Specter pitches constitutional amendment in response to Citizens United case

Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Pa) on Thursday railed on the Supreme Court's decision to permit corporations and unions to spend as individuals do during elections.

The Supreme Court handed that decision down in the Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission case early Thursday morning -- a ruling Specter later described in a tweet as a threat to the nation's political system:

Today's Court decision rejects 100 yrs of precedent and our democratic principles. To call corporate money free speech is judicial activism.

Specter shortly after offered one solution to the court's decision:

The decision affects the legitimacy of elections everywhere - we need to consider a Constitutional amendment.

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Democrats have already mulled the possibility of some legislation to restore portions of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002, which the court's ruling partly invalidated.

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said in a statement early Thursday that lawmakers had to examine "legislative ways" to reverse the court's ruling. Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) later assured Democrats would similarly examine the possibilities on the House side.

"We will review the decision, work with the Obama Administration, and explore legislative options available to mitigate the impact of this disappointing decision," she said in a statement.

No one, until Specter's tweet, had explicitly mentioned the possibility of a constitutional amendment.

Still, such an amendment would be one way for Democrats to reverse the court's ruling. However, it is unclear how, exactly Democrats would write such an important revision, much less whether there would be sufficient support in the chamber and the electorate to pass it.

Two-thirds of both chambers would have to approve such a measure -- already a difficulty, as some Republicans support the ruling -- and three-forths of the states must ratify it. Both would be exceptionally daunting tasks in an election year already saddled with tough, national debates on healthcare reforms, cap and trade rules and financial regulatory fixes.

(Cross posted to Twitter Room)

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