In a previous article on the implications of the Citizens United ruling, I made an error which was pointed out in comments. However, the article did ask what would be the next Supreme Court rulings which would move us further into increasing money influence and harm to democracy.
The next major ruling hasn't occurred yet, but the Supreme Court has now said it will hear a case which could result in such a ruling.
The Court will consider a challenge to a legal limit on the amount of money an individual can contribute to federal election campaigns in a 2-year period.
A Feb. 20 NY Times editorial says, "If the justices were to overturn that decision, it would be the first time that the court has struck down a contribution limit as unconstitutional. That would eliminate an essential tool in combating the corrupting effects of money in politics."
"This latest case threatens to demolish even the modest control that government has over direct contributions."
Currently, the Federal Election Commission limits individuals to "$46,200 on contributions to candidates and their committees and $70,800 on contributions to other political committees" in a 2-year period. Even the first and smaller of the two figures is about the median gross income for Americans. The current contribution limits already allow the rich to contribute far above what would be feasible for an average American. And this is above and beyond the unlimited expenditures the rich are now allowed to use through corporations and SuperPACs.
With a few exceptions, our politicians have been too under the sway of big money to even talk much about amending the constitution to prevent the unlimited expenditures allowed by the Citizens United ruling. This case should be a wake-up call for anyone who was deluding themselves the process wouldn't lead to further court cases and rulings. We can't afford to wait until the ruling on this case. We need to put enormous pressure on elected officials to act. We should make clear this is a "With Us" or "Against Us" issue when we go to vote. And we must build a movement independent of elected officials to organize whatever it takes to reverse the erosion of our democracy.