The conservative hosts of Fox News' The Five acted horrified at House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi's statement that she wants to "amend the Constitution" to reverse the Supreme Court's decision in Citizens United v. FEC, a decision that Pelosi said "flies in the face of our founders' vision." The Fox hosts acted as if this was a radical idea, but Fox hosts and congressional Republicans have repeatedly proposed amending the Constitution.
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Pelosi: "Amend The Constitution" To Stop "Secret, Unlimited" Corporate Campaign Donations
Pelosi Calls For "A New Politics Free Of Special Interest Money." During an April 19 press conference, Pelosi called out Republicans for refusing to hold a hearing on the DISCLOSE Act, a campaign finance reform bill:
On another subject, but related, yesterday House Administration Democrats held a forum on the need to create a new politics free of special interest money. I call it a forum because we were not allowed to call it a hearing because the Republicans will not allow a hearing on DISCLOSE. They did not allow the camera system of the room to be used to transmit the proceedings from the forum to the rest of the world. We think that this is about transparency, DISCLOSE. Stand by your ads. If you are so proud of what you are doing with your effective political action, then let the world know who is paying for this ad; not by the end of the year, or the end of the month, but by the end of the ad, in real time. We have to do it as candidates. They should have to do it as contributors. [Pelosi press conference, 4/19/12]
Pelosi Proposed To "Amend The Constitution" To Reverse Supreme Court Decision That Allows "Secret, Unlimited" Corporate Money In Campaigns. From the press conference:
We have a clear agenda in this regard. DISCLOSE, reform the system, reducing the role of money in campaigns, and amend the Constitution to rid it of this ability for special interests to let secret, unlimited huge amounts of money flow into campaigns. I think one of the presenters yesterday said it was -- that the Supreme Court had unleashed a predator that was oozing slime into the political system, and that indeed is not an exaggeration. Our founders had an idea. It was called democracy. [They] said the elections are determined by the people, the voice, and the vote of the people, not by the bankrolls of the privileged few. The Supreme Court decision flies in the face of our founders' vision, and we want to reverse it. [Pelosi press conference, 4/19/12]
Fox Hosts Suggest Pelosi Is In Outer Space For Proposing To Amend The Constitution ...
Fox's Bolling's Reaction To Pelosi's Proposal To Amend The Constitution To Limit Corporate Money In Campaigns: "Wow." From the April 20 edition of Fox News' The Five:
ERIC BOLLING (co-host): There's the delightful Nancy Pelosi exposing her liberal bias against free market capitalism and legal political donations. Watch.
PELOSI [video clip]: We have a clear agenda in this regard. DISCLOSE, reform the system, reducing the role of money in campaigns, and amend the Constitution to rid it of this ability for special interests to use secret, unlimited, huge amounts of money flowing to campaigns.
BOLLING: Just listen carefully. Again, these are her words. Listen.
PELOSI [video clip]: We have a clear agenda. [break in video] Amend the Constitution.
BOLLING: "We have a clear agenda to amend the Constitution."
BOLLING: Bob, we have a clear agenda to amend the Constitution?
BOB BECKEL (co-host): Yes, we do, we do. Exactly right.
BOLLING: Wow. Wow. And you're admitting it.
BECKEL: And the reason for that is a decidedly conservative right-wing court ruled in Citizens, in the Citizens case versus the Federal Election Commission. Citizens United. They allowed corporations to have the same standing as individuals, which under the First Amendment there never was any intent, there was never a discussion about that. Wait a second. And the fact of the matter is they have fundamentally changed the way American politics works. They fundamentally changed the Republican primary system. They are a threat, and we ought to amend the Constitution, and specifically take out corporations under that law.
DANA PERINO (co-host): I'm going to love this. In 2012, it will be wonderful if the Democrats' position is that they're going to amend the First Amendment. Good luck with that. You can't -- I also think it's unbecoming of Democrats to call the Court a decidedly right-wing court. When the Court agrees with the liberal position, then it is the final word, and that is pristine. If it is an argument that you disagree with, then they are right-wing kooks. I think that's really unfair.
ANDREA TANTAROS (co-host): When you see Nancy Pelosi standing in front of that podium, you go: "This is central command. Pelosi back to earth, please." [Fox News, The Five, 4/20/12]
... But Fox Hosts Have Repeatedly Advocated Amending The Constitution
Hannity Suggested Changing The First Amendment To Ban Flag Burning. The Supreme Court has held that bans on flag burning violate the First Amendment's protection of free speech. Sean Hannity has advocated a constitutional amendment to overturn that decision, calling flag burning "treason" and saying that there are limits to the freedom of speech. From the May 28, 2001, edition of Fox News' now-defunct Hannity & Colmes:
HANNITY (co-host) : But first, leading our debate across America on this Memorial Day: Should Americans have the right to burn the flag? Senator Orrin Hatch has proposed an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to ban flag-burning in the United States. Those who oppose the ban say it's a violation of the 1st Amendment right to free speech and expression. So does the American flag symbolize the freedom to burn it?
Joining us from Seattle tonight is the chairman of the board of the Citizens Flag Alliance, retired Army major general Patrick Brady. And from Washington, vice president and legal director of People for the American Way, Elliot Mincberg.
Thank you both for being with us.
Elliot, here's the bottom line. You can yell at the American flag. You can scream at it. You can say anything you want. You don't have to pledge allegiance to it, if you don't want to. But in my view, those men that fought under that flag -- that is our sacred memorial to them. And as an honor to them, we should not allow flag-burning.
HANNITY: You know, Elliot, as we -- we show people doing this here on the screen as we speak -- you know what? There's all sorts of limits on freedom of speech and expression. You can't cry "Fire" in a crowded theater. You can't make terroristic threats against other citizens. You walk down any street in America, you can't do it with your clothes off.
So there's all sorts of limits, and I believe our Founders talked a lot about treason and giving aid and comfort to the enemy. And I think that's exactly what -- what is happening when people are out there burning our flag, which represents this country. It's an act of treason. [Fox News, Hannity & Colmes, 5/28/01, via Nexis]
Fox's Doocy: "Maybe It's Time To Go Ahead And Re-Examine" The 14th Amendment. Numerous Fox News hosts have suggested that the clause of the 14th Amendment that provides birthright citizenship to all persons born in the United States is harmful. Fox News host Steve Doocy stated in August 2010 that "maybe it's time to go ahead and re-examine" the 14th Amendment. [Media Matters, 1/10/11]
Fox's Huckabee: "I Think We Ought To Talk About Repealing The 16th Amendment." On the October 16, 2009, edition of Fox News Radio's Brian & The Judge, Fox News host Mike Huckabee said, "I think we ought to talk about repealing the 16th Amendment, which authorizes the IRS." Fox News senior judicial analyst Andrew Napolitano has also called for abolishing the 16th Amendment [Media Matters, 9/7/10, 12/10/10]
Fox's Napolitano, Huckabee, And Beck All Suggested We Repeal The 17th Amendment. Napolitano has said that the most important reform we could accomplish would be to "repeal the 17th Amendment," the amendment that provided for senators to be directly elected by the people rather than by state legislators. Huckabee called the 17th Amendment "one of the dumbest things we ever did." And on his now-defunct Fox News show, Beck said that he knew the 17th Amendment was a "bad thing" because Woodrow Wilson supported it. [Media Matters, 9/7/10]
Congressional Republicans Also Have Championed Numerous Constitutional Amendments
Republicans Have Proposed 51 Amendments In The Current Congress Alone. To date, in the 112th Congress, which began in January 2011 and will continue until January 2013, Republicans have proposed 51 constitutional amendments, 41 in the House, and 10 in the Senate. One was proposed by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. The Republican-proposed constitutional amendments include a change to the First Amendment to ban flag burning, a repeal of the 16th Amendment, and numerous other subjects. [Library of Congress, accessed 4/20/12; Library of Congress, accessed 4/20/12; Library of Congress, accessed 4/20/12]