Corporate Personhood: First Amendment Rights

Posted on January 25th, 2010 Admin

Supreme Court OKs unlimited corporate spending on elections (LA Times)

Reporting from Washington – Overturning a century-old restriction, the Supreme Court ruled Thursday that corporations could spend as much as they wanted to sway voters in federal elections.

In a landmark 5-4 decision, the court’s conservative bloc said that corporations had the same right to free speech as individuals, and for that reason the government could not stop corporations from spending to help their favored candidates.


I have so many issues with this that it felt like someone kicked me in the chest. Watching this move through the system was worrisome. This decision has only further solidified the fascist take over of our republic.

I wrote about corporate personhood last year during Sotomayor’s admission into the court. She is very much questioning not just first amendment rights but giving any constitutional rights to corporations.

Once again, the strict constructionist conservative wing of the Supreme Court threw out their ideals and voted to further corporate power and it’s take-over of our government. It’s *($%^ infectious. It’s growing and they have bastardized the US Constitution again.

This is how the strict constructionists strayed to lands beyond from their ideals. Strict Constructionists

“Strict constructionism” is also used in American political discourse as an umbrella term for conservative legal philosophies such as originalism and textualism, which emphasize judicial restraint and fidelity to the original meaning (or originally intended meaning) of constitutions and laws.

The original intent of the constitution nor the 14th Amendment never even considered corporations as actual people. If they had intended Corporations to have the same constitutional rights as individuals they would have written “People and Corporations” throughout the document. In fact, before corporations had personhood, they needed a charter for organization which needed to be continually renewed by each state. That is the original intent of the Constitution.

There are a few arguments for it:

  • Investor protection
  • Management protection

There are so many arguments against it:

  • They have a LOT money, translating into more and more effective speech for corporations
  • They enjoy more rights in the form of lower tax rates and then just on profit. This is like taxing Caucasians 20% and everyone else 25%. Secondly, imagine if actual people were only taxed on what we “save” because all living costs were tax deductible? Also, imagine states fighting for your citizenship by giving you incentives like no state taxes for 10 years? These corporate “people” have preferential laws.
  • It is a form of double representation. The investors are already represented as themselves. They vote and can put their own money towards a campaign. If you invest in a company but want another canditate to win other than what is being supported by the corporation, then the corporation is not accurately representing you.
  • Corporations make false claims and representations. They use their First Amendment Rights to do great harm to the people. A great example of this is the Tobacco and Cigarette Industry claiming that smoking was safe and funding skewed studies.
  • Financial Ratings companies like Standard & Poor and Moody say that their financial ratings are opinion and protected by the First Amendment. So, when they rated toxic assets as AAA they had no liability to their word even though the entire financial industry depends on these ratings accuracy. Giving them accountability may actually force them to give securities proper ratings.
  • The Constitution cannot be cherry-picked. A real person cannot only have some right in the constitution. A person MUST have all rights. The problem is that corporations are slaves and cannot vote, to name two important conflicts with corporations having the full rights of the constitution.
  • A corporation legally must maximize shareholder value. This is the highest law to the corporation and can even be sued by shareholders if found to not be doing this. These include things that could be “to the detriment of people.” Corporations do not have the same priorities as actual people who exist in reality. Two or three times a day, we eat. Without sufficient food we die. Corporations don’t have these daily existential crises


  • Force the court to explain why corporations don’t have full First Amendment Rights as people do. Corporations are “artificial people” after all. Justice Clarence Thomas had the clarity to at least do away with this contradiction.
  • Force the court to tell us how corporations are not slaves.
  • Force the court to tell us how corporations will participate in voting during an election.
  • Force the court to tell us how a corporation can use a firearm without any other person helping.
  • Force the court to tell us how a corporation can be conscripted into a war if we re-instate the draft.
  • Force the court to tell us why corporations younger than 21 can possess alcohol.
  • Force the court to tell us why corporations don’t have identification cards like passports or driver licenses.
  • Force the court to tell us how to imprison a corporation in a jail.
  • Force the court to tell us why corporations owned by foreign entities, including foreign governments, can have rights under our constitution.

Any answers to these questions are purely rationalizations.

I don’t believe any of this can be done because a corporation by itself cannot think, learn, or feel. It cannot be thrown in jail for the lack of physical presence. It cannot pull a lever in a voting booth nor mark any paper. A corporation does not need food or water. It doesn’t even need toilet paper. It does not need to breath and cannot ever be hospitalized. A corporation never came out of a vagina (or c-section) nor must it eventually die. It cannot use a firearm. It is not conscious and can only act through proxies.

or we could just,
Remove corporate personhood. Singapore doesn’t have corporate personhood and, while investment and growth is hampered, it still has a thriving economy where the risk of corporations is priced, truly, into its market value.

I’m not quite sure how corporate protection should look but we can cross that bridge when we get to it.

My last point is that this ruling clearly flies in the face of stare-decisis. This was an important aspect to confirming the Supreme Court Judges Alito and Roberts in the Judiciary Committee of Congress.

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