Cleveland Heights voted 4-1 to pass a resolution opposing the U.S. Supreme Court’s interpretation of the Constitution in the case of Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission.
The council document indicated that council specifically disagreed with the court’s decision regarding the constitutional rights of corporations and asked the court to amend the decision to grant protections or “rights” of natural persons to corporations.
"The U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision in Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission, holding that independent spending on elections by corporations could not be limited by government regulations," the resolution read. "The court's decision severely hampers the ability of federal, state and local governments to enact reasonable campaign finance reforms and regulations regarding corporate political activity."
The resolution, approved at the June 18 regular meeting, was proposed after a group of citizens asked council to take a stand on the issue, adding that other cities around the country have passed legislation opposing the decision.
But council member Mary Dunbar said that’s not and shouldn't be council’s responsibility, and voted no. She said she would have chosen not to vote if it were possible, but that option is only available when there's a conflict of interest for the councilperson.
“I sought election to City Council to work on our local issues. I do not wish to take a position on this ordinance because it is a complex national issue. Doing the research I would want to do to take a position on Citizen’s United is not the best use of my time, when I have all I can do to focus on how to enhance our city’s housing, quality of life and financial strength,” Dunbar said at the meeting.
Though she did not approve the resolution, she recognized the activists who have spoken out against the Citizens United decision.
“I am glad that the citizens of this community are not apathetic, but I ask them to weigh carefully whether asking City Council to take stands on national issues is the best use of our limited municipal resources of time, money and talent,” Dunbar said.
Council member Cheryl Stephens was not present for the meeting and council member .