FAQ Prop 59

Defend Democracy - VOTE YES on PROP 59

Our democracy is in crisis.  BIG MONEY makes all the rules.  No matter where you are on the political spectrum our democracy’s dysfunction is there for all of us to see and everyday Americans are suffering as a result.

Q. How did this happen?

A.     It happened over time with a series of disastrous Supreme Court decisions.

  • The US Supreme Court started to give constitutional rights to corporations.
  • In 1976, The Court redefined speech to say that money was the same thing as “free speech.”
  • In 2010, the Citizens United decision opened the floodgates of corporate money (even foreign!)

Q. How does this affect me?

A.     Here’s the deal: 

  • Major corporations and billionaires make US policy – their pursuit of profit eclipses everything else.
  • We the People have no say – ZERO!  It’s been proven.  Literally!
  • They always get what they want.  We never get what we want.

Q. How does Prop 59 help?

A.     Prop 59 calls for our California politicians to support a Constitutional Amendment that:

  • Clarifies that corporations do not have constitutional rights because they are not people.  People are people and we know one when we see one!
  • Defines speech as something that comes out of a person’s mouth, not a wallet or offshore account.

Q. Doesn't this infringe on free speech?

A.     Prop 59 does NOT prevent anyone from speaking; it simply prevents billionaires and corporations from being able to use their wealth to drown out everyone else’s voice.  It’s no different from limiting the volume of amplified speech in public places.

Q. What about the press?  Doesn’t the press have First Amendment rights?

A.     Yes, they do.  And they have their own clause in the First Amendment to prove it:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free expression thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

We’re not touching any of that.

  • The 28th Amendment will strengthen press freedoms to allow for more diverse voices.
  • 6 corporations control 90% of what Americans watch, read and hear across all media. 

Q. Don’t corporations need constitutional rights so we can hold them accountable when they do harm?

A.     No.

  • Corporations have statutory rights, which are different from constitutional rights.
  • Statutory rights allow corporations a legal standing so they can enter into contracts and sue and be sued.  They don’t need constitutional rights for that!

Q.  Doesn't this all go away if the next justice disagrees with the Citizens United decision?

A.     No.

  • Courts are notoriously slow, and courts can change.  Today's ruling can be overruled next week.  An amendment is forever.

 

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