The Northampton City Council unanimously passed a "Resolution to Amend the Constitution of the United States" on Thursday night aimed at rejecting a Supreme Court ruling allowing unlimited campaign contributions by corporations.
The resolution, which came before the council in its second reading, sought to articulate the definition of "person" to "not include corporations, limited liability companies, or other corporate entities". The resolution comes two years after the Supreme Court removed limits on campaign donations by corporations.
City Councilor-at-Large Bill Dwight, the sponsor of the resolution, was encouraged by the unanimous vote. "Resolutions are an expression of the community's will by and large, particularly on issues that have a direct impact on our lives," stated Dwight. "It's important that people know that we do not accept the decision of the Supreme Court."
Dwight also noted that it was the most publicly supported resolution he has ever witnessed as a councilor.
The resolution will now be sent to both state and federal Massachusetts congressmen, the Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., and the President Barack Obama.
The full context of the resolution can be read below:
À Upon the Recommendation of City Council President William H. Dwight, Councilor
§.S.S.¢.M..AdamS,.C.QunQi1or.l\/laureen.TlT..Ca11ney,.Couneilo1‘Pamela@Schwartz Councilor Marianne L. LaBa1^ge, and Northampton Human Rights Commission
Resolution to Amend the Constitution of the United States
WHEREAS, We the people adopted and ratified the United States Constitution to protect
the free speech and other rights of people, not corporations; -
WHEREAS, Corporations are not people instead are entities created by the law of
states and nations; _
WHEREAS, for the past three decades, a divided United States Supreme Court has
1 erroneously transformed the First Amendment into a powerful tool for corporations
_ì seeking to evade and invalidate the peop1e’s laws;
WHEREAS, this corporate misuse ofthe First Amendment and Constitution has reached
an extreme conclusion in the United States Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United v.
Federal Election Commission; i
WHEREAS, C_itizensUníted v. Federal Election Commission overturned longstanding
precedent prohibiting corporations from spending corporate general treasury funds inour
elections; _ .
WHEREAS, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission unleashes a torrent of
corporate money in 'our political process unmatched by any campaign expenditure totals
in United States history;
WHEREAS, Citizens United v.'Federa1 Election Commission purports to invalidate state _
laws and even state Constitutional provisions separating corporate money from elections;
WHEREAS, Citizens United V. Federal Election Commissicn serious and
direct threat to our republican democracy; V
people and states ofthe United States of America to use the constitutional amendment
process to correct those egregiously wrong decisions of the United States Supreme Court
that go to the heart of our democracy and republican and
WHEREAS, the people and states of the United States of America have strengthened the
nation and preserved liberty and equality for all by using the amendment process
throughout our history, including in seven ofthe ten decades of the 20th Century, and
including to reverse seven erroneous Supreme Court decisions.
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the City Council of Northampton, Massachusetts,
acting in the spirit and history of our community, does hereby declare_ that We call upon
the United States Congress to pass and send to the states for ratification a Constitutional
Amendment to hold thewords people, person, or citizen as used inthe United States
Constitution do not include corporations, limited liability companies, or other corporate
entities established by the laws of any state, the United States, or any foreign state,
reverse the Citizens United V. Federal Election Commission decision andto thereby
restore Constitutional rights and fair elections to the people. To that end, the Mayor shall
send copies of this resolution to Massachusetts State Representative Peter Kocot,
Massachusetts State Senator Stanley Rosenberg, Governor Deval Patrick, United States -
Congressman Richard Neal and United States Senators John Kerry and Scott Brown, the
United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary, the House of Representatives
Committee on the Judiciary, the United States Attorney General, Eric H. Holder Jr., and
the President of the'United States, Barack Obama.I . _
Photo courtesy of Brian Glanz via Flickr. Used under creative commons license.