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State Senate Urges Amendment Overturning Citizens United Ruling

The resolution calls upon the U.S. Congress to pass a constitutional amendment.

This spring, all six of the towns on Martha's Vineyard and joined the call to the U.S. Congress to initiate a constitutional amendment. Yesterday, the Massachusetts State Senate passed a resolution calling on the U.S. Congress to reign in the unlimited campaign spending by outside sources made possible by the Supreme Court's controversial ruling in the Citizens United case. Since that ruling established such spending as constitutional, overturning it would require an amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

According to a press release issued yesterday by the office of President of the Senate Therese Murray, "The Senate on Thursday passed a resolution calling for the United States Congress to pass a constitutional amendment to overturn the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, restoring the first amendment and ending unlimited outside spending in elections.

"'This is a growing problem that needs to be fixed,' Senate President Therese Murray (D-Plymouth) said. 'Corporate spending has reached exorbitant levels and it is destroying the civility of the political process. We are facing a serious and direct threat to our democracy and I urge Congress to take immediate action.'

"Senator Jamie Eldridge (D-Acton), lead sponsor of the resolution, said, 'In two short years, the Citizens United decision has upended our election system, and the voices of ordinary Americans risk being drowned out by the tens of millions of dollars that are being poured into attack ads paid for by corporate donors. The problem is real, resulting in a strong grassroots effort across the Commonwealth coming together to support the only effective, long-term solution: passing a constitutional amendment that will overturn this misguided, destructive decision. I'm proud of the Senate, under the leadership of Senate President Murray, for passing this resolution today and sending a strong message that our democracy isn't for sale.'

"A poll of Massachusetts voters conducted in February by 7 News and Suffolk University revealed that 83 percent of Democrats polled, 73 percent of Republicans and 81 percent of independents oppose the Supreme Court’s decision.

"During the 2010 elections, the first since the Supreme Court’s decision, non-candidate spending reached nearly $400 million, nearly 60 percent higher than spending during the 2006 midterm elections, according to the Center for Responsive Politics."

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