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Winchester Residents Attempting to Overturn Supreme Court Ruling

Susan Verdicchio and Vern Blodgett have submitted an article in the Town Meeting warrant that asks members to support a resolution which calls for the overturning of the Supreme Court Case "Citizens' United v. Federal Elections Commission.

Two Winchester residents will be asking Town Meeting in April to support a resolution which would overturn a Supreme Court ruling made in January 2010. 

Susan Verdicchio and Vern Blodgett submitted Article 8 for this spring’s annual Town Meeting, which asks members to approve a resolution that calls “Congress to pass and send to the states a constitutional amendment to overturn the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens’ United v. Federal Elections Commission and restore democracy to the people.”

According to Verdicchio, the ruling prohibited the government from restricting political payments from corporations.

The article says that the “Supreme Court has transformed the First Amendment into a powerful tool for corporations seeking to evade and invalidate democratically-enacted reforms.” And that the ruling “overturned longstanding precedent prohibiting corporations from spending their general treasury funds in our elections.”

One side effect from the ruling, according to Verdicchio, is the creation of Super Political Action Committees, which are free to spend as much money as they want to support their candidate.

“We’re seeing these Political Action Committees effect the presidential race,” Verdicchio said. “It doesn’t take a lot of imagination to see how this could effect state or local elections.”

Verdicchio and Blodgett point to the current spending in the Republican Primaries as an example of how corporations could potentially hijack elections.

They say that this Supreme Court case “will now unleash a torrent of corporate money in our political process unmatched by any campaign expenditure totals in United States history.” And that the ruling “presents a serious and direct threat to our democracy.”

“We’re not anti-capitalism,” Blodgett said. “This is about having an even playing field, the way it’s supposed to be. The rights of humans are in place and the rights of corporations should be for corporations, they shouldn’t be the equivalent of people.”

According to Verdicchio, the ruling should be overturned because corporations should not be allowed to have protections under the First Amendment.

“Corporations are an artificial entity,” she said. “They’re immortal; they can’t vote; they can’t be drafted. There’s a lot of precedent to the idea that corporations aren’t people.”

“Corporations can now make massive campaign contributions,” Blodgett said. “They have lobbyist down in Congress. Corporations are in control when it’s supposed to be the people that are in control.”

At Town Meeting, Verdicchio will ask members to pass the resolution, showing Winchester’s support for overturning the Supreme Court ruling.

The resolution “calls upon the United States Congress to pass and send to the states for ratification a constitutional amendment to restore the First Amendment and fair elections to the people.”

OldTownie April 09, 2012 at 06:00 PM
I believe that is the 'Supremecy Clause', correct? So when SCOTUS ruled that Congress was wrong it meant that all similar state and local rules are just as wrong. You may not agree but a majority of the court ruled and so it shall be until a new law/ammendment is passed. TM will not be a party to either of those processes. Why would you want to stifle a company's ability to make its argument about what it has an interest in? Let people, companies, unions, etc. spend their money any way they want, I don't care. Tell somebody/something how they can, cannot, or must spend their/its money (for legal purposes obviously) and you are getting away from what made this country great.
quasimodo April 10, 2012 at 03:16 PM
@Joe Papile Being a student of the Constitution, etc, does not mean you have superior knowledge of it: when I was teaching, I had a whole classroom full of students, and most of them were mediocre or poor students. And if you were one of my students, I would first expect that you answer my question, which in this case was: AS Joe Papile, US citizen, has our Government ever prevented you from speaking up your mind, assembling peacefully, or even petitioning it for a redress of grievances? Of course not. Under the Constitution, you have as many rights as I have, as anybody else have, no more no less. You certainly have the right to join an assembly of like-minded people and present your grievances, but this assembly of persons is certainly NOT a "person."
Joe Papile April 14, 2012 at 08:52 PM
@quasimodo I see you have reduced this debate to calling me an uneducated liar, so allow me to be blunt. If I were you I would go back to the university where you got your educational degree, and where ever you got your teaching credentials and sue them all, as it is obvious that they failed you. I thank God I was not one of your students. I was educated in a time (50’s & 60’s) when an unbiased education was provided instead of the socialist indoctrination of today. I answered your question in my last rebuttal; the United States Government and each of the 50 states (not 59 as your fearless leader that occupies the White House thinks) recognizes & treats, BY LAW, corporations the same as a “person”, thus giving corporations the same protections. That’s the law, and just saying that it isn’t so does not change the law. If you are an educator you should know the reasoning behind this, I do. That’s why SCOTUS found for Citizens’ United. The fact that you make assumptions of the life I have lived and the experiences I have had betrays you. OF COURSE I HAVE HAD MY RIGHTS ATTACKED. Your arguments force me to assume that you could have never owned a business/corp, have never hired employees, provided them with a living and had to meet a payroll every week (I have). If you had, you would understand that you cannot separate the company and the rights from the people who own it (our state & federal governments do not – who are you to claim different).
CM April 21, 2012 at 08:24 PM
I heartily agree! Perhaps those leading the charge on this have spent too long in a little town with not much else to occupy their time. This topic is much better argued through our elected officials. Don't we have better things to think about than overturning a supreme court ruling?
BAV April 21, 2012 at 10:48 PM
CM: "This topic is much better argued through our elected officials." I am equivocal on this issue. However, Town Meeting members are elected officials. They will either approve or reject this measure. I agree that the practical implications of approval or rejection are essentially nil. However, to limit the right of citizens to petition town meeting, through proper channels, regarding any issue that they may choose would seem to be contrary to the democratic principles that we believe in. I suppose people could disagree on this point.

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