REAL Democracy History Calendar – March 27 – April 2

March 27

1990 – U.S. Supreme Court rules corporate spending in elections can be limited if compelling interest

The court ruled in Austin v. Michigan Chamber of Commerce (494 U.S. 652) that a Michigan law prohibiting corporations from using their treasury funds for independent expenditures to oppose or support candidates in state elections did not violate the 1st or 14th Amendments. The case acknowledged the state’s compelling interest in responding to a “different type of corruption in the political arena: the corrosive and distorting effects of immense aggregations of wealth that are accumulated with the help of the corporate form and that have little or no correlation to the public’s support for the corporation’s political ideas.” The 2010 Citizens United vs Federal Elections Commission Supreme Court decision overruled this decision.

2002 – Congress passes “McCain-Feingold” (Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act) – increases regulation of political campaign financing

The Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (better known as the McCain-Feingold Act after its chief sponsors) was passed by Congress to strengthen the regulations of political campaign financing. Its chief sponsors were Senators Russ Feingold (D-WI) and John McCain (R-AZ).

The Act addressed political “soft money” (by outlawing money raised or spent by national political party committees not subject to federal limits) and “issue advocacy ads” (by limiting broadcast ads as to when they can be aired and prohibiting funding for them from profit and nonprofit corporations and unions).
The 2010 Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission Supreme Court decision overturned this law.

March 28

2015 – “What the BLEEP Happened to Hip Hop,” a two-day event in Detroit

Hip Hop Congress and Move to Amend partner to present: “What the Bleep Happened to Hip Hop?”, a multi-racial and intergenerational public education two-day event. It was part of a larger national campaign seeking to raise awareness of the dangerous power corporations currently wield over the hip hop industry specifically, and over the arts, culture and society in general.

March 29

1875 – U.S. Supreme Court rules that women don’t have equal protection rights under the 14th Amendment in Minor v. Happersett (88 U.S. 162)

The Supreme Court rules that women do not have equal protection rights under the 14th Amendment. They had argued that their right to vote could not be denied by the state under the amendment The Court rejected the argument, stating that the 14th Amendment was only intended to apply to black males. Nine years later, the Supreme Court awarded equal protection and due process rights to corporations. Women would not be granted the right to vote until 1920. The Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) barring discrimination based on sex passed Congress in 1972 but only 35 of the 38 states needed to ratify it did so, and it died in 1982.

March 30

1822 – Birth sometime this month of Harriet Tubman, “conductor” on the Underground Railroad

“I freed thousands of slaves; I could have freed more if they knew they were slaves.”

[Note: How many of us know we are enslaved by our mental box of reality and limitation we ourselves place on what we think is possible.]

2016 – Statement on Supreme Court by Michele Gilman, University of Baltimore law professor

“A popular conception of the Supreme Court is that it is designed to protect vulnerable minorities from majoritarian rule. Instead, the court of recent memory has enhanced a powerful minority at the expense of the majority. I believe we currently have a court for the one percent.”

Michele Gilman, University of Baltimore law prof, The Conversation, March 30, 2016

March 31

1927 – Birth of Cesar Chavez, American labor leader, civil rights activist and co-founder of the National Farm Workers Association (later the United Farm Workers union, UFW)

March 31st is César Chávez Day, a holiday observed in ten states. The holiday memorializes the life and work of this Mexican-American farmworker. His creative uses of nonviolent tactics helped create a solidarity movement to benefit the working conditions and lives of farmworkers, all workers and consumers. His most famous campaign was the nationwide boycott of table grapes.

1999 – Release date of the film “The Matrix”

“Let me tell you why you’re here. You’re here because you know something. What you know you can’t explain, but you feel it. You’ve felt it your entire life, that there’s something wrong with the world. You don’t know what it is, but it’s there, like a splinter in your mind driving you mad. It is this feeling that has brought you to me. Do you know what I’m talking about?” — Morpheus to Neo

[Note: Morpheus could easily be asking the same question to all of us today in our politically and economically increasing top-down, corporate-controlled society.]

April 1 

1929 – Birth of Milan Kundera, Czech writer

“The struggle of man against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting.”

2010- Publication of “The Case Against Judicial Review” by David Cobb

“In a nutshell, judicial review is the power of a court to review the actions of executive or legislative bodies to determine whether the action is consistent with a statute, a treaty or the U.S. Constitution. In its most basic expression, it is the authority of the unelected Supreme Court to declare acts of elected members of Congress or the elected President unconstitutional…Judicial review is an undemocratic extension of the undemocratic nature of the Constitution itself, a document protecting the rights of property over the rights of people. Given that the Constitution was drafted by a small number of people who met behind closed doors, the fact that a small number of unelected judges overrule citizen initiatives or laws passed by legislative bodies is not very surprising…The sobering reality is that judicial review is politically illegitimate. The fundamental premise of this government is that all legitimate political power resides with the people. “

http://movetoamend.org/case-against-judicial-review

April 2

2014 – McCutcheon vs Federal Election Commission Supreme Court decision – prohibition on political contribution aggregate limits. 

The decision (12-536) struck down aggregate limits on individual contributions to national political parties and federal political candidate committees. The existing limits, which Mr. Shaun McCutcheon asserted were too constraining and violated his First Amendment “free speech” rights, had stood at a stifling $46,000 for federal candidates and $70,800 for political parties, or a $117,000 aggregate limit in the last election cycle. Following the decision, McCutcheon and his 1% friends are now free to donate to as many candidates as they wish and to as many political parties as they desire knowing their “free speech rights” are protected.

The aggregate limits dated back to the Watergate era of the early 70’s. The majority of the Supreme Court justices obviously felt that the rules to curb the political corruption of the Nixon era connected to money in elections were as antiquated as bell-bottoms and vinyl records.

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