Citizens United: Chicago Alderman Joe Moore Introducing Resolution Targeting Corporate Personhood

A Chicago alderman on Monday was set to officially unveil a new resolution opposing the Supreme Court's 2010 ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission.

Ald. Joe Moore (49th) is expected to call for a constitutional amendment to overturn the high court's controversial decision, which held that corporations have a first amendment right to spend unlimited amounts of money on political campaigns, during a City Council Committee on Human Relations hearing Monday. U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) was also expected to be present at the hearing.

The resolution [PDF] states that the Citizens United ruling -- as well as its Buckley ruling -- "have posed a serious and direct threat to our democracy by unleashing a torrent of corporate and personal money in our political process unmatched by any campaign expenditures in United States history."

The resolution goes on quote Justice John Paul Stevens' dissenting Citizens United opinion -- that corporations "are not themselves members of 'We the People' by whom and for whom our Constitution was established."

As University of Illinois-Chicago professor and former alderman Dick Simpson wrote in a recent op-ed, the resolution calls on Congress to "make clear that the rights protected by the Constitution are rights of natural persons and do not extend to corporations." Further, Moore is calling for an advisory referendum related to the ruling to be put on the November ballot.

"In Illinois, we have tragically experienced firsthand the corrosive and distorting effect of unregulated and unlimited campaign donations on the body politic," Moore previously said of his resolution. "Unregulated money and political corruption go hand in hand."

Moore is not the first Illinois politician to take aim at Citizens United. U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) lashed out against the Supreme Court's refusal to revisit its decision in the landmark case last month.

"Citizens United has created a field day for American Oligarchs to dump millions of dollars into campaigns," Durbin said in a statement. "Congress must now enact common sense reforms that cannot be overturned by the Supreme Court."

Six states have already taken official stands against the Citizens United ruling and similarly called for constitutional amendment, including California earlier this month.

Last week, legislators in San Francisco introduced a new, non-binding proposal that would make opposition to the ruling an official city policy. Other cities -- including New York and Los Angeles -- have already adapted similar resolutions.



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