Letter: Citizens United and a constitutional amendment

Published: Tuesday, April 9, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

To the Editor:

In 2010, a decision by the Supreme Court of the United States interpreted the Constitution as saying that corporations are people and – with personhood – money is speech. As a result, corporations, unions and the very wealthy are now able to give unlimited, unaccountable and anonymous contributions to Super PACs to influence the outcome of their chosen candidate’s election – at the local and federal levels.

How will we be able to trust the political process in our elections when the voice is big money? Will we ever be able to see fair, democratic elections again? How will fair-minded candidates be able to afford to run for an elected position when the wealthy and corporations are paying big money to get their candidates elected?

The solution is to overturn the Supreme Court’s decision called Citizens United with a constitutional amendment. The Illinois legislature can help by passing a resolution for Illinois. Such a resolution, SJR0027, has been introduced to the Illinois Senate. And, to date, municipalities in Illinois – from Chicago to Carbondale to Kane County – have already passed their resolutions by an overwhelming majority. So far, 11 states have passed supporting measures: New Mexico, Hawaii, Rhode Island, Vermont, Maryland, California, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Montana, Colorado and New Jersey. And the New Hampshire House approved a resolution late last month. Let’s make Illinois number 13!

There is a growing movement in Illinois asking our Illinois house and senate members to sign a resolution asking Congress to propose an amendment to the Constitution that will rid our country of all Supreme Court decisions that give corporations, unions and the wealthy undue influence. Please contact your Illinois state senator and representative (if you don’t know who your legislator is, visit the Illinois State Board of Elections website and search for "District/Official Search") and tell them to support a resolution in Illinois that calls to amend the federal Constitution to say that human beings, not corporations, are persons entitled to constitutional rights. We do not want to live in a country where our democracy has been hijacked by the wealthy and powerful!

Kaye Gamble

Sleepy Hollow