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Marti Emerald To Ask Council To Call For Overturn Of Citizens United

A San Diego City Councilwoman is scheduled to ask her colleagues Wednesday to back a call for a federal constitutional amendment to overturn the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in the Citizen's United campaign finance case two years ago.

Marti Emerald talks to KPBS reporters at Golden Hall on June 5, 2012.
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Above: Marti Emerald talks to KPBS reporters at Golden Hall on June 5, 2012.

The 2010 high court decision held that political spending by corporations and unions are protected by First Amendment right to free speech.

The ruling led to the creation of the so-called Super PACS that funneled massive amounts of money into this year's elections.

Nine state Legislatures have called for an amendment to overturn the ruling, including California.

In her resolution, Councilwoman Marti Emerald said the right of free speech "applies to people, not corporations.'' She did not mention unions in her text.

Emerald wrote that "the Citizens United case directly impacts state and local efforts to control the influence of corporate money in their own elections'' and that the "ruling and its far reaching effects represent serious and direct threats to our democracy.''

The resolution asks her council colleagues to formally register their opposition to the Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission and calls upon Congress to send to states for ratification a constitutional amendment to overturn the ruling and "restore constitutional rights and fair elections to the people.''

She said the proposal is backed by a dozen political organizations like California Common Cause, the League of Women Voters and San Diego chapter of the National Lawyers Guild. She also listed support from nine Democratic legislators and San Diego Mayor-elect Bob Filner.

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