On May 27, state legislators moved a ballot measure forward that would ask California voters in November to weigh in on the increased number of undisclosed donors contributing to political campaigns in the wake of Citizens United.
Now, voters await the approval of Governor Jerry Brown before the measure can take its place on the November ballot.
If signed by Brown and approved by the voters in November, the non-binding advisory measure would give California legislatures a platform to begin the yeoman’s work that will be required to overturn the controversial 2010 U.S. Supreme Court decision in the controversial Citizens United case.
In 2010 the Court ruled in favor of a conservative nonprofit group. The ruling opened the flood gates to unlimited spending by both corporations and unions as a way to tilt the scales in favor of their political agendas. Many would agree corporations reaped the greatest advantage as in recent years the power of labor unions has been diminished by Republican governors and legislatures who gained control in a number of states in 2010.
As proposed, the legislative measure will ask California voters whether state lawmakers should use any and all of the legislature’s constitutional authority to overturn the Citizens United ruling. Such action would ultimately require an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would first need to be proposed by Congress and subsequently ratified by the legislatures of three-fourths of the states in the union.
In today’s vitriolic political climate, it seems almost impossible that such a proposal could ultimately prevail; however, hope does spring eternal and another point that is also salient in today’s political environment is that nothing this political season has unfolded as expected. As a result, anything is possible.