Chicago on Wednesday became the latest major U.S. city to call on Congress to reverse the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission.
A resolution unanimously approved by the Chicago City Council stated: "BE IT RESOLVED, that we, the Mayor and the members of the City Council of the City of Chicago respectfully but emphatically disagree with the majority opinion and decision of the United States Supreme Court in Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission; and BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That we, the Mayor and the members of the Chicago City Council of the City of Chicago, call upon the United States Congress to propose and send to the states for ratification a Constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission."
The Supreme Court’s 2010 decision in Citizens United held that limits on independent political contributions by corporations and unions violated the First Amendment, because political donations were a form of political speech. The ruling paved the way for Super PACs, which can raise an unlimited amount of money to influence elections.
The symbolic resolution claimed that limits on independent expenditures was key to combating political corruption and accused the Supreme Court of turning the First Amendment "into a powerful tool for corporations seeking to evade and invalidate democratically enacted reforms."
More than 280 other cities and 6 states have approved similar resolutions, calling on Congress to pass a constitutional amendment to overturn the controversial ruling.
The resolutions are being pushed by a coalition of groups, which includes Common Cause, Illinois PIRG, MoveOn, Move to Amend and Public Citizen’s Democracy is for People Campaign.
"I'm proud of our City. With our vote today, the City of Chicago City Council joined a growing chorus of cities and towns across America who have raised their collective voice against the corrosive effect of corporate money on our democratic process,” Alderman Joe Moore, who introduced the resolution, said. “As the elected officials closest to the people, we've witnessed firsthand the devastating impact on our communities of federal spending and tax policies driven by the wealthy few at the expense of the many. These policies exist because the wealthy and powerful dominate the debate and drown out opposing views. It is time we restore our democracy to the people."
[Image via Daniel Schwen, Creative Commons licensed]