Two years ago this week, the Supreme Court set the political world on its head by ruling that corporations could spend unlimited money on elections, rolling back decades of legal restrictions. An array of liberal-leaning activist groups are marking the anniversary by launching new efforts to overturn the decision, including calls for a potential constitutional amendment. The 5 to 4 decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission effectively laid the groundwork for super PACs, the new independent groups that have overwhelmed the Republican presidential race with millions of dollars in negative advertising over the past few weeks.
The decision, issued Jan. 21, 2010, outraged Democrats and many watchdog groups, but they’ve had little success in doing anything about it over the past two years. Activists are hoping to try again by focusing on the difficult task of passing a constitutional amendment, which would require ratification by three-quarters of the states.
“We’re already at a point where the public overwhelmingly opposes the decision,” said Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen, a watchdog group helping to spearhead the efforts. “The goal is to build a grass-roots movement that will eventually be able to shape the debate.”