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March 30, 2012 > State Assembly urges Congress to overturn Citizens United ruling

State Assembly urges Congress to overturn Citizens United ruling

Submitted By Jeff Barbosa

Expressing its outrage over the U.S. Supreme Court's Citizens United ruling, the California State Assembly voted 48-22 on March 22, 2012, to approve Assembly Joint Resolution 22, jointly authored by Assemblymembers Bob Wieckowski (D-Fremont) and Michael Allen (D-Sonoma County). The Assembly now joins the growing grassroots movement pushing Congress to overturn the decision.

Hawaii and New Mexico have already passed similar resolutions and cities around the state and nation have also declared their support for a constitutional amendment overturning Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission.

"The Citizens United decision is judicial activism run amuck," Wieckowski said. "For more than a century, Congress and the Supreme Court have recognized the need to differentiate between people and the vast amount of wealth at the disposal of large corporations. The floodgates were opened by this ruling and now a small number of very wealthy interests have a greater influence on our national politics than ever before."

"Today, the California Assembly took the first step towards correcting an egregious error in judgment by our federal Supreme Court," Allen said. "I was never taught in school that our democracy was founded 'of the corporation, for the corporation, by the corporation.' I'm proud of my colleagues who chose to stand up and send a clear message that California is ready to fight to return our democracy to the people."

The Supreme Court ruling held that the First Amendment prohibited the government from restricting political expenditures by corporations and unions. It has been roundly criticized and has helped lead to the creation of Super Pacs, which are funded by wealthy donors, and are now dominating the presidential campaign.

More than 10,000 Californians have signed their support for AJR 22. Organizations such as Public Citizen, Common Cause, CALPIRG, California Church Impact, California Labor Federation, California Nurses Association, California Professional Firefighters and the California League of Conservation Voters also support the resolution. The Davis City Council voted to endorse the resolution last month.

Elected officials in more than 100 cities across the country have passed similar measures.

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