Akron Beacon Journal | Jan 28, 2024
Jan. 21 marked the 14th anniversary of the Citizens United Supreme Court decision. The ruling increased the amount of money spent in political elections from the very rich and corporate entities, drowning out the voices of people to be heard by elected representatives who didn’t politically contribute.
Many, if not most, people believe Citizens United was the first time the court ruled that “money equals free speech,” as well as the constitutional right of corporate entities to donate politically. It wasn’t.
The Supreme Court declared that money is speech in the 1970s and that corporate entities had some of the same constitutional rights as people in the 1880s, with corporate spending in political campaigns deemed constitutional in the 1970s.
It’s not only that Citizens United is profoundly undemocratic. It’s also that money defined as free speech and a corporation defined as a person allow the super wealthy and business corporations to gain enormous profits and power at the expense of the needs of the majority on issues of health care, education, housing, other human needs, the environment, and so many other issues.
For these reasons, needed is more than overturning Citizens United. Money is not free speech and a corporation is not a person. Both are contained in the proposed We the People Amendment (HJR54), co-sponsored by 75 current congresspersons.
Several constituents, including myself, met with an aide of Rep. Emilia Sykes in mid-July asking her to cosponsor House Joint Resolution 54. Former Rep. Marcia Fudge, who represented much of the same area as Sykes, twice co-sponsored the We the People Amendment. We have yet to hear from Sykes’ office despite repeated calls and emails.
We hope she will soon cosponsor.
Marcia Schulz, Silver Lake