By: Tiffany Muller, Opinion Contributor
Americans get it. They know when events in Washington will affect their lives and whether they’ll have an impact on our country’s future.
In fact, according to a new poll, more than 7 in 10 Americans think adding the next Supreme Court justice will make a big difference on the direction of our nation.
They’re right. The Supreme Court will weigh in on some of the our most pressing challenges and controversies. None of its decisions are more fundamental to our democracy than those pertaining to money in politics.
Our democracy won’t work if all our citizens don’t have an equal voice. Yet, Trump’s nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch, who supported a ruling that corporations are people, flies in the face of such an idea. It undercuts the belief held by a large, bipartisan majority of Americans who agree that we should overturn the Citizens United decision, which empowered corporate special interests and opened the floodgates for unlimited and undisclosed money in our elections.
After watching “outside groups” (most of which that take unlimited or anonymous donations) spend more than $1.5 billion in the 2016 elections, Americans are overwhelmingly demanding change.
A majority of Americans in every part of the country, regardless of party or ideology, believe that money in politics is corroding our democracy. They understand that it’s fueling a system designed to cater to wealthy and corporate special interests, while the rest of us are left behind. They don’t want an out-of-touch Court that doubles down by giving special interests more control of our elections.
Neil Gorsuch’s record is troubling, to say the least. In the Hobby Lobby case, he supported a ruling which held that corporations are “persons.” In Riddle v. Hickenlooper, his opinion suggested a desire to give unprecedented constitutional protections to political contributions – which would throw out our last remaining limits on mega-donors who are trying to buy our elections.
This record indicates that Judge Gorsuch would join the extreme wing on the Court to form a majority that ensures the system stays rigged to favor corporations and billionaires with special interests.
We’d have more money and less transparency in our elections. Big Money would be able to expand its undue and outsized influence on our democracy, and American families would have an even harder time making their voices heard in our politics.
Gorsuch’s nomination is part of a troubling and dangerous pattern. He’s the latest in a long line of President Trump’s appointments who are hostile to safeguards in our campaign finance laws that are designed to protect our democracy from the corrosive influence of money in politics.
It’s not surprising though. President Trump has surrounded himself with a cadre of individuals with close ties to Super PACs and secret money groups.
Americans flat-out oppose these efforts to empower a class of mega political donors in our democracy. The poll, released the day after Gorsuch’s nomination, tells us 78 percent of voters are more likely to oppose a nominee who will keep letting corporations and special interests use money to gain influence and drown out the voice of individuals in politics.
In a time of stark political divisions, Americans are united on getting big money out of our politics. They’re right about that, too. If we don’t, the voices of everyday Americans will be muted by the special interests.
The stakes are as high as ever. Our democracy is on the line. The U.S. Senate must reject Judge Gorsuch.
Tiffany Muller is the President and Executive Director of End Citizens United, a grassroots-funded campaign finance reform group dedicated to overturning Citizens United and ending the use of unlimited and undisclosed spending in elections.