Hero of the Week Award: February 15, Rep. Rick Nolan of Minnesota

15 Feb
Hero of the Week

Hero of the Week

This week a newly elected member of the 113th Congress took a stand against Citizens United — one of the worst decisions to come from a very biased U.S. Supreme Court — and put forward an amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Rep. Rick Nolan (D – MN) is one of the Democrats who unseated a rabid Tea Party Republican in the November elections. He was in Congress before (1975 – 81), so he brings both experience and fresh eyes to the House.

Working with Rep. Mark Pocan (D – WI), Nolan crafted what he calls a “We the People” Amendment. It would clarify the Constitution by establishing two things.

  • Rights recognized under the Constitution belong to human beings only, and not to government-created artificial legal entities such as corporations and limited liability companies; and
  • Political campaign spending is not a form of speech protected under the First Amendment.

What? You mean corporations are not human beings?  Scalia and his merry band will be sad to learn this. The full text is available at the Move to Amend website.

It is significant to note that during his time away from Congress Rep. Nolan served as president of the U.S. Export Corporation and the Minnesota World Trade Center. He is not anti-corporation but understands their limited and appropriate role. How wonderful to see him bring that experience to bear for the benefit of all.

A Constitutional amendment is a tall order and will take time and effort. It may even be a non-starter in Boehner’s House of Tears. Congress has the power to amend, however, to check the decisions of the Supreme Court. Thanks to Reps. Nolan and Pocan, however, the momentum has started.

4 Responses to “Hero of the Week Award: February 15, Rep. Rick Nolan of Minnesota”

  1. Bruce Kestelman February 15, 2013 at 11:07 am #

    Thanks Michael. The “We the People Amendment” flew under my radar. I don’t think it’s gotten news coverage here in Milwaukee, not far from Congressman Pocan’s district in Madison.

  2. Jay February 15, 2013 at 3:34 pm #

    I appreciate this proposal, but looking at how profoundly gridlocked our politics are today, and how powerful the forces of obstructionism have become, it is difficult to imagine any Constitutional amendments passing anytime soon. Direct election of the President, by abolishing the Electoral College, is another amendment with genuine popular appeal that is occasionally discussed, but it hasn’t been able to gain any traction.

    For now, this is useful symbolism. There’s solace in the notion that since our nation has overcome seemingly insurmountable divisions in the past, that such a time will eventually come again.

    But I think it is fair to say that we aren’t there yet.

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt February 16, 2013 at 8:29 am #


      I agree with your assessment here. I do think it is important to underscore the significance of the symbolism.

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