California Supreme Court Says Voters Can Advise on Citizens United

A California Supreme Court ruling will let the state’s voters offer their collective opinion on political campaign financing. The court decision, which was handed down Monday, allows Californians to urge their members of Congress to pass a constitutional amendment overturning Citizens United.

The advisory measure, aka Proposition 49, had been struck from the state’s 2014 ballot by the same court after a challenge from a conservative group. This recent 6-1 decision puts the proposition back on the ballot, giving Californians the opportunity to speak out about the controversial campaign spending law.

The decision is primarily a symbolic political gesture.

“The reason this is going on the ballot is not because the legislature needs advice, but as a way of getting Democrats and others excited,” Richard L. Hasen, a law professor at the University of California at Irvine, told the Los Angeles Times. “Citizens United was a polarizing opinion, and it is very unpopular.”

The United States Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission essentially lifted limits on corporate and union money in politics. It has resulted in an unprecedented amount of funds being used to affect the outcomes of political campaigns.

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