May 23, 2012 - Nevada County Move To Amend, the local affiliate group of the national Move To Amend organization (www.movetoamend.org), is proud to have helped the following resolution be adopted by the City Council of Nevada City on March 14, 2012:
RESOLUTION NO. 2012-08 - RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF NEVADA CITY FOR CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT
Establish as a position of the Nevada City City Council that corporations should not receive the same constitutional rights as natural persons do, and that because money is not speech, limits on political spending will promote the goals of the First Amendment by ensuring that all citizens, regardless of wealth, have an opportunity to have their political views heard.
WHEREAS, the United States Constitution and the Bill of rights are intended to protect the rights of individual human beings ("natural persons"); and
WHEREAS, corporations are not mentioned in the Constitution and The People have never granted constitutional rights to corporations, nor have We decreed that corporations have authority that exceeds the authority of "We the People"; and
WHEREAS, corporations can and do make important contributions to our society using advantages that government has wisely granted them, but the City Council does not consider them natural persons; and
WHEREAS, United States Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black in a 1938 opinion stated, "I do not believe the word 'person' in the Fourteenth Amendment includes corporations"; and,
WHEREAS, the United States Supreme Court recognized in Austin v. Michigan Chamber of Commerce (1990) the threat to a republican form of government posed by the "corrosive and distorting effects of immense aggregations of wealth that are accumulated with the help of the corporate form and that have little or no correlation to the public's support for the corporations' political ideas"; and
WHEREAS, the United States Supreme Court in Citizens United v. the Federal Election Commission (2010) reversed the decision in Austin, and presents a serious threat to self-government by rolling back legal limits on corporate spending in an electoral process allowing unlimited corporate spending to influence elections, candidate selection, policy decisions and sway votes; and
WHEREAS, City Councilors have sworn to uphold the United States Constitution in our Oath of Office; and,
WHEREAS, Article V of the United States Constitution empowers and obligates the people of the states of the United States of America to use the constitutional amendment process to correct those egregiously wrong decisions of the United States Supreme Court that go the heart of our democracy and the republican form of self-government; and
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that it is the position of the Nevada City Council that organizations should not receive the same constitutional rights as natural persons do and that because money is not speech, limits on political spending will promote the goals of the first Amendment by ensuring that all citizens, regardless of wealth, have an opportunity to have their political views heard.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the City of Nevada City hereby includes in its 20120 Federal Legislative Agenda support for efforts to pass an Amendment to the United States Constitution related to campaign finance reform and ending the false doctrine of corporate constitutional rights and, respectfully urges California's Congressional delegation to prioritize congressional proposal of an Amendment to the United States Constitution addressing the threats to representative government identified in this resolution so that the states may ratify it; and,
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that should Congress fail to propose such an amendment in six months time, the City Council will explore options for presenting an advisory ballot measure to the voters of Nevada City giving them the opportunity to expressly instruct Nevada City's congressional delegation to prioritize passage of such an amendment; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Council hereby directs the City Attorney to research the options for placing such an advisory questions on the Nevada City city ballot in the ways that Madison, Wisconsin; Boulder, Colorado; and Missoula, Montana have recently done; and,
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the City of Nevada City calls on, other communities and jurisdictions and organizations like the U.S. Conference of Mayors and National League of Cities to join with us in this action by passing similar Resolutions.
PASSED AND ADOPTED at a regular scheduled meeting of the City Council held on this 14th day of March, 2012 by the following vote:
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