“An Open Letter to the Citizens Against Citizens United”

Larry Lessig blogs at the Atlantic.  What does he want?

I believe the Court’s reasoning was mistaken. But to respond to its mistake with a declaration that “corporations are not persons” alone is also a mistake. Citizens United would be reversed by granting Congress the explicit power to limit independent expenditures. And that is the call that these citizen movements need to be making, whatever else they ask for as well.

So these are the first changes that this democracy needs:

  1. Citizen-funded elections — elections funded by citizens, not corporations (for whether or not a corporation is a person, no one has ever suggested corporations are federal citizens), and elections funded by all citizens, not just a tiny fraction of the 1 percent;
  2. Limits on independent expenditures — whether by individuals or corporations, Congress must have the power to make sure this important political speech doesn’t dominate our democracy, and thereby distract our representatives from a dependence “upon the People alone;”
  3. An express recognition in our constitution that only persons are persons — that when the Declaration of Independence spoke of entities “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights,” it was speaking of natural persons only.

These changes would restore a dependence upon “the People alone.” They are the changes that these movements should be pushing.

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