Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Corporations As People

                                                                                            From The Ramparts
                                                                                           Junious Ricardo Stanton
                                                                                            Corporations As People

"Most of what you hear about Citizens United v. FEC is negative. By opening the door for corporations to spend unlimited sums in elections and to allow for the creation of super PACs, the Supreme Court has made a campaign finance system that was already flooded with money much worse." The Numbers Don't Lie If you aren't sure Citizens United gave rise to the super PACs, just follow the money. By Richard L. Hasen

            If you think the United States is run by a government of the people by the people and for the people, you have another thought coming. It should be clear to all but the hopelessly brain dead, bamboozled and simple minded that in the US political system, the spoils go to those who can raise and spend the most money; office is won by those who get the greatest infusions of cash into their election campaigns. This means the US has the best government money can buy, bar none!

It is not the votes cast that count. It is the money, the people behind the money and the people who count the votes that really count in the US. The US has descended into a full fledged banana republic and we can see it in the current election cycle. Look at the hundreds of millions of dollars Romney and Obama are raising. Just follow the money trail and you can predict the type of legislation that will be passed and whose interests will be served certainly not ours. Working folks like us don't count in this equation it's all about the big bucks.

On January 10, 2010 the US Supreme Court ruled in a case entitled Citizens United v Federal Election Commission that corporations and political action committees could raise and give unlimited (meaning all they want) amounts of money to candidates. It is in keeping with the long standing notion that corporations are people (say what?) and as such have the same legal rights and protections as individuals under the US Constitution. That's deep. It's like saying your child's Teddy Bear has legal rights under the US Constitution.

As insane as this sounds it gets even goofier. The truth is the US Supreme Court has never ruled that corporations are individuals or that they have the same rights as people under the Fourteenth Amendment. The confusion and trickery are the result of an 1886 case that came before the US Supreme Court called Santa Clara County vs Pacific Railroad Company. However the Supreme Court Justices never ruled on the matter of corporations being persons, a court reporter interpreted the proceedings in the case in such a way people thought the US Supreme Court granted corporations the same rights as people. "Then in 1886 in Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad Company [118 U.S. 394] came yet another case where it was argued that corporations should be defined as persons, before any oral arguments took place, Chief Justice Waite stated as follows: '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.' The court in this case did not rule on the question of 'personhood' but a clerk made note of the above quote as if it was the court's ruling and subsequently the decision in this case was used as precedent to hold that a corporation was a 'natural person.'

            One writer has noted that after the decision in Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad Company "the 14th Amendment, enacted to protect rights of freed slaves, was used routinely to grant corporations constitutional 'personhood.' Justices have since struck down hundreds of local, state and federal laws enacted to protect people from corporate harm based on this illegitimate premise. Armed with these 'rights,' corporations increased control over resources, jobs, commerce, politicians, even judges and the law."
Eventually, in Minneapolis & St. Louis Railroad v. Beckwith (1889) the court ruled that 'a corporation is a 'person' for both due process and equal protection.'"  Corporation As A Person

That's how all this nonsense came about. It should come as no surprise the court reporter in the Santa Clara v Pacific Railroad case was a former employee of a railroad company. The real kicker is law students, lawyers, judges and historians know this but no one has stepped forward to rectify the situation due to the power and influence corporations wield. So corporations take full advantage of the "error", and quiet as its kept, more cases have been litigated using the Fourteenth Amendment to the US Constitution on behalf of corporations than to help black people overcome injustice, bigotry, racial oppression, segregation and discrimination! With its Citizens United v FEC ruling, the US Supreme Court has insured we the people will get shafted by corporations in perpetuity.


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