07.24.12

Leahy To Speak At Judiciary Committee’s Citizens United Hearing Today

Subcommittee Of Leahy-Chaired Panel To Hold Hearing On Constitutional Amendment Proposals

WASHINGTON (TUESDAY, July 24)  – Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy (D) will speak Tuesday afternoon at a hearing examining pending constitutional proposals to remedy the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision.

Several constitutional amendments to address the Supreme Court’s decision have been introduced in the United States Senate.  Constitutional amendments are traditionally first considered by the Judiciary Committee’s subcommittee panel dedicated to constitutional matters.  At Leahy’s request, Subcommittee Chairman Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) is holding today’s hearing.

Leahy is a leading cosponsor of legislation twice proposed in the Senate to strengthen the campaign finance laws gutted by Citizens United.  The DISCLOSE Act would ensure that that individual Americans, not corporate entities or other organizations, are still the primary players in elections.  Just last week, Senate Republicans twice voted to block the Senate from debating the legislation.

Leahy chaired the first congressional hearing on the Citizens United decision in the weeks following the Court’s opinion.  In addition to sponsoring legislative fixes, he has also joined with other Senators to urge administrative agencies like the Federal Election Commission and the Securities and Exchange Commission to use their existing authorities to issue regulations to limit the effects of Citizens United.

Testifying at Tuesday’s hearing will be Charles Roemer, a former Governor of Louisiana; Lawrence Lessig, a professor of law at Harvard Law School, and Illya Shapiro, a fellow at the CATO Institute.  Sponsors of proposed constitutional amendment resolutions, including Senator Bernie Sanders (I), have also been invited to testify at today’s hearing.

The hearing, which is titled, “Taking Back Our Democracy: Responding to Citizens United and the Rise of Super PACs,” will begin at 2:30 p.m.  The hearing will be webcast live through the Judiciary Committee’s website.  Senator Leahy will speak shortly after the start of the hearing.

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