02/02/2010

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Sen. Kerry backs changing Constitution to deal with Supreme Court decision - TheHill.com Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) on Tuesday threw his support behind a constitutional amendment aimed at gutting the impact of a Supreme Court decision lifting key restrictions on corporate campaign spending.“I think we need a constitutional amendment to make it clear once and for all that corporations do not have the same free speech rights as individuals,” Kerry said during a Senate Rules Committee hearing.Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Pa.) is the only other senator so far to back the idea of taking on the Herculean task of passing a constitutional amendment in response to the high court’s 5-4 Citizens United ruling.The White House and Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) for months have been bracing for the sweeping Supreme Court decision that freed corporations and unions to spend money on independent expenditures during all times of the campaign. The decision also reversed a provision of the 2002 McCain-Feingold campaign finance bill barring corporations and unions from funding issue ads airing 30 days before a primary and 60 days before a general election.Pelosi has put Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) in charge of a task force that will produce legislation aimed at blunting the court’s ruling.Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), chairman of the Senate Rules and Administration Committee, will serve as Van Hollen’s Senate counterpart and will try to work quickly to pass a legislative package curbing the power of corporations and unions before this year’s mid-term Congressional elections begin in earnest.Most opponents of the high court’s decision regard passing a constitutional amendment as a long-term, long-shot goal because it requires the support of two-thirds of the House and Senate and three-fourths of the states to ratify it. Many Republican members of Congress support the Supreme Court’s decision, a high hurdle to overcome in amending the Constitution.A new poll may help bolster support for a Constitutional...

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