Resolution J4154-2011

Memorializing Congress to propose an amendment to the US Constitution to provide that corporations are not entitled to the entirety of protections or rights of natural persons

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  • Apr 20, 2012: REFERRED TO FINANCE

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LEGISLATIVE RESOLUTION memorializing Congress to propose an amendment to
the  United  States  Constitution  to  provide that corporations are not
entitled to the entirety of protections or "rights" of natural  persons,
specifically so that the expenditure of corporate money to influence the
electoral  process  is  no  longer  a form of constitutionally protected
speech

WHEREAS, The First Amendment  to  the  United  States  Constitution  was
designed  to protect the free speech rights of people, not corporations;
and
  WHEREAS, The Court's ruling in CITIZENS UNITED  V.  FEDERAL  ELECTIONS
COMMISSION will allow unprecedented amounts of corporate money to influ-
ence  the  American political process, which constitutes a direct threat
to our democratic institutions; and
  WHEREAS, In his 80-page dissent in the CITIZENS UNITED  case,  Justice
Stevens  called  the decision "a radical change in the law" that ignores
"the overwhelming majority of justices who have served  on  this  court"
and  stated  that  "In  the  context  of  election to public office, the
distinction between  corporate  and  human  speakers  is  significant...
[Corporations]  cannot  vote  or  run  for  office,  because they may be
managed and controlled by nonresidents, their interest may  conflict  in
fundamental respects with the interests of eligible voters"; and
  WHEREAS,  The  United States Supreme Court's ruling in CITIZENS UNITED
V. FEDERAL ELECTIONS COMMISSION will now permit  unprecedented  spending
of  corporate  money  in our political process unrivaled by any campaign
expenditure totals in United States history; and
  WHEREAS, An individual can use his or her money to speak on his or her
singular behalf; the money corporations use  to  speak  belongs  to  its
shareholders,  who  presumably come from disparate political ideologies;
and
  WHEREAS, Individual shareholders are inextricably  absorbed  into  the
corporation's  powerful political action, regardless of their individual
political beliefs and affiliations; and
  WHEREAS, The United States Supreme Court's ruling in  CITIZENS  UNITED
V.  FEDERAL  ELECTIONS  COMMISSION  threatens  to dilute an individual's
power as a voting citizen and compromise the democratic process; and
  WHEREAS, The United States Supreme Court's ruling in  CITIZENS  UNITED
V.  FEDERAL ELECTIONS COMMISSION presents a serious and direct threat to
our democracy; and
  WHEREAS, The people of the United  States  have  previously  used  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 self-government; now, therefore, be it
  RESOLVED, That the Congress of the United  States  be  and  hereby  is
respectfully memorialized by this Legislative Body to express opposition
to  the United States Supreme Court ruling in CITIZENS UNITED V. FEDERAL
ELECTIONS COMMISSION; and be it further
  RESOLVED, That the Congress of the United  States  be  and  hereby  is
respectfully  memorialized by this Legislative Body to propose an amend-
ment to the United States Constitution to provide that corporations  are
not  entitled to the protections or "rights" of natural persons relating
to the expenditure of corporate money to influence the electoral process
which no longer shall be a form of constitutionally protected speech and
Congress and the States may fully regulate  all  election  contributions
and expenditures; and be it further
  RESOLVED, That copies of this Resolution, suitably engrossed, be tran-
smitted to the President of the Senate of the United States, the Speaker

of  the  House of Representatives, and to each member of the Congress of
the United States from the State of New York.

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