A Resolution of the Council of the City of San Diego in Support of a Constitutional Amendment to Overturn Citizens United

DIanne Lane & PamPage(photo: Dave Fisher)
Dianne Lane & Pam Page
(photo: Dave Fisher)

We had a great turnout on Sunday, March 24 to hear Dianne Lane and Pam Page describe how they convinced the San Diego City Council to pass – with an unanimous vote – WOSD MOP’s resolution to reverse ‘Citizens United’ and Amend the Constitution.

We learnt a lot about the process and the professionalism and courtesy of staff of the council members, or not.

Below is the full text of the resolution passed by the Council on December 18, 2012 and here is a PDF of the Resolution.


WHEREAS, free and fair elections are essential to American democracy and effective self-governance; and

WHEREAS, in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, the United States Supreme Court held that independent spending on elections by corporations and other groups could not be limited by government regulation, a decision that allows for unlimited corporate spending in elections; and

WHEREAS, in reaching its decision in Citizens United, the Supreme Court interpreted the First Amendment of the Constitution to afford corporations the same free speech protections as natural persons; and

WHEREAS, the Citizens United decision has proven to be one of the Courts most controversial decisions and supersedes state and local efforts to regulate corporate activity in their campaign finance laws; and

WHEREAS, in his eloquent dissent, Justice John Paul Stevens stated that “[c]orporations have no consciences, no beliefs, no feelings, no thoughts, no desires. Corporations help structure and facilitate 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”; and

WHEREAS, members of Congress are seeking to amend the Constitution in order to reverse the Citizens United decision and establish that corporations are not entitled to the entirety of protections of natural persons; and

WHEREAS, several dozen municipalities, including New York City, Los Angeles, and Oakland, have successfully passed resolutions opposing the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the Constitution in Citizens United and supporting Constitutional amendments; and

WHEREAS, the City of San Diego has a long history of demonstrating support for an orderly political forum in which individuals may express themselves effectively; to place realistic and enforceable limits on the amounts of money that may be contributed to political campaigns in municipal elections; and to prohibit contributions by organizations in order to develop a broader base of political efficacy within the community, as reflected in the San Diego Municipal Election Campaign Control Ordinance; NOW THEREFORE,

BE IT RESOLVED, by the Council of the City of San Diego that it respectfully disagrees with the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the Constitution in Citizens United regarding the rights of corporations; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Council joins other cities in calling on Congress to begin the process of amending the Constitution to provide that corporations are not entitled to the entirety of protections or “rights” of natural persons, specifically so that the expenditure of corporate money to influence the electoral process is no longer a form of constitutionally protected speech.

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