How to Reverse Citizens United

Few Supreme Court opinions have been as controversial as Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, the 2010 decision that struck down limits on corporations’ campaign expenditures, finding them to be an abridgment of free speech. Like most of the Court’s recent campaign-finance rulings, the case was decided 5–4, with Justice Antonin Scalia in the majority. Even before Scalia’s death, Citizens United featured significantly in the presidential primaries. Bernie Sanders had made its negation, through a constitutional amendment, a key goal of—and rationale for—his candidacy. Both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton had condemned the existing campaign-finance system, and Clinton had vowed to appoint “Supreme Court justices who value the right to vote over the right of billionaires to buy elections.”

Now, with a new justice in the offing, the prospect of reversing Citizens United, among other Roberts Court decisions, seems suddenly larger, more plausible: For campaign-finance-reform proponents, the brass ring seems within reach.

But the matter is not so simple. Even if Scalia is replaced by a more liberal justice, the Court’s campaign-finance rules will not be easily reversed. The precedents extending First Amendment protection to campaign spending date back to 1976, long before Scalia became a judge. The Court generally follows precedent, and overrules past decisions only rarely, even as justices come and go. A new justice will not be sufficient.

 

Recent history suggests a more reliable means of constitutional change. A quarter century ago, the idea that gay and lesbian couples had a constitutional right to marry was at least as far-fetched as campaign-finance reform has seemed in recent years. And in 1991, former Chief Justice Warren Burger dismissed as fraudulent the notion that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to bear arms. But in 2008, in District of Columbia v. Heller, the Supreme Court recognized an individual right to bear arms, overturning almost 70 years of settled law. And in 2015, the Court declared in Obergefell v. Hodges that gay and lesbian couples have a right to marry. Both changes came about gradually, through decades of work by citizens’ groups—such as Freedom to Marry and the National Rifle Association—committed to an alternative constitutional vision.

If campaign-finance reform similarly succeeds, it will not be through dramatic measures like the current proposals to pass a constitutional amendment overturning Citizens United. Nor will it be through a quixotic presidential campaign, like Lawrence Lessig’s short-lived run on a platform devoted almost exclusively to electoral reform. Constitutional law is more typically changed through a long process of smaller, incremental steps. If the various groups now seeking to fix the problem of money in politics are to prevail, they would do well to take a page from the gun-rights and marriage-equality playbooks.

The place to start the fight against Citizens United is not the Supreme Court, or even Washington, D.C., but the hinterlands. When federal constitutional law is against you, you must look for alternative forums in which to press your case. And as with guns and family relations, most of the laws regarding elections are made by the states.

Both gun-rights and marriage-equality advocates began their campaigns in the states most sympathetic to their cause—Florida for the NRA, Vermont and Massachusetts for marriage-equality activists—and then sought to export favorable precedents across state lines. The NRA sought to expand gun-rights provisions in state constitutions, while pressing for legislation that protected the right to carry concealed weapons and insulated gun manufacturers from liability for injuries caused by their products. Gay-rights groups championed parental rights, nondiscrimination ordinances, and modest domestic-partnership benefits for gays and lesbians. By the time the Supreme Court recognized a right to bear arms, most state constitutions had already done so, and by the time the Court declared that gay and lesbian couples had a federal right to marry, 37 states and the District of Columbia had recognized same-sex marriage.

Some promising campaign-finance initiatives are already appearing at the state and local levels. Maine, Connecticut, Arizona, Seattle, and New York City have each adopted generous public-financing schemes to reduce the influence of private wealth. New York City, for example, matches small donations six-to-one for those candidates who agree to contribution and spending limits. Maine offers a public grant to candidates who raise a qualifying number of $5 donations and then agree to abstain from further private fund-raising. In November, Seattle voters approved a first-of-its-kind ballot initiative that will provide every voter with four $25 “democracy vouchers,” to be distributed as they wish among candidates who agree to abide by spending limits. By amplifying the contributions of ordinary citizens, reducing candidates’ reliance on Big Money, and enticing candidates to accept voluntary limits on their spending, these laws are meant to encourage politicians to pay attention to all their constituents, not just the wealthy ones. And by making realistic amounts of public financing available, the reforms have made it possible for a wider range of candidates—including, so far, waitresses, teachers, and a convenience-store clerk—to run for office and win.

George Soros: A Man With A Goal To Help The World

George Soros is someone who is known all over the world as a person who cares about society and the betterment of individuals. His primary goal in live is to be able to create the world where everyone can coexist in harmony, and where political systems are always catering to justice. He is known to be one of the biggest charitable donors in the entire world and has contributed immensely to numerous different causes. He has changed the lives of thousands of people all over the world by providing them with the kind of aid that they truly need. Soros has been featured numerous times on Forbes’ lists making it as one of the top philanthropist in the world. Soros’ reason for helping the world doesn’t just lie in his fame and his influence, but his sheer will to want to help people and get them out of the tough situations that they are in.

Know more: https://www.nytimes.com/topic/person/george-soros

Soros knew that he would require a lot of resources to be able to make a difference to people’s lives all over the world. It was for this purpose that Soros saw the world of Wall Street fit for him to make his money in. He started his ventures on Wall Street straight out of college, where he began working as a hedge fund owner. With some extremely risky trades that paid off even better, George Soros soon managed to rake up a fortune for himself. He was soon on his way to achieving the goals that he set for himself, and was on his way to make a difference in the world and political systems. He has influenced the political systems in numerous countries including America, advising the general public on whom to vote for and bring to power. Read his profile at Forbes.

This inherent need to want to help people stems from his childhood and the kind of life that he led when he was growing up. Soros was born in Hungary to a Jewish family. At the time, the part of Hungary that he was living in was still under the control of Nazi Germany, which caused a lot of distress to Soros and his family. His family and the people living around him were subjected to extremely harsh realities and had to lead a highly fearful lifestyle. This continued until his family managed to escape Hungary and move to London where they set up their new life. It was this childhood experiences that made Soros want to do something to ensure that the wrong people never come into power again and so that people can live without fear in their lives. When in London, Soros signed up for the London School of Economics which was his first step towards his goal. Learn more about his profile at washingtontimes.com.

DAMAC Group Founder Hussain Sajwani

DAMAC Properties is a global property development company that focuses on commercial, residential and leisure properties in Dubai and the Middle East. The company also deals in real estate projects. It is based in Dubai and was founded in 2002 by Husain Ali Habib Sajwani. Husain Sajwani currently acts as the chairman and chief executive officer of the company. Sajwani started the business when the Dubai government allowed foreigners to own property in the emirate. He discovered that most buyers would be foreigners, so he acquired land in an underdeveloped part of town. In less than six months, he had sold units in his 38storey building even before construction began.

Pioneers like DAMAC owner Sajwani have helped paint Dubai as one of the dream destinations of the world. He attended Washington University. After graduation, Sajwani worked as a contracts manager for GASCO, a sister of company of Abu Dhabi National Oil Company. He worked for a short period then moved on to start his own business in the catering sector in 1982. It was while in the catering business that he worked with clients such as the U.S military and construction company Bechtel. He later invested in property markets by establishing Damac properties.

Just like many other successful entrepreneurs, Sajwani has connections with top entrepreneurs in the world. He collaborated with Donald Trump in 2013 to develop two Trump-branded golf courses. International Golf Course Dubai was opened in February 2017 in DAMAC’s Akoya residential development, and the Trump World Golf Course is expected to open at a different DAMAC property in 2018.

As Trump celebrated his victory on New Year’s Eve at Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, he praised his business partners in Dubai. The Sajwani family had attended the event, and Trump gave them a mention, saying that they are wonderful people. DAMAC Properties employs around 2000 employees and has shares on the Dubai Financial Market. The company is one of the leading in luxury property development having completed more than 16,800 homes. DAMAC supports many charitable activities. In 2013, Husain Sajwani handed over a cheque of AED two million to a campaign aimed at clothing poverty-stricken children around the world.

Read more: http://www.forbes.com/profile/hussain-sajwani