Issues That Unite Us: The Constitution Should Apply to People not Corporations.

On Jan 30, 2017, the House of Representatives introduced House Joint Resolution 48 (115th Congress), which makes the bold assertion that

CORPORATIONS ARE NOT PEOPLE!

That’s stating the obvious. Of course corporations are made up of people – but they themselves aren’t people. The constitution begins with  We the People .. not We the Corporations. So why do courts increasingly rule that the constitution applies to corporations?

Here’s why: because nowhere in the constitution does it explicitly state that it applies only to human citizens. This joint resolution, (HJR48(115th)) would fix that. 24 representatives have sponsored HJR48(115th). We need many more.

Since 1776, we’ve left it to the judiciary to decide whether the constitution applies to corporations. And courts – since the 1880s,  have increasingly set precedents that afford corporations equal protections under the constitution.

So what? Who cares?

Ever hear of CItizen’s United? In 2010, the courts ruled that corporations have 1st amendment rights. The effect of this ruling was an unleashing of private money into our political system.  158 families now make over half of the campaign contributions  to our representatives. Much of this money is funneled through corporations. This matters, because it’s been shown that money influences congressional action  – constituents do not.

We have lost our representative democracy.  There are many components to this loss – but a big contributor is the rise of corporate personhood.

Corporate personhood.  Sounds weird. Looks weird too:

The fact is, our constitution describes a government of the people. The bill of rights were passed in order to protect the rights of people. So were subsequent amendments. They were not drafted with corporations in mind.

But a curious thing happened en route from 1776 to today. Radical activists judges have, little by little, ruled that portions of the constitution apply to corporations too. Without clear language to the contrary, a judge in Santa Clara county (an ex-railroad lawyer) – casually stated that he didn’t want to hear arguments as to whether the 14th amendment applied to corporations. In his view, it applied. Period.  Thus the corporate person was born. Precedent was set.

Equal protection applies to corporations because of a single comment made by a judge way back in 1886.

Back to Citizens United. In that ruling, corporations were deemed to have 1st amendment rights, just like people. In 2010, when that decision came down, Keith Olbermann made a video full of dire predictions. See if any of them have come true:

As of now, in 2017, it seems to me that much of what he predicted has come to pass. It’s no longer We the People, it’s We the People With Money. Until now, CEOs worry that funding the wrong campaign could alienate potential customers. Given the lack of outrage til now, I believe the time of our country becoming We the Corporations is upon us.

So, we’re well on our way to being governed by corporations. Not that corporations are bad. I love corporations. Hell, I’m living off of dividends from corporations. But that doesn’t mean I want them ruling my government. I want my government to be Of the People. I want my government to keep corporations in check. The conventional wisdom is that corporations are beholden to short-term thinking shareholders – not to all citizens.

It’s time to reclaim our representative democracy. And we can!

Luckily for us – an effort to fix this is already underway. And it has to do with that joint resolution I already mentioned House Joint Resolution 48:

House Joint Resolution 48 (115th Congress): “Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States providing that the rights extended by the Constitution are the rights of natural persons only.”

If you support this idea – if you want our representative democracy back – PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF MERGATROID – contact your representative in the House of Representatives. 

Find Your Representative here, on Congress.gov

And if your representative sits on the House Judiciary Committee, your call will be worth about 100 calls.

Currently on the House Judiciary Committee:
Steve King (Iowa-4th)  zip codes staring with 50___*
Steve Cohen (TN-9th)
Jerry Nadler(NY-10th)
Ron Desantis (FL-6th) Jacksonville area
Trent Franks (AZ-8th) Peoria, AZ
Louis Gohmert (TX-1st)
Jamie Raskin(MD-8th)
Trey Gowdy(SC-4th)

*Steve King apparently represents more zip codes than people

Write, email or call, and tell your representative to co-sponsor House Joint Resolution 48 (from the 115th Congress). To apply peer pressure, point out other reps from their state and/or party who are already on board.  You can find the names of the bill’s co-sponsors here.

That Big-R Badass – Walter B Jones. Props to you, sir. Props.

If you’re represented by a democrat, you’re likely to find a name there. If yours is a Republican, then point out that badass of the shallow south – that’s right – the honorable Representative Walter B. Jones, Jr. [R-NC- the fightin’ 3rd] – co-sponsored this bill on the day it was introduced.

 

Here’s what I sent to my representative. Use it as a template if you wish:

Dear Ms. Eshoo, …. Please take a step back and recognize that our privately funded two party system has given rise to corporate personhood. I’m 100% against corporations (including PACs) being given the same rights under the constitution as human citizens.

Please – join five of your California colleagues and sponsor House Joint Resolution 48: https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-joint-resolution/48/

“H.J.Res.48 – Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States providing that the rights extended by the Constitution are the rights of natural persons only.”

Already on board from CA are:

-Rep. Takano, Mark [D-CA-41]
-Rep. Lee, Barbara [D-CA-13]
-Rep. Khanna, Ro [D-CA-17]
-Rep. Lieu, Ted [D-CA-33]
-Rep. Huffman, Jared [D-CA-2]

PLEASE – even as you deal with the latest developments from the current administration, PLEASE do all you can to FIX THE SYSTEM. Co-sponsor joint resolution 48, and support any and all efforts to end this privately funded political system. Stopping corporate personhood (and the idea that $ is speech) is a start. There’s much more to do. But let’s start with Res 48.

I’m rooting for you!   -Laura

As always – remember to keep it brief, stick to one issue, and be clear that you are a constituent. This guide may help:

Keep It Simple Stupid

Here’s more info on the amendment: https://movetoamend.org/amendment]https://movetoamend.org/amendment

And there’s more you can do! There’s a movement to get the state governments to propose a very similar constitutional amendment. Five states are already onboard. Check out wolf-pac.com to see how you can push your STATE legislature to call for an amendment that brings power back to the people by getting big $ out of politics.

Want to read about more issues that unite us? Get ready to take action against The Government Looting Your Stuff!