Monday, October 3, 2011

Corporate Personhood

Corporate Personhood
If you think the U.S. Supreme Court is the last great bulwark against partisan politics, think again. An inordinate fraction of all decisions by the present court are decided by the same 5-4 margin, the 5 activist conservative justices versus the remaining 4. This was the case in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission when the Court ended most limitations on corporate involvement in politics, sinking the McCain-Feingold Campaign Reform Act and threatening both our democracy and our national security.

Because corporate entities have virtually unlimited resources, they can influence public opinion and affect outcomes of elections far more than corporeal beings. Even more troubling, we face the perilous prospect of foreign-controlled corporations manipulating U.S. domestic and foreign policy to our detriment.

Federal courts have promulgated two notions foreign to the signatories of the U.S. Constitution and toxic to true democracy – "corporate personhood" and "money-speech equivalence." These two doctrines have enabled corporate entities and their lobbyists to effectively seize control of our government. The doctrine of corporate personhood subverts what was intended as a citizen’s right to freedom of speech by its extension to corporate entities. Corporations are neither people nor citizens. They cannot vote. They cannot run for office. In fact they cannot speak except through the expenditure of money. The doctrine of money-speech equivalence ensures the rich, whether individuals or corporations, can exercise greater political power than the average citizen. This state of affairs is antithetical to democracy.

Given Supreme Court rulings on corporate personhood, statutory law cannot restore government by and for the people. The dual doctrines of corporate personhood and money-speech equivalence must be utterly abolished via constitutional amendment. Nothing less than the survival of our republic is at stake.

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