The Progressive Caucus of the City Council has sponsored a resolution opposing the United States Supreme Court Citizens United decision, which gave corporations the same First Amendment rights as people (including the right to make unlimited contributions to political campaigns), and urging the U.S. Congress to pass an amendment to the Constitution rejecting this infamous decision. Melissa is a co-lead sponsor of the resolution, which will be adopted by the entire City Council at a meeting today.
Restoring confidence in government and strengthening democratic participation is a core principle of the Progressive Caucus. We believe that corporations should not share the same rights as people, that unlimited and unreported corporate donations meant to sway the electoral process should not be considered freedom of speech, and that the government should regulate the raising and spending of money by corporations intended to influence elections.
I want to thank Speaker Quinn and my colleagues for ushering this resolution to adoption. In this time of growing inequality in our society, which has been so powerfully vocalized by the Occupy Wall Street movement, the need to disentangle corporate interests from our democratic political process is more clear than ever. This Supreme Court decision does just the opposite and that is why we are calling on Congress to amend the U.S. Constitution to make clear once and for all that corporations are not people and therefore cannot make unlimited donations to political campaigns to exercise their influence.
As Justice John Paul Stevens recognized in his dissent in the Citizens United decision, “corporations have no consciences, no beliefs, no feelings, no thoughts, no desires. Corporations help facilitate and structure the activities of human beings, to be sure, and their ‘personhood’ often serves as a useful legal fiction. But they are not themselves members of ‘We the People’ by whom and for whom our Constitution was established.”