Commentary by Mary G. Wilson, national president of the League of Women Voters (LWV)
The Supreme Court has made a tragic mistake. Their decision announced recently in Citizens United v. FEC is constitutionally irresponsible and will surely bring about an anti-democratic revolution in how we finance elections in this country. Today, basic pillars of American democracy have been undermined that elections should not be corrupted by vast corporate wealth and that the voters should be at the center of our democratic system.
Justice Stevens had it right when he said, in his dissent, The Courts ruling threatens to undermine the integrity of elected institutions across the Nation. The path it has taken to reach its outcome will, I fear, do damage to this institution.
In creating a new constitutional right for corporations to spend unlimited amounts of their shareholders money to determine the outcome in candidate elections, the Court has unleashed into our elections tremendous sums of money from for-profit corporations that cannot possibly be matched in quantity by contributions from ordinary citizens. The only possible outcome of this is that big money and special interests will have an even tighter grip on our democracy.
Congress and the President enacted campaign finance laws over a series of decades for a reason to protect our democracy from the perverse influence of big money in our elections. In making this decision, the Court has ignored the best interests of the American public and our representative form of government.
Note: The League of Women Voters filed an
amicus brief in the Supreme Court case of Citizens United v. FEC.