Corporate Accountability

Anti-Citizens United Amendment Ballot Measure Gets Favorable Hearing

Washington, DC – In August of last year, the California Supreme Court issued a temporary stay, which removed from the 2014 state ballot a measure known as Proposition 49, which calls for an advisory vote by Californians on a proposed amendment to the United States Constitution to overturn Citizens United v. FEC and give the people the power to regulate money in politics. Ruling by a vote of 5-1, the court ordered full briefing of the case on the merits, with Justice Goodwin Liu writing a lengthy concurring opinion setting out his views about why this measure did not belong on the ballot. A year later, after extensive briefing, the Justices today heard oral argument.    


“Today’s oral argument sounded like a sharp turnaround from the temporary ruling that removed Proposition 49 from the ballot a year ago last August,” CAC Civil Rights Director David Gans observed. “Many of the Justices—including Justice Liu—recognized that the state legislature has a special role in the federal amendment process. Under our constitutional system, the legislature has clear authority to seek the input of the people in deciding whether to call for an amendment to our nation’s charter. The people of the state of California should not be denied the opportunity to show their support for overturning rulings, such as Citizens United, that pervert the Constitution and harm our democracy.” 


CAC Counsel Tom Donnelly continued, “Americans remain deeply concerned about the corrupting influence of money in politics, Californians included. Proposition 49 simply gives them a say in finding a solution.”






CAC’s “friend of the court” brief in Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association v. Padilla: 


“Money in Politics in California: Let the Voters Have Their Say,” Tom Donnelly, Huffington Post, October 5, 2015: 




Constitutional Accountability Center ( is a think tank, public interest law firm, and action center dedicated to fulfilling the progressive promise of the Constitution’s text and history.