Tuesday, March 3, 2015

the new Regressive Movement

It's shameful! The Supreme  Court, which launched its Regressive Movement by overturning a century-old law forbidding corporate and union contributions to political campaigns in the Citizens United case, now seems headed toward outlawing another reform of the early 20th century progressive movement -- citizen ballot initiatives. In arguments Monday, a majority of justices seemed ready to overturn the Arizona law requiring redistricting by a nonpartisan panel, another reform in several states to get around partisan gerrymandering.

Justices seemed fixated on the Constitutional requirement for election rules to be set by state "legislatures" rather than state legislative power. A century ago, several states started letting voters choose Senators instead of legislatures alone, as the Constitution provided. A formal amendment was adopted making that practice universal. That may be the only way around the expected Supreme Court decision.

But it is a shame that the Justices should reject a reasonable reform of our political processes and simultaneously call into question the progressive reforms of initiatives, referenda, and recall.

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