By ruling that corporations have been denied their right to free speech by limiting the amount of money that they can donate to a campaign, or denying them the right to produce campaign ads in support of a candidate or political cause, the right wingnuts of the Supreme Court have essentially given the keys of democracy to corporate America.
Hemming and hawing over whether to send $20 to a presidential candidate? Worry no more. Not when Mother Exxon can give a billion dollars to its candidate of choice.
Who can compete with that?
How, I asked myself, has it come to this?
Well basically it began 124 years ago, in its decision in Santa Clara County vs. Southern Pacific Railroad (the epitome of robber baron corporations at the time). At the time California did not allow corporations to deduct its mortgage debt from the taxable value of their property (like humans were allowed to do).
Where it really gets interesting is that the court did not actually hear the case. It refused. The decision was that the court declined to rule on the case.
Get that? This is a Supreme Court non-decision that started this country on the road to “corporate humanhood.”
Where did the language come from then? How did it get so badly twisted?
The court’s reporter wrote the language.
The court reporter, J. C. Bancroft Davis, was responsible for writing the headnote to the decision. A headnote is essentially a summary statement, outlining the case, main facts, and arguments.
He wrote these words in the decision’s headnote:
“The court does not wish to hear argument on the question whether the provision in the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution, which forbids a State to deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws, applies to these corporations. We are all of the opinion that it does.”If you look for this in the actual opinion, you will be left scratching your head. It’s not there.
But that is the precedence, and that is what Justices Kennedy, Alito, Thomas, Scalia and Chief Justice Roberts based, in part, their decision to let the wolves guard the henhouse.
So what do we do? This cannot stand, you know.
Well obviously “corporate personhood” as a concept must be destroyed.
The Green Party has had a plank in their platform to end “corporate personhood” for years.
This is from their platform, found here:
“Eliminate Corporate Personhood: Legislation or constitutional amendment to end the legal fiction of corporate personhood.”And yesterday a new organization was launched, MoveToAmend.org, that is circulating a motion to amend the US Constitution. The organization is a coalition of 14 public interest groups across the country. The Motion to Amend, found at their website, says this:
“We, the People of the United States of America, reject the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in Citizens United, and move to amend our Constitution to:
- Firmly establish that money is not speech, and that human beings, not corporations, are persons entitled to constitutional rights.Guarantee the right to vote and to participate, and to have our vote and participation count.Protect local communities, their economies, and democracies against illegitimate "preemption" actions by global, national, and state governments.”
The Boston Tea Party, the event that the teabaggers all point to, was essentially a protest against oppressive and monopolistic corporate actions.
Leave no doubt what Republicans think of this, as witnessed by the remarks of Ohio Congressman John Boehner:
“I think the Supreme Court decisions today are a big win for the First Amendment and a step in the right direction. No organization — business, union, whatever — should be limited by the government.”
In short, I think we are all so screwed.