Last Tuesday, September 10, the Alexandria City Council passed a resolution calling for a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission and restore fair elections to the American people! The council’s resolution calls for the amendment to say that corporations are not entitled to the constitutional protections or “rights” of natural persons, that money is not speech, that regulating election-related spending is not the same as limiting political speech, and that Congress and the states may place limits on election contributions and expenditures. The council’s vote was 7-0 and several council members spoke in favor of the resolution and praised the efforts of the Alexandria members of Northern Virginia Move to Amend in pursuing it. Their remarks can be found on the council’s website at http://alexandria.granicus.com… (at about 2:21:48). This is another big step forward for our movement here in Virginia and nationally. About a year ago we in NOVA MTA were able to persuade the Arlington County Board to pass a similar resolution. Charlottesville is the other Virginia city that has passed a resolution in favor of an amendment to overturn Citizens United.
The City Council passed the resolution after a grassroots advocacy campaign of several months led by a dedicated group of NOVA MTA members from Alexandria. They developed materials to present to the council to show how important this issue is on both the national and the local level. They met with each council member at least once to discuss the resolution. In the end, their hard work paid off with a terrific resolution and we should all thank them for what they did.
This is another great victory! Now we’ll continue to work on our other jurisdictions and see if we can achieve similar results there.
Northern Virginia Move To Amend
The council’s resolution reads as follows:
ESTABLISH AS A POSITION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF ALEXANDRIA, VIRGINIA, THAT CORPORATIONS SHOULD NOT RECEIVE THE SAME LEGAL RIGHTS AS NATURAL PERSONS, THAT MONEY IS NOT SPEECH, AND THAT POLITICAL EXPENDITURES CAN BE REGULATED
WHEREAS, We the people adopted and ratified the United States Constitution to protect the free speech and other rights of individuals, not corporations; and,
WHEREAS, the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission overturned longstanding precedent prohibiting corporations (and unions) from spending general treasury funds in our elections; and,
WHEREAS, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission and related federal court decisions present a serious and direct threat to our nation’s republican democracy, while standing in direct contrast to our local Alexandria commitment to good government, civic and civil discourse, and broad participation in local decision-making; 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 constitution 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, 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 the overturning of erroneous Supreme Court decisions; now, therefore,
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the City Council of Alexandria, Virginia commends the efforts of Congressman James P. Moran and Gerald E. Connolly to address this issue; and,
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that (i) the City Council of Alexandria, Virginia calls upon the Virginia General Assembly and the United States Congress to support an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to reverse Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission and related cases and to restore constitutional rights and fair elections to the people, and (ii) that constitutional amendment should make clear (a) that corporations are not entitled to the constitutional protections or “rights” of natural persons; (b) that money is not speech; (c) that regulating election-related spending is not the same as limiting political speech; and (d) that Congress and the states may place limits on election contributions and expenditures.