Wisconsin is aiming to become the 17th state to pass a resolution in favor of amending the constitution. Move To Amend, a nationwide coalition, is leading this pursuit and focusing specifically on overturning Citizens United.
Currently, the US government recognizes corporations with Constitutional rights and privileges. Move To Amend describes this as equating money to political speech under the First Amendment. With Constitutional rights, corporations’ vastly exceeding resources undermine the voices of individual citizens.
In hopes of gaining legislative attention, Move to Amend requires citizen direction.
Laura Hall, a Move To Amend volunteer, works to get the attention of federal and state legislators to officially initiate the amendment process. She is currently one of the many volunteers who are collecting signatures in Appleton for the Nov. referendum. Through this, officials will clearly understand how the citizens of Appleton stand on this issue.
“There are multiple steps and processes involved. This is one small portion from the state movement to the national movement,” Hall said.
The goal is to eliminate corporate personhood. This includes unions and non-profits. The second part of the amendment would establish that money is not a form of free speech.
“As it is now, [citizens’] volume of speech is not the same level. That really comes down to the money being speech because a lot of people believe that money provides you with access,” said Hall.
Through this, the people do not have equal power of a voice to exercise that kind of power.
Besides this, there are a lot of ways that corporations can express their constitutional rights, received by Citizens United, through campaign contributions against the Federal Elections Commission.
Hall also underlines how this affects the citizens as consumers.
“Similarly, corporations have these constitutional rights and are exercising a lack of transparency, which diminishes our rights as consumers,” said Hall.
Hall recognizes that she is working toward a long-term goal. Two-thirds of the states are required to ultimately open the Constitution up for amendments. However, Hall doesn’t anticipate this outcome. The Constitution hasn’t been opened since the 1700s. By then, Congress would step in.
The intention of this amendment is not to revolutionize the American corporate franchise.
“There are a lot of liberties that corporations have and this would not change any of that,” Hall said.
Move To Amend will be collecting signatures on campus and is really looking forward to student involvement.
“It is so empowering to see students take ownership over their adopted home,” stressed Hall.