January 20 marks the second anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court's disastrous decision in Citizens United v. F.E.C., where a narrow majority of the Court asserted that the Constitution prevents Congress from limiting the amount of money that can be spent influencing our elections. A series of events are planned this week to mobilize opposition to the decision and to generate support for a constitutional amendment to reverse it.
In the two years since the 5-4 Citizens United decision, deep-pocketed CEOs and corporations have increased their role in our elections, filtering many millions of dollars through Super PACs like American Action Network and non-profit groups like Karl Rove's Crossroads GPS. The first elections after Citizens United were the most expensive in U.S. history, with most of the spending coming from outside interest groups, and the 2012 elections are expected to cost even more.
On the second anniversary of the decision that made all this possible, United for the People (a constellation of good government groups which includes the Center for Media and Democracy) is launching a series of events around the country to draw attention to the decision and its impact.
(Additionally, the "We the People Campaign," a consortium of media groups, are encouraging participation in this week's activities with this humorous "viral" video.)
Here are a few of the planned events; you can find an activity in your community here.
January 18: Common Cause launches the "Amend 2012" campaign to place "voter instruction" ballot initiatives in all 50 states to ask state governments and members of Congress to support a constitutional amendment.
January 19: Debate about the effects of Citizens United between Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen, and the man considered the driving force behind the case, Indiana lawyer James Bopp Jr. The event will be held at the Marriott in New Orleans, LA and a video will be available at a later date at www.citizen.org. (update added 12:49pm Jan. 18)
January 20 (the second anniversary of the Citizens United decision): One day occupations are planned at federal courthouses across the country, with a large demonstration at the U.S. Supreme Court. Other actions and teach-ins will also be held around the U.S. by 75 local and regional groups. "Occupy the Courts" is organized by the Move to Amend coalition.
January 21: Activists across the country will 'apprehend' corporate impostors posing as 'people' asserting constitutional rights, including an effort targeting Bank of America at their New York headquarters. "Occupy the Corporations" is organized by Public Citizen.
January 24: Elected officials from the national, state, and local levels will take part in a panel discussion in Washington, D.C. on different versions of constitutional amendments to reverse Citizens United. Sponsored by People for the American Way.
For more information on these and other events, please visit the United for the People website, www.United4thePeople.org.