On August 7 the Milpitas City Council will consider adopting a resolution in support of a 28th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which declares that corporations are not people and money is not speech.
On June 14, The United States Conference of Mayors unanimously adopted a resolution of support and calls upon local bodies to do the same. You should email, write or call your local councilor and urge them to support this movement.
You will not be alone, other cities and people across America—faced by the local impact of the judicial doctrine that corporations are people—have already taken action. Los Angeles, West Allis, Wis., Kansas City, Berkeley, New York, Salt Lake City, and Portland have passed the resolution, along with our neighbors in Los Altos Hills and Mountain View. The cities of Campbell and Palo Alto are also calling for a 28th Amendment.
Is it a surprise that there’s a groundswell of support to amend the U.S. Constitution?
The catalyst was the 2010 Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission case, which is having a horrifying impact on our election process. The Supreme Court declared that money is speech and corporations have a constitutional right to spend as much as they want in order to buy the political process.
So much corporate cash is being fed into the political arena that it's warping and crushing our political system at every level. It was one of the reasons Mike Huckabee did not even attempt to run for president and that large box retailers are invading our cities.
Politicians, pundits and regular Americans across the political spectrum immediately recognized the corrosive and corrupt impact of this decision, but many are still unaware of the repercussions being felt around the country.
Corporations’ use of the First and Fourth amendments to justify their actions have wide-spread repercussions. Here are just a few examples:
- Court decisions granting corporations the same rights as human beings have meant that laws that required food labeling are overturned because of corporation’s First Amendment “constitutional right” not to speak, as seen in the International Dairy Foods Assoc. v. Boggs case.
- Corporations use the Fourth Amendment to avoid search and seizure and evade enforcement of our health and safety laws.
- Corporations obtain personal medical histories by appealing to the First Amendment, like in the Sorrell v. IMS Health, Inc. case.
The court-decreed grant of constitutional rights to corporations is seriously impacting the ability of cities and communities to self-govern. Local land use laws can be overturned, and local campaign finance laws can be thrown out.
On June 25 the U.S. Supreme Court made it crystal clear that the Citizens United decision applied not only federally, but to the state and local level as well. The court discounted the expert testimony to the effect that when a local economy depends on distant markets, distant corporate interests trump local interests.
The floodgates are now wide open for unlimited corporate money to drown local political priorities.
Since the only way to overturn a Supreme Court decision is by an amendment to the U.S. Constitution, Milpitas city council members have the opportunity to join hundreds of local communities across the nation and assert that political rights accrue to people, not corporations. And that in America it's people, not corporations, that determine the choices we make for our community.
Do you think the Milpitas City Council should adopt a resolution in support of a 28th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution?