Bernie Sanders Dislikes Citizens United Ruling So Much, If President, He Vows To Nominate SCOTUS Justice Based On It
Presidential candidate and senator Bernie Sanders was interviewed on CBS' Face the Nation Sunday morning. Sanders reconfirmed that he is, in fact, running as a Democrat despite his Independent status and will "abide by all of the regulations that come down in each of the states." He spoke at length about his status as a democratic socialist, pointing to the more progressive countries of central Europe and Scandinavia as inspiration for his overall platform. In that regard, Sanders advocates for universal healthcare as well as college education. But perhaps one of the strongest points Sanders made was in regards to Citizens United, a SCOTUS ruling often cited as the case that made corporations akin to people in regards to political campaign spending.
Sanders cited Citizens United as a larger representation of what's wrong in American politics. One of his biggest goals is overturning the ruling and the way he plans on going about that is directly through the Supreme Court. Explains Sanders:
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. Let me say this: if elected president I will have a litmus test in terms of my nominee to be a Supreme Court justice and that nominee will say that we are going to overturn this disastrous Supreme Court decision on Citizens United because that decision is undermining American democracy. I do not believe that billionaires should be able to buy politicians.
Given that four of the nine Supreme Court justices will be 77 or older by year's end, the next president may very well be tasked with nominating a new justice during their term. Sanders sees this potential opportunity as a chance to overturn Citizens United. The landmark 2010 Supreme Court case reversed previous rulings and stated that corporations and unions are able to spend as much as they want on political campaigns so long as they don't directly fund candidates. Citizens United's reach has changed the very way that campaigns are funded. Now copious SuperPACs litter the political field, something that Sanders strongly opposes.
Sanders intends to practice what he preaches when it comes to opposing corporate donations to political campaigns: he has refused to associate with any SuperPACs. When Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer mentioned fellow Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton admitting to using a SuperPAC as more of a necessary evil than anything, Sanders said that he could relate. Instead of copping to political pressure, however, he said that he was proud of the donations he has received from regular citizens rather than businesses:
We announced a week and a half ago, and since that time we have had 200,000 people go to BernieSanders.com to sign up for the campaign. We've had close to 90,000 contributions. You know what the average contribution was? It's about $43. Forty-three bucks, from middle class working families. So I don't think we're going to outspend Hillary Clinton or Jeb Bush or anybody else, but I think we are gonna raise the kind of money we need to run a strong and winning campaign.
Sanders said that he may very well be the most progressive candidate to announce so far and believes that he can beat Clinton based on his socialist democratic leanings and not through an expensive political campaign.
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