Bernie Sanders: Any Supreme Court Nominee of Mine Must Pledge to Overturn Citizens United (VIDEO)

The Vermont Senator once again puts campaign finance reform front and center.

Though he went almost seven months without being mentioned on Meet the Press, Bernie Sanders has been making the rounds on the other Sunday morning shows since announcing his candidacy almost two weeks ago. Last Sunday, he sat down with George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s This Week, and today he fielded questions from Face the Nation’s Bob Schieffer [video embedded below], stressing the importance of campaign finance reform and combating what he calls “the billionaire class in America”:

There is, in my view, massive dissatisfaction with the corporate establishment and the greed of corporate America… when you have 99% of new wealth going to the top 1%, when you have the top tenth of one percent owning almost as much as the bottom 90%... people don’t think that’s a good idea. As a result of this disastrous Citizens United Supreme court decision, clearly the billionaires - Koch brothers and others - are owning the political process. They will determine who the candidates are.

But when prompted by the CBS host to critique Hillary Clinton’s use of a Super PAC - the primary fundraising mechanism resulting from Citizens United - the Vermont Senator refused to go all out, stressing that he “understood why she was doing it”.

Sanders claims to have over 200,000 volunteers signed up and received over 90,000 donations at an average donation of $43 from “mostly working and middle-class Americans”.

Sanders would go on to level measured criticism at the former Secretary of State and Senator, citing her support of causes deeply unpopular among progressives such as the Transpacific Trade Partnership and the Iraq War.

Most surprising of all was Sanders’ announcement that he would have, as President, a litmus test for his Supreme Court nominees, demanding they overturn Citizens United as a condition of their selection. Litmus tests are something from which politicians typically shy away and are largely seen as taboo. Obama rejected Litmus tests back in 2010 saying he would “follow the time-honored answer of presidents from both parties in saying that no single issue would determine his selection”.

It appears, however, from his embrace of the word “socialism”, to rejecting SuperPACs to the use of Litmus tests, that Sanders plans on doing things a bit differently. Time will tell if this approach will mount a real threat to the well-oiled Clinton machine. 

Watch the entire interview below.

Adam Johnson is a contributing writer for AlterNet. Follow him on Twitter at @adamjohnsonnyc

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