In May, your elected Needham Town Meeting
will vote voted to approve Article 23 of the Town Warrant (a “citizen’s petition”) below– call or write your Town Meeting Members and ask them to vote YES. This motion appears on the Needham Town Website. Please sign our online petition to show your support! More information at the Town Meeting Members Guide. SUBSTITUTE MAIN MOTION* – ARTICLE 23 – CITIZENS UNITED RESOLUTION
To see if the Town will vote the following resolution or take any other action relative thereto;
Whereas the expenditure of unlimited corporate and union general treasury funds to influence elections threatens to overwhelm our individual voices in our electoral and governing processes, and
Whereas the U.S. Supreme Court’s 5:4 ruling on January 21, 2010 in Citizens United v.
Federal Election Commission took away the long-standing power of Congress to place limits on corporate and union spending to influence elections, and
Whereas the Court’s decision in Citizens United applies to state and local elections, as well as to federal elections, and so makes real the threat that corporate and union expenditures will dominate state and local elections,
Now, therefore, let it be resolved that this Town Meeting calls upon the Massachusetts delegation to the US Congress to support an amendment to the US Constitution which would overturn the Supreme Court decision in Citizens United, and
Be it further resolved that this Town Meeting calls upon our State Legislature to seek the support of the US Congress for an amendment to the US Constitution which would overturn the Supreme Court decision in Citizens United,
Or take any other action relative thereto.
This Citizens’ article seeks a Town Meeting resolution calling upon Needham’s representatives in the State Legislature and Congress to support an amendment to the United States Constitution. Such an amendment would overturn the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in the case of Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission.
In the Citizens United case, the Supreme Court determined as unconstitutional, under the First Amendment, a Federal law prohibiting corporations and unions from using their general treasury funds to make electioneering communications.”
This Court decision, made by a 5-4 vote, is widely viewed as a radical break from over 100 years of federal legislation and Court decisions supporting Congressional authority to treat corporations and unions differently from individuals, regarding election financing. A Constitutional amendment would restore the power of Congress in this area.
It is appropriate for Town Meeting to adopt this resolution. New England Town Meetings have long been the bulwark of the people’s liberty, from the years leading up to the American Revolution to the present day. The United States Constitution provides a process for amendment, and traditionally the call for amendments begins at the local level.
Citizens United poses too great a threat to our liberty for Needham to remain silent.
More information at the Town Meeting Members Guide.
* This language is amended for clarity from original petition