ambivalence   Today is the fortieth anniversary of President Richard Nixon’s resignation address to the nation on August 8, 1974. At that time, I was ambivalent about... more »
 The following letter was sent today to Republican state legislators, county chairs, state committee members, and New Hampshire... more »

Quote of the Day

quote of the day

“Israelis don’t want peace more than the Palestinians, Palestinians don’t want peace more than the Israelis, but I do know one thing: Hamas is a terrorist organization.” - U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-9), Paterson.

- PolitickerNJ

Poll

Is there an incumbent congressman at risk in this upcoming general election?:

Blogroll

Visit the PolitickerNJ.com/resources page for links to the best collection of information on New Jersey state government.

 

  • Polls
  • The best blogs
  • Columnists
  • State election results
  • Assembly election results
  • Local party websites
  • And more.

PolitickerNJ.com/resources