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Constitutional Amendment Resolution Language

Use this resolution language to mobilize support in your community for a constitutional amendment.

Resolution in Support of Amending the United States Constitution to Prevent Corporate Control of Elections

WHEREAS, the protections afforded by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution to the people of our nation are fundamental to our democracy; and

WHEREAS, the First Amendment to the United States Constitution was designed to protect the free speech rights of people, not corporations; and

WHEREAS, Corporations are not people but instead are entities created by the law of states and nations; and

WHEREAS, for the past three decades, a divided United States Supreme Court has transformed the First Amendment into a powerful tool for corporations seeking to evade and invalidate democratically-enacted reforms; and

WHEREAS, this corporate misuse of the First Amendment and the Constitution has reached an extreme conclusion in the United States Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (2010), No. 08-205; and

WHEREAS, the United States Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United v. FEC overturned longstanding precedent prohibiting corporations from spending their general treasury funds in our elections; and

WHEREAS, The opinion of the four dissenting justices in Citizens United v. FEC noted that corporations have special advantages not enjoyed by natural persons, such as limited liability, perpetual life, and favorable treatment of the accumulation and distribution of assets, that allow them to spend prodigious sums on campaign messages that have little or no correlation with the beliefs held by natural persons; and

WHEREAS, the United States Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United v. FEC will now unleash a torrent of corporate money in our political process unmatched by any campaign expenditure totals in United States history; and

WHEREAS, Citizens United v. FEC purports to invalidate state laws and even state Constitutional provisions separating corporate money from elections; and

Whereas, the United States Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United v. FEC represents a serious and direct threat to our democracy; and

WHEREAS, The general public and political leaders in the United States have recognized, since the founding of our country, that the interests of corporations do not always correspond with the public interest and that, therefore, the political influence of corporations should be limited; and

WHEREAS, In 1816, Thomas Jefferson wrote, “I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations, which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength and bid defiance to the laws of our country”; and

WHEREAS, In 1864, President Abraham Lincoln wrote, “As a result of the war, corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed”; and

WHEREAS, Article V of the United States Constitution empowers and obligates the people and 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 to the heart of our democracy and republican self-government; and

WHEREAS, Notwithstanding the decision in Citizens United v. FEC, legislators have a duty to protect democracy and guard against the potentially detrimental effects of corporate spending in local, state, and federal elections; now, therefore be it

RESOLVED, [That the Legislature of _________] respectfully disagrees with the majority opinion and decision of the United States Supreme Court in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission; and be it further

RESOLVED, that we call upon the United States Congress to pass and send to the states for ratification a constitutional amendment to reverse Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission and to restore constitutional rights and fair elections to the people.

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