Take on the Props – Proposition 59 Overturn Citizens United

141834-fullThis is an odd one. It has no binding legal power – just a statement.

In 2010, the US Supreme Court ruled that placing spending limits on corporations (specifically in relation to political campaigns) is illegal because it violates the 1st Amendment which protects free speech. Because of this, it has been argued by many (including me) that money has too great an influence in our elections, and by proxy influences our politicians’ legislative motives.

Prop 59 advises California’s elected officials to use their constitutional authority to seek increased regulation of campaign spending and contributions. Presumably, because this issue has already been ruled on by this country’s highest authority, the only recourse would be, either:

1) A new case went before the Supreme Court that challenges the decision of the Citizen’s United ruling, and with a different Court, an overturn is ruled.


2) A Constitutional Amendment is passed by:

Step One: Congress Acts. Congress must either propose an amendment or call a constitutional convention to propose amendments after the state legislatures of at least 34 states have asked for such a convention.

Step Two: The States Act. At least 38 states must approve a proposed amendment before it becomes law. Depending on instructions from Congress, states approve proposed amendments through either the state legislatures or state-level conventions.

A YES vote on PROP 59 asks California’s elected officials to use all of their constitutional authority – including, but not limited to, amending the Constitution – in order to: Reverse the effects of Citizens United and related court decisions. Allow the regulation and limitation of political campaign spending. Ensure individuals are able to express political views. Make clear that corporations should not have the same constitutional rights as people.

A NO vote means nothing happens.

This is a difficult proposition for me, because I have strong feelings about Citizens United, but I do not like throwing ballot measures on an already crowded ballot that do not directly enact legislation.

For more information, please look at the Legislative Analyst’s Office website: www.lao.ca.gov/BallotAnalysis/Proposition?number=59&year=2016

Dan O’Brien

The Actors' Gang

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