Although the Constitution already includes a remedy, certain elected officials and public interest organizations are advocating for a constitutional amendment to overturn recent Supreme Court decisions that have corrupted elections, public officials and government. They are using Vermont town meetings as a springboard for the campaign. Critics of the constitutional amendment approach point out that an amendment would not solve the problem, legitimizes the Supreme Court seizure of power over elections, would keep the Supreme Court in charge and diverts from a solution already in the Constitution that more effectively solves the problem with far less effort. The simpler alternative that is already available in the Constitution deserves attention.
Supreme Court decisions legalizing private interest financing of election campaigns have enabled a vast increase in private interest control over our federal government. The 1 percent contribute hundreds of millions of dollars in election campaigns to empower themselves and disempower the 99 percent. To keep that money flowing to themselves, elected officials waste enormous sums of taxpayer’s money on government contracts, subsidies, bailouts, wars and tax cuts for the rich. The 1 percent thus receive enormous returns on their political investments. By contrast, the government uses the resulting deficits to justify cuts in needed spending on education, health care, environment, safety and infrastructure that would benefit the 99 percent who do not buy elections and influence.
Here is why a constitutional amendment is not needed to end this disenfranchisement of the 99 percent. The revolutionary leaders who wrote the Constitution, fresh from overthrowing the tyranny of King George, included sufficient checks and balances on all three branches of government – including the courts – to prevent the kind of tyranny we now suffer.
Under our existing Constitution, Congress already has the power to stop the court from making any more of the decisions that have allowed the 1 percent to buy elections. Then Congress can pass legislation reversing the unconstitutional decisions the court has made to corrupt elections.
Here is the provision the founding fathers included:
The Supreme Court shall have appellate Jurisdiction, both as to Law and Fact with such Exceptions and under such Regulations as the Congress shall make (US Constitution, Article III, Section 2).
Hence, under the Constitution, Congress has the power to remove Court jurisdiction over financing election campaigns. Removing Court jurisdiction means that the court would not even be able to take up cases involving financing of elections. Congress and state legislatures will then be free to pass laws removing private money from election campaigns. Thus, Congress already has power to curtail the court and the tyranny of private money in elections facilitated by the 5-4 majority of Supreme Court judges whose goal is to empower the 1 percent at the expense of the rest of us.
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