Last night after a perfunctory discussion, the city council voted 6 – 2 to support a resolution opposing the Supreme Court’s intrepretation of the Constitution in Citizens United. Just after 9:30 pm., councilors voted with only two voting in opposition to the resolution; councilors Leeman and Coyne. Councilor Suslovic left before the public comment and voting occurred, but he did recommend that the matter be put off to have more work done on it before consideration.
Before voting against the resolution, councilor Leeman said: “I don’t want my no vote to be misintrepreted. It is an important issue. I don’t think this is the proper forum to bring the matter up. There are better places to bring this up.” Leeman has consistently opposed bringing Federal resolutions up for consideration at city council matters. However, councilor Marshall, one of the co-sponsors of the Resolution said that he swore to uphold the Constitution of the United States and that’s why this is an appropriate forum to debate the matter. Furthermore, he said that since he came aboard the council in 2006, “There have been 6 different resolutions, this is the 7th. We do vote on federal issues in this forum.”
Over 30 people spoke in favor of the Resolution before the city council. One person spoke against it. Arthur Fink said: “If I come across an injustice I need to report it. You all have an obligation to do that. Wal-Mart and other big corporations are not here. Neither is Coffee-by-Design. But many people are here. Congress didn’t give them a chance to play a role of governance. People need to speak out and you can do that.” Tom MacMillan, involved in the writing of the resolution, said he has long observed the “debilitating and corrosive effects that private donations, especially from corporations, have on our political life…The fallacy that our Constitution was in any way intended to give the sovereign rights of living people to legal entities has created a political discourse which has pushed most ordinary Americans to completely distrust both politicians and big business.”
Former state legislator John Brautigan, Falmouth, said that the “Council should only enter into resolutions such as this on extraordinary issues. It IS an extraordinary issue worthy of your attention and resolve. With regard to the law, the Constitution does not make corporations into people. Nothng in that document says anything of the kind. This is a decsion of five justices. How odd that the same five justices have consistently voted against a woman’s right to make her own health care decision because that right is not written expressly into the Constitution. Ye tthese same men have no trouble finding that corporations have human rights. They would invent new rights for fictitious entities but would not recognize crucial rights for milions of flesh and blood women. This is legally and logically indefensible. All members of this council and all city boards take an oath to support the US Constitution. You therefore have the right and prerogative to address serious constitutional issues.”